A Baylor University study recently concluded that playing board games with your partner releases oxytocin, sometimes called the “Love Hormone’.
The study was conducted by Baylor University in Waco, Texas and is published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, the journal of the National Council on Family Relations. If you’re willing to shell out $7 American, you can read the study yourself. There’s a sample available to preview for free, though.
Sorry, friends. I like you, but not “$7 like” you.
The general premise of the study was to see how certain recreational activities altered the oxytocin levels within each partner. 20 couples of cohabitation and marriage were studied, so admittedly not a huge sample size. The couples were split into two groups, one group took an art class together and the other played board games. The oxytocin levels were tested for each participant before the activity and after, to see if there was any change after the activity. Among the games were cards, checkers, chess, puzzles, dominoes, Monopoly and word games.
I wonder which version of Monopoly they played…
Our big finding was that all couples release oxytocin when playing together — and that’s good news for couples’ relationships,” said Karen Melton, Ph.D., assistant professor of child and family studies in Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. “But men in the art class released 2 to 2.5 times more oxytocin than the other groups. This suggests that some types of activities may be more beneficial to males than females, and vice versa.”
Karen Melton, Ph.D.
In terms of which activity is best for which participant, for men the art class was huge steps beyond. After that, women playing board games, then women in the art class, and finally men playing board games. However, even with this, the last 3 groups didn’t differ significantly enough to really draw any major conclusions. The only real outlier was that, apparently, men doing art makes them really lovey-dovey.
The study also concluded that doing either activity in a new environment, rather than at home, increased oxytocin levels as well. Here’s the point they don’t super highlight in the study overview…
“Play these board games, then pee in this cup”. A normal Saturday night for yours truly.
Thanks for reading!