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Study: Love at first sight myth--people have more sex during Christmas



by Joseph Earnest December 28, 2017, 2017


Newscast Media HOUSTONThe whole love at first sight thing might just be a bunch of hoopla, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.


We've all seen that scene in movies when two complete strangers see one another and are suddenly overcome with a feeling that they're meant to be — a feeling that many are quick to label "love."

But that special, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling isn't really love, says Florian Zsok, a lead researcher investigating the phenomenon. According to Zsok, that instant spark has more to do with lust than anything else and, adding insult to injury, he also found that the feeling is rarely reciprocated. 

The study, which was published in the Journal of the International Association for Relationship Research, detailed three stages of data collection — an online survey, a lab study and two dating events that lasted 20 and 90 minutes, respectively.

Participants included a total of 396 Dutch and German students, of which roughly 60 percent were women and most were heterosexual.

In the online survey, participants were asked to answer questions about their current romantic relationship, and then asked to look at pictures of several potential partners and rate their attraction to them. During this period, people were asked to use the "triangular theory of love," a theory developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg to pinpoint any feelings of intimacy, passion and commitment. The experiment was later replicated in a lab setting by other participants who only looked at pictures of potential partners.

The last two experiments involved speed dating exercises that had potential partners meet for 20 minutes in one scenario and 90 in another. Just like in the online and lab study, participants were asked after the meetings to answer questions about their attraction toward their date, experience of love at first sight, and any other feelings of love.

    Overall, 34 participants (mostly men) described 49 experiences of love at first sight, either toward their potential partner or a person they'd met during the speed dating experiment. "Experiences of [love at first sight] were marked neither by high passion, nor by intimacy, nor by commitment," researchers concluded in their study. "Physical attraction was highly predictive of reporting [love at first sight]."

People are more interested in sex during Christmas and Eid

Turns out that the holiday season doesn't just bring joy and smiles: it also sees a spike in people's interest in sex, according to researchers.

In a study published in the Scientific Reports journal Thursday, scientists revealed that people across the globe, regardless of their religion, become a little more randy during significant holidays such as Christmas or Eid-al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.

The joint team of researchers, all hailing from the US, the Netherlands and Portugal, used both Google Trends and Twitter to analyze online searches from nearly 130 countries that included populations devoted to both Christianity and Islam.

The Alphabet-owned site was used to zero in on word searches from 2004 to 2014, while Twitter was tapped for the years between 2010 and 2014, to look at sentiments expressed by users. To determine where the user's feelings stood, officials used the Affective Norms for English Words, a "normative emotional rating" to determine arousal, dominance and pleasure, according to the University of Florida's Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention.

The analysis ultimately revealed to officials that interests in sex spiked during major cultural or religious celebrations based on the increased use of the word "sex" or similar sexual terms in web searches. Officials later indicated that the peak corresponded with an increase in births nine months after the holiday in countries that provided birth-rate data.

However, the study did not find the same correlation when it came to holidays such as Easter and Thanksgiving.

    We observed that Christmas and Eid-Al-Fitr are characterized by distinct collective moods that correlate with increased fertility," researchers said. "Perhaps people feel a greater motivation to grow their families during holidays when the emphasis is on love and gift-giving to children."

"The Christmas season is also associated with stories about the baby Jesus and holy family, which may put people in a loving, happy, 'family mood,'" the researcher added.

Though previous studies suggested that an increase in sex is related to the changing of the seasons, researchers tossed out the notion that biological shifts caused by daylight, temperature and food availability played a role, since the study looked at countries across the world.

According to researchers, the findings can help public health researchers pinpoint the best time of the year for launching public awareness campaigns to encourage safe sex.

The study was conducted by researchers from Indiana University, Wageningen University and the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Add Comments >>


Source: Sputnik

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