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Being in love can certainly evoke an entire host of emotions or behaviors, but does it make you inherently less focused?
That’s the finding from a new report appearing in the journal Motivation and Emotion. According to the authors, those in love are simply more susceptible to difficulties when it comes to maintaining concentration.
Scientists gathered 43 volunteers for the study, all having been in a relationship at some point in the past six months. The men and women were each individually tested as they sorted materials into column A or column B.
Participants listened to specific music meant to elicit a romantic response. This was done to intensify their feelings during the test exercises and gauge how in love they were.
Based on the results, how much a person is in love impacts the level of loss to their concentration. More in love means less focused.
“How much a person is in love impacts
the level of loss to their concentration.”
Additionally, the findings proved consistent among both men and women.
Lead author Henk van Steenbergen is on staff at Lieden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands. The psychologsist and Ph.D. said whether people in love realize it or not, a good bit of the cognitive resources are spent dwelling on their sweethearts.
However, he said the reason romantic love is linked to cognitive performance remains unclear.
“It could be that lovers use all their cognitive resources to think about their beloved, which leaves them no resources to perform a boring task,” he said. “It could also be that the association goes in the opposite direction: people who have reduced cognitive control may experience more intense love feelings than people who have higher levels of cognitive control.”
Colleagues from the University of Maryland co-authored the research.