A new study shows that looking at positive images, such as puppy pictures, pictures of rabbits and other cute photos could be the key to happy relationships.
How is that possible? The study is focused on a type of conditioning, called evaluative conditioning. Participants in the study were asked to view certain type of images every day for six weeks. The associations lead to a generally positive attitude.
Researchers found out that viewing content that makes you calm and positive, including images of puppies, paired with images of your spouse, can relight the fire in the relationship. The researchers used a psychological mechanism known as conditioning, in which linking a positive stimulus to an unrelated stimulus creates a positive association over time.
Of course, spouses’ behavior in a relationship is the most important factor in influencing each partner’s attitude toward the other. But the researchers say outside influences play a role as well. And this could be used for counselling couples experiencing difficulties.
“One ultimate source of our feelings about our relationships can be reduced to how we associate our partners with positive affect, and those associations can come from our partners but also from unrelated things, like puppies and bunnies,” said James K McNulty of Florida State University.