A new study conducted in June by Florida State University proved that looking at photos of 'positive stimuli', for example, images of cute puppies, can make you happier in your marriage.
They investigated the phenomenon known as 'evaluative conditioning', a theory which proposes that positive stimuli shown in association with other stimuli will create a positive link between the two.The study involved 144 married couples, of whom all were younger than 40 and had been married for under 5 years, with around 40% of couples having children.
The investigation took place over eight weeks, with two groups of couples being exposed to either neutral or positive images.The first would see a selection of 'happy' images, such as puppies and kittens, interspersed with those of their spouse. The other control group were exposed to 'neutral' images along with those of their partner.
They would see a selection of photos once every three days and complete a survey once every two weeks about their happiness and satisfaction in their relationship.The results from the start and end of the experimentwere analysed and the findings from the two groups compared.The experiment was published in the scientific journal Psychological Science and showed that the couples who had been exposed to the positive stimuli showed a greater increase in marital satisfaction at the end of the eight-week period than the other control group.
James K McNulty of Florida State University described his response to the experiment:
I was actually a little surprised that it worked [...] just the idea that something so simple and unrelated to marriage could affect how people feel about their marriage, made me sceptical.
Researchers hope to further the study to eventually develop concepts to keep long distance military couples happy.
It just goes to show that cute photos of dogs or images of dogs doing the weirdest thingscan do more than just brighten your mood, they can even improve your marriage!
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