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It’s not rocket-science – we all love to look at things we enjoy in life, whether that is fluffy dogs or delicious cakes. It turns out, though, that just looking at such images could affect our relationship with our other half!


A new study has found that spending time looking at images of babies, baby animals and tasty food for a period of time could actually improve your relationship with your spouse.


Before you scoff, there is actual scientific evidence to prove this, in the journal Psychological Science, no less!


A team of researchers were asked by the US Department of Defence to find out ways to help the marriages of their military personnel – in particular those men and women working in stressful situations, who are exposed to higher divorce rates.


The team, headed by Florida State University’s Professor James McNulty, set about investigating whether or not positive association with objects could change a person’s feelings about their other half.



As part of their study, they set up an experiment involving 144 couples. Each person spent six weeks looking at a stream of photos, every three days.


The participants weren’t told what the aim of the study was – they were merely asked to note when a romantic photo of a couple popped up on their screens.


The control group were shown a stream of photos containing images of their spouse along with others of neutral images, such as buttons.


The other group, however, were shown a completely different set of images including those of adorable babies, sweet baby animals, or delicious food; these would be followed by the word ‘wonderful’.


The team then performed gut-checks on each participant every two weeks, to check how the experiment was affecting their feelings towards their other half.



The results were nothing short of fascinating: as the experiment unfolded, those participants who were exposed to the cute images associated their spouse with more positive thoughts. They also reported feeling better about their relationships with them.


Commenting on their findings, Professor McNulty felt confident his team had proven that, on some level, a person’s brain could be ‘tricked’ into having more positive feelings about their spouse and marriage.


“It turns out the brain doesn’t really know the difference between some types of associations, and so we can kind of trick our minds into associating our partners with positive feelings,” he said.


Now, obviously, this study has its limits – which is why Professor McNulty and his team have applied for funding to explore their findings even further, and see how they can help couples.



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