February 11, 2022
Each February, Valentine’s Day shines the spotlight back on relationships and the search for love.
Chocolates, roses and stuffed animals are displayed at grocery stores and couples begin planning expensive romantic dinners. Google searches for date ideas increase by 400%, and according to a National Retail Foundation survey, the average American couple plans to spend almost $200 on each other.
Additionally, for the second straight year, undergraduate psychology students in the PSY 498 Navigating Romantic Relationships course presented op-eds about the psychology of relationships.
The course is taught by Thao Ha, an assistant professor and expert on relationships and transitions within the adolescent and young adult life cycle. Ha is also the director of the Heart (Healthy Experiences Across Relationships and Transitions) Lab at Arizona State University, where she conducts research on the development of adolescent romantic relationships. She investigates how partner choices, relationship dynamics and break-ups among heterosexual and sexual minority youth affect their emotional and behavioral adjustment over time.
Recently, Ha’s research was published in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, where she used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain activity in both members of a romantic couple when they assessed their own romantic compatibility.
Students in her class worked in groups to conduct research on topics related to the course material and presented on topics such as the benefits and risks of intimate friendships, reducing the fear of long-distance relationships, how predictive zodiac signs are of compatibility, and how to have an effective Valentine’s date based on evolutionary psychology research.
Following the presentations, students voted on the presentations and selected their favorites.
Students Shardul Shetye, Daniel Grumbine and Anya Pressendo received the most votes, and their op-ed, “Keeping the Benefits and the Friendship Separate,” was published on the Department of Psychology website. Their presentation focused on the struggle many college students face …….