The next time you're at a party with the love of your life, don't spend a lot of time trying to identify other couples in love - chances are, you aren't very good at it. Golfers may be able to identify a sweet swing, and runners admire a lengthy stride in others, but a new study has found that when it comes to identifying couples in love, no one is worse than - well, couples in love. "Love is truly blind," said Frank J. Bernieri, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Oregon State University and one of the authors of the study.
"People in the study who had the longest relationships, were immersed in reading romance novels and spent lots of time watching romantic movies just loved this research. They all were quite confident of their ability to identify others in love.
"And without exception," he added, "they were, by far, the least accurate in their assessment."
The study was just published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. Bernieri co-authored the paper with lead investigator Maya Aloni, who was an honors undergraduate at the University of Toledo when Bernieri was on the faculty there. She is now at State University of New York-Buffalo pursuing graduate studies.
A team of clinical psychologists at McGill University in Montreal filmed 25 couples for another study and used a battery of common assessment tools - including the Sternberg Love Scale, the Hatfield Passion Scale and other relationship measures - to determine the depth of couples' affection for one another. All of the couples had been together for at least three weeks; many for several months.
On film, the couples were seen interacting casually. Bernieri showed snippets of each couple to a series of volunteers and ask them to assess the depths of the filmed couples' feelings for each other.
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