research topic


Our research into the psychology of relationships has three interrelated lines of inquiry. We conduct research on ideal partner preferences, the development of close relationships over time, as well as on gender roles and gender-related cognitions. Across all three strands, a particular emphasis is placed on understanding the interactions between gender, personal dispositions, and contextual influences.

For example, our work has challenged a tenet of evolutionary psychology by showing that sex differences in partner preferences are not universal, but differ across the world as a function of gender equality and other sociocultural factors. National levels of gender equality also influence the level of distress experienced by gender-nonconforming individuals.

More recently, we studied how close relationships fared during the Covid-19 pandemic. Next to showing how environmental stressors and personal vulnerabilities affected relationship satisfaction, we also discerned population subgroups that exhibited distinct relationship and sexual satisfaction trajectories over the course of the pandemic.

More information about our current research projects can be found below.