bims-chumac Biomed News
on Context effects on human mate choice
Issue of 2020‒08‒23
two papers selected by
Jay Dixit

  1. Sci Rep. 2020 Aug 20. 10(1): 12926
    Sadikaj G, Moskowitz DS, Zuroff DC, Bartz JA.
      Given the significance of close relationships for human survival, it is thought that biological mechanisms evolved to support their initiation and maintenance. The neuropeptide oxytocin is one such candidate identified in non-human animal research. We investigated whether variation in CD38, a gene involved in oxytocin secretion and attachment behavior in rodents, predicts romantic relationship dynamics in daily life. Community couples participated in an event-contingent recording (ECR) study in which they reported their social behavior, perception of their partner's behavior, and affect during their interactions with one another over a 20-day period; couples also completed various measures of relationship adjustment. Out of the 111 couples (N = 222 individuals) who provided either ECR and/or relationship adjustment information, we had information on CD38 for 118 individuals. As hypothesized, variation in rs3796863, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) identified in prior work, predicted communal behaviors (e.g., the expression of affection), as well as overall relationship adjustment, such that individuals with the CC (vs. AC/AA) allele reported higher levels of communal behavior across their daily interactions with their romantic partner, as well as higher levels of relationship adjustment. Individuals with the CC (vs. AC/AA) allele of rs3796863 also reported less negative affect and felt insecurity in their interactions with their romantic partner. Notably, we found that variation in the romantic partner's rs3796863 SNP was related to the person's outcomes, independent of the person's rs3796863 genotype. These findings support the role of oxytocin in the interpersonal processes implicated in the maintenance of close relationships.
  2. Nat Rev Urol. 2020 Aug 20.
    Dewitte M, Otten C, Walker L.
      The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social changes that were required to slow the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) have resulted in lockdowns across many countries and led to substantial numbers of people being quarantined. For single people, their opportunities to meet a partner were completely lost. For couples who lived apart, this meant that they were not able to see their partner for many months. However, by contrast, for cohabiting couples, lockdown meant that they were forced to spend 24 h a day with each other, and perhaps their children or housemates, for months at a time. As lockdowns have loosened around the world, the possibility of a second wave arises, and lockdowns are being reinstated in many regions. The prospect of potential long-term lockdowns means that adjusting to this new normal in relationships is an important consideration. In this Viewpoint, three specialists in sexology and psychology discuss the effects of lockdown on intimacy and consider how it can be considered an opportunity as well as an obstacle for making love in the time of corona.