As a children, our parents walking down the street hand in hand is one of the most vomit inducing embarrassing things that could ever happen. However, hand holding is something we see very little off nowadays with today’s couples seeming more comfortable being publicly passionate than affectionate.
Recent surveys of students found that they believe holding hands is a sign of commitment. This explains the average students inclination towards heavy petting in public rather than simply giving their date’s hand a squeeze.
John Gottman is an American psychologist who conducted a “love laboratory” experiment at Washington University. He videoed couples throughout the experiment and found that those who used humour or affection during an argument were more likely to stay together than those who didn’t. However, it was no use asking couples to display affection in an argument because it was found that they had to genuinely feel it for it to work.
According to the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, affection may also help reduce stress. Hand holding was found to reduce levels of cortisol, high levels of which are implicated in heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Dr Max Blumberg, a psychologist who specialises in relationships has questioned whether affection has that central a role in relationships. “Affection is only one thing, and not the big thing – the ability to communicate and provide emotional support is bigger – but it is a desirable component in a long-standing relationship.”