Two hearts in love can beat as one

Eternal bond

Two hearts in love can beat as one

Couples in love often finish each other’s sentences and laugh at the same jokes, and now a new study suggests that even their hearts may beat to the same rhythm.

Scientists have found that a couple’s breathing patterns and heart rates would match up after sitting close to each other. They didn’t even have to be holding hands or talking for this to happen. However, a similar effect was not seen among strangers.

The research team from the University of California, Davis, were studying the physical effects of being in a relationship. They discovered there was more to it than their hearts both skipping a beat at the sight of each other.

Emilio Ferrer, a UC Davis psychology professor who has conducted a series of studies on couples in romantic relationships, found that couples connected to monitors measuring heart rates and respiration get their heart rate in sync, and they breathe in and out at the same intervals.

To collect the data, the researchers conducted a series of exercises, sitting 32 heterosexual couples a few feet away from each other in a quiet, calm room. The couples did not speak or touch.

“We have seen a lot of research that one person in a relationship can experience what the other person is experiencing emotionally, but this study shows they also share experiences at a physiological level,” Ferrer said in a statement. The couples, in one of the exercises, were asked to sit across from each other and mimic each other, but still not speak, and researchers collected very similar results.

The researchers also mixed up the data from the couples. When the two individuals were not from the same couple, their hearts did not show synchrony, nor did their breathing closely match.

Additionally, both partners showed similar patterns of heart rate and respiration, but women tended to adjust theirs to their partners more. This was true not only for physiological but for day-to-day emotional experiences as well.

“In other words, we found that women adjust in relationship to their partners,” said Jonathan Helm, a psychology doctoral student and primary author of the study.

“Her heart rate is linked to her partner’s. I think it means women have a strong link to their partners — perhaps more empathy,” said Helm.

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