Singles Better at Spotting Love Than People in Relationships

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Who can more accurately spot a loving pair from casual couples — single people or people in relationships? Common sense may state that people in relationships have a better radar for spotting love within others, but a recent study finds the opposite to be true.

Recently published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, the findings indicate that single people were considerably more adept at spotting a couple in love than people who were in serious relationships. In fact, the study found that single people were twice as accurate in predicting love than people in relationships.

“Singles were twice as accurate in spotting a

couple in love than a person in a relationship.”

Conducted at McGill University in Montreal, this study first filmed a number of different couples. Some of the couples had been seeing each other for months and identified as deeply in love with each other, while others were together in a more casual relationship. After recording the footage, researchers showed it to volunteers and asked those volunteers to identify which couples were in love and which weren’t.

Some of the volunteers were single and others were in relationships. When the data was tabulated, the single people held a clearer picture of what love did and did not look like, while individuals in their own relationships had a tendency to mistake body language and physical interactions between the casual couples as an indication of devotion.

Associate Professor and Psychology Department Chair Mark Bernieri put forth a theory on these findings, arguing that people in relationships have a tendency to project their personal feelings of love on to everyone else they see, while single people “are more cautious and more dispassionate about their judgments.”

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