Playing with magnets could increase levels of satisfaction, intimacy and
commitment amongst romantic partners, new research has suggested.
research examined the metaphor "love is a physical force". This
metaphor is instantiated in utterances such as, "we were immediately
attracted to each other", and "there was a magnetism between us", as
well as in the maxim that "opposites attract".
experiments, the researchers investigated whether activating a
metaphorical representation of "love as a physical force" influenced the
experience of love -- attraction, intimacy, commitment, and
"These experiments reiterate the basic point of
conceptual metaphor theory, that these metaphors that we use in language
aren't just figures of speech or ways of talking about things," study
co-author Andrew Christy, graduate student in psychology at Texas
A&M University was quoted as saying by Live Science.
"They actually are reflective of how we think about things, too," Christy explained.
first experiment involved 120 students, between ages 18-22, who were
either in relationships or had been in relationships within the last few
The participants were told to take a "mental break"
before filling out questionnaires about their connection with their
They were given options to play with magnetised blocks
that attracted each other, magnetised blocks that repelled each other,
and some had blocks without magnets.
The participants who played
with the magnetically attracting blocks reported greater attraction,
satisfaction and commitment in their relationships or recent
relationships compared with those students given the other two block
types, Christy told Live Science.
In their next experiment with
150 students, the researchers included only blocks with magnets that
attracted, and non-magnetised blocks.
The people who played with
the magnetised blocks again reported greater levels of attraction,
satisfaction and commitment in their relationships than those who played
with non-magnetised blocks.
"In the experiments, participants
exposed to magnets reported greater levels of satisfaction, attraction,
intimacy, and commitment," the study said.
The study was published in the open access journal PLOS ONE on May 26.