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New Research: Married couple's heart rates sync when they're physically close

What kind of study was this?

This was an observational study that examined different aspects of heart rate and couples’ spatial distance from each other over time.

What did researchers want to know?

They already knew that a couple’s heart rates tend to sync when they’re together but they didn’t know how this syncing would change on a daily basis over time.

What did the researchers actually do?

For 14 days they gave 10 older married couples smartwatches that tracked different aspects of their heart rate and also spatial proximity (i.e., how physically close or far apart the couples were from each other throughout each day). They statistically analyzed these measures to find out how heart rates changed when couples were physically close to each other.

What did the researchers find?

They found that couples’ heart rates synced up when they were close to each other but they did so differently each day. On some days the wife’s heart rate led the way and the husband’s heart rate followed, and on other days it was the opposite.

Also, sometimes the couple’s heart rate synced to a less healthy pattern and sometimes to a more healthy pattern, suggesting that both bad and good moods can be contagious on a physiological level.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Your attitude, mood, and general “vibe,” can have a physiological effect on your partner. Your heart rate might lead the way today, so take good care of yourself so you can spread the good vibes!

Original article:
Ogolsky BG, Mejia ST, Chronopoulou A, et al. Spatial proximity as a behavioral marker of relationship dynamics in older adult couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. October 2021. doi:10.1177/02654075211050073

New Research: Married couple's heart rates sync when they're physically close

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New Research: Married couple's heart rates sync when they're physically close

New research suggests that married couples' heart rates sync up when they're physically close and feeling positively about each other

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Key takeaways

1

When married couples are physically close to each other their hearts rate sync

2

This syncing can be positive or negative, depending on the interactions between the couple

3

When they’re in conflict, heart rates sync in a negative way. When they’re in connection, heart rates sync in a positive way

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Reading time:

3 minutes

What kind of study was this?

This was an observational study that examined different aspects of heart rate and couples’ spatial distance from each other over time.

What did researchers want to know?

They already knew that a couple’s heart rates tend to sync when they’re together but they didn’t know how this syncing would change on a daily basis over time.

What did the researchers actually do?

For 14 days they gave 10 older married couples smartwatches that tracked different aspects of their heart rate and also spatial proximity (i.e., how physically close or far apart the couples were from each other throughout each day). They statistically analyzed these measures to find out how heart rates changed when couples were physically close to each other.

What did the researchers find?

They found that couples’ heart rates synced up when they were close to each other but they did so differently each day. On some days the wife’s heart rate led the way and the husband’s heart rate followed, and on other days it was the opposite.

Also, sometimes the couple’s heart rate synced to a less healthy pattern and sometimes to a more healthy pattern, suggesting that both bad and good moods can be contagious on a physiological level.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Your attitude, mood, and general “vibe,” can have a physiological effect on your partner. Your heart rate might lead the way today, so take good care of yourself so you can spread the good vibes!

Original article:
Ogolsky BG, Mejia ST, Chronopoulou A, et al. Spatial proximity as a behavioral marker of relationship dynamics in older adult couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. October 2021. doi:10.1177/02654075211050073

What kind of study was this?

This was an observational study that examined different aspects of heart rate and couples’ spatial distance from each other over time.

What did researchers want to know?

They already knew that a couple’s heart rates tend to sync when they’re together but they didn’t know how this syncing would change on a daily basis over time.

What did the researchers actually do?

For 14 days they gave 10 older married couples smartwatches that tracked different aspects of their heart rate and also spatial proximity (i.e., how physically close or far apart the couples were from each other throughout each day). They statistically analyzed these measures to find out how heart rates changed when couples were physically close to each other.

What did the researchers find?

They found that couples’ heart rates synced up when they were close to each other but they did so differently each day. On some days the wife’s heart rate led the way and the husband’s heart rate followed, and on other days it was the opposite.

Also, sometimes the couple’s heart rate synced to a less healthy pattern and sometimes to a more healthy pattern, suggesting that both bad and good moods can be contagious on a physiological level.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Your attitude, mood, and general “vibe,” can have a physiological effect on your partner. Your heart rate might lead the way today, so take good care of yourself so you can spread the good vibes!

Original article:
Ogolsky BG, Mejia ST, Chronopoulou A, et al. Spatial proximity as a behavioral marker of relationship dynamics in older adult couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. October 2021. doi:10.1177/02654075211050073

What kind of study was this?

This was an observational study that examined different aspects of heart rate and couples’ spatial distance from each other over time.

What did researchers want to know?

They already knew that a couple’s heart rates tend to sync when they’re together but they didn’t know how this syncing would change on a daily basis over time.

What did the researchers actually do?

For 14 days they gave 10 older married couples smartwatches that tracked different aspects of their heart rate and also spatial proximity (i.e., how physically close or far apart the couples were from each other throughout each day). They statistically analyzed these measures to find out how heart rates changed when couples were physically close to each other.

What did the researchers find?

They found that couples’ heart rates synced up when they were close to each other but they did so differently each day. On some days the wife’s heart rate led the way and the husband’s heart rate followed, and on other days it was the opposite.

Also, sometimes the couple’s heart rate synced to a less healthy pattern and sometimes to a more healthy pattern, suggesting that both bad and good moods can be contagious on a physiological level.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Your attitude, mood, and general “vibe,” can have a physiological effect on your partner. Your heart rate might lead the way today, so take good care of yourself so you can spread the good vibes!

Original article:
Ogolsky BG, Mejia ST, Chronopoulou A, et al. Spatial proximity as a behavioral marker of relationship dynamics in older adult couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. October 2021. doi:10.1177/02654075211050073

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