About This Project

Poets have for centuries tried to describe the feeling of love, but what is the science behind love and attraction? Our project seeks to answer this question by looking at the hormones in our saliva. It is our goal to catch several chemical snapshots of the hormonal process of love not only in heterosexual couples, but LGBTQ couples as well.

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What is the context of this research?

Previous research suggests that there is a strong link between love, attraction, and hormones. The stress hormone, cortisol, plays a critical role in attraction. Some studies suggest that there is a synchronization of cortisol in romantic partners.

Unfortunately, research is lacking information about attraction within the LGBTQ community. While previous studies have focused on heterosexual couples, they have failed to include homosexual couples.

Previous research has also failed to provide a description of our hormonal response to simply being exposed/presented to our significant other. That is, it is currently unclear as to what is actually happening in our bodies to make us feel the way we do when we see our significant other.

What is the significance of this project?

Research into the the biological background of love helps us understand how we operate as couples. This information can help us understand how to strengthen our relationships.

This study seeks to broaden our knowledge by expanding the research into the LGBTQ community, thus giving a bigger picture of the thing we call love. Research commonly ignores the LGBTQ community, simply because it is easier to study heterosexual couples. It is crucial that we study homosexual couples if we are to fully consider love and attraction.

Our study also seeks to provide a more "real-time" description of how we respond to our romantic partners. This will give us a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the hormonal regulation of attraction.

What are the goals of the project?

There are two primary goals of this study.

1. We hope to discover how individuals in a couple respond hormonally to one another. This can be accomplished by collecting saliva from individuals at and around a time at which they are presented to their romantic partner. We can take this saliva and analyze it for a stress hormone, cortisol, and an additional hormone, testosterone. These could give us great insight into why we experience what we do; that is, we'll be looking at the chemicals that make you feel butterflies.

2. We also wish to collect information about social stressors and behavior via questionnaire. Questionnaires can give us greater insight into how individuals in couples are emotionally attached to one another and what kinds of social stress they experience together.


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While it is not very expensive to collect saliva, it is really expensive to analyze it.

In order for our research to continue, we need help to buy the chemicals required to analyze the saliva that we will collect. We also need a little more help in buying supplies to collect and store saliva, as well as some funding to compensate for our participants' time.

Without additional funding, this study cannot be completed.

Meet the Team

Forrest Rogers
Forrest Rogers

Team Bio

My name is Forrest Rogers, and I'm a senior undergraduate studying Biological Science and French at Oklahoma State University (OSU). I currently hold a position as a Wentz undergraduate research scholar.

I'm in the process of applying to graduate (PhD) studies in biological psychology/neuroscience. My primary interests are in social behavior and the neuro-chemical mechanisms behind it.

D. Jennifer Byrd-Craven, a professor of psychology at Oklahoma State University, is my supervisor. Dr. Byrd-Craven is the director of the Psychobiology Laboratory at OSU.

Additional Information

I have been invited to present my research at the Oklahoma State Capitol in March of 2015. I need funding so I can have data to present!

Project Backers

  • 41Backers
  • 111%Funded
  • $2,225Total Donations
  • $54.27Average Donation
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