Love has been hyped for a long time now, but until now it’s practical effects (other than getting someone to hang around longer) hasn’t been fully understood.
A new study published by NCBI has found that love is even more romantic than previously thought. Human synchronization is integral to us all getting along. You’ll subconsciously match your friends posture while chatting with them, or their footsteps when walking with them. Other studies have found that if you’re watching something emotional, or sing together, your heart rates will start to match up.
But what happens when you’re a little more intimate? Lovers who are simply near each other their breathing and brainwave patterns start to sync, which leads to situations where you start finish each others… sandwiches.
The study, which used 22 heterosexual couples, put couples in a number of scenarios. They found that when the female was put into a painful situation their synchronization was broken. But when they were allowed to hold hands, their synchronization would be fixed again.
But what gives? Why are we putting all the pain on the girls in this scenario?
Lead author Pavel Goldstein came up with the study when he was in the delivery room waiting to welcome his daughter to the world. He wanted to help his wife, but the only thing he could think to do was hold her hand.
“My wife was in pain, and all I could think was, ‘What can I do to help her?’ I reached for her hand and it seemed to help,” he recalls. “I wanted to test it out in the lab: Can one really decrease pain with touch, and if so, how?”
Goldstein’s previous research found that the more empathy the man showed for the woman (as measured in other tests), the more her pain subsided during touch. The more physiologically synchronized they were, the less pain she felt.
“It could be that touch is a tool for communicating empathy, resulting in an analgesic, or pain-killing, effect,” said Goldstein.
Obviously holding hands isn’t going to prove to be very useful in the event of a shark attack or car crash, but it’s still cute to know that we can help each other just by holding hands.