Across six studies, Josh Ackerman of the MIT Sloan School of Management and his colleagues found that although people think that women are the first to confess love and feel happier when they receive such confessions, it is actually men who confess love first and feel happier. They also found that saying “I love you” makes the man in a couple feel most happy if the confession occurs before the couple has sex and makes women most happy if the confession happens after sex.
“This work shows that our intuitions are not always correct,” Ackerman says. “When and why we express romantic love are guided by deep-seated motivations that are best understood in an economic framework. Love confessions are akin to economic resources that people use to negotiate evolved romantic interests.” The studies were published in the June 2011 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
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