Puppy pictures key to happier marriage?

family law

Looking at pictures of puppies, kittens and other cute animals makes marriages happier, a new study has suggested.

Academics from Florida State University have found that creating a “positive association” between spouses helped the couples’ attitudes towards each other. In this study, the effect was created by showing married people photos of cute animals alongside images of their spouse.

People’s feelings about their relationships “can be reduced to how we associate our partners with positive affect, and those associations can come from our partners but also from unrelated things, like puppies and bunnies” lead author James McNulty explained.

The research team tested this theory on 144 married couples. All of them were under 40 years old and had been married for less than five years. Around 40 per cent of the participants had children.

Each person was shown a series of images featuring various cute animals and shots of their partner. Meanwhile the control group was show “neutral” pictures, such as a photo of a button. This occurred three times a week over a six week period. They were also given a survey about how happy they were in their relationship and their attitudes towards their husband or wife.

As the study went on, those who were shown the animal imagery became increasingly upbeat in their answers to the survey and displayed a more positive view of their partner.

McNulty said he was “actually a little surprised that it worked”. Although the theories he had read on the subject indicated that it should be successful, “just the idea that something so simple and unrelated to marriage could affect how people feel about their marriage, made [him] sceptical”.

The full results were published in the academic journal Psychological Science.

Photo by Mike Spasoff via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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1 comment

D - June 22, 2017 at 10:07am

..and now the true purpose of the internet and the world wide web becomes clear..

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