Lovers' hearts beat to the same rhythm

Lovers' hearts beat to the same rhythm

By asandil Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 15:30
When two people are in love, their heartbeats and breathing become synchronised when they’re together, new research shows. We know that lovers can be in tune emotionally, but this is the first research to show that synchronicity can be physical too.

With no more than a look, lovers can sync their heartbeats. But guess whose body works harder at syncing, the guy's or the girl's?

There’s no mistaking a couple in love – they can’t keep their eyes off each other, laugh at the same bad jokes, and mimic each other’s gestures. In short, they really seem to be in sync.

When it comes to their emotions, research has shown this is true – lovers can experience their partner’s sadness, joy, worry, and fear as if these were their own emotions. But up until now, there’s been no evidence that lovers’ synchronicity goes any deeper.

Physical syncing

To test out whether there’s a physical side to being in sync, US researchers measured the heartbeats and breathing of 32 couples in love. The couples sat apart from each other in a quiet room without speaking or touching. In one experiment, they were asked to stare into each other’s eyes and in another to try to get in sync with each other on a physical level.

When they did, the lovers began to breathe in and out at the same rate and their heartbeats became synchronised. To prove this was no fluke, the researchers then mixed up the data, comparing the heartbeats and breathing of random men and women who weren’t in love. Not surprisingly, they didn’t match up.

Who's got more empathy?

Though both men and women in the study changed their heartbeats and breathing to synchronise with their partner, it turns out that women make more of an adjustment than men. That’s true not just when it comes to these physical measures, but for mood and emotional state as well.

It could be that women experience more empathy than men and whether it’s emotionally or physically are more likely to be in tune with what their partner’s experiencing, say the researchers.

Whether it’s sharing your lovers blues when they’re feeling low, or mimicking their heartbeat and breathing on a physical level, being in sync is not in vain. It leads to stability during the emotional highs and lows that go along with falling in love. It also helps to build strong bonds in a relationship that bind lovers together over time.

Who do you think works harder to keep a couple in sync, the man or the woman? Tell us here or on Facebook.

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