Spanning experimental designs and phenomenological interviews, we believe the best behavioral and social science comes from using mixed methods to tackle topics from many directions. Beyond this, many of our initiatives also have a journalism and/or advocacy agenda.
Initiative 1. What's Your Poly Story?
"What's Your Poly Story?" is an ongoing journalistic reporting initiative that will lead to a book with the same title. In collaboration with Rhonda Balzarini (Western University in Ontario), Dr. Holmes conducted 33 in-depth interviews all over the United States with people who identify as polyamorous (i.e., having more than one loving committed relationship at a time, with the consent and knowledge of all involved). The interviews hold valuable insights into how these kinds of relationships work, including managing jealousy, communicating effectively, and negotiating the dynamics of multi-partner relationships.
Initiative 2. What is a Relationship, anyway?
This series of experimental work using prototype methodologies is led by Rhonda Balzarini (Western University in Ontario) with assistance of student researcher Emma Mikalowski (The LOVES team). Studies have been completed at Stony Brook University (under supervision of Dr. Art Aron) and at Champlain College. The work examins how the everyday person conceptualizes being in a romantic relationship. A poster was presented at the 2015 annual convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP).
Initiative 3. The Large Poly Survey
This project was led by our team at Champlain College in collaboration with Dr. Justin Lehmiller (Purdue University) and Dr. Jennifer Harman (Colorado State University). A large sample (N=3,530) of people who identify as polyamourous in their relationship orientation answered an extensive battery of surveys (the survey is still online for viewing, but data collection is complete). We are writing a descriptive paper, a paper on compersion (feeling positive emotions about your partner's love and sexual experiences with another), a paper on commitment, and one on attachment and satisfaction. Rhonda Balzarini and Dr. Lorne Campbell (Western University, Ontario) are tackling an important paper on differences in investment and satisfaction between partners 1 and 2 (see Open Science Framework protocols and hypothesis here). Qualitative content coding projects on jealousy and compersion are ongoing (see Open Science Framework protocols here).
Initiative 4. Relationship Matters Podcast
The podcast series, produced at Champlain College by Dr. Holmes, brings you the cutting edge of relationship research in an accessible, easy to access, and comprehensible way and is sponsored by SAGE publications (London). We aim the podcast at undergrad students, graduate students, teachers, and researchers... but likewise to clinicians, policy makers, journalists, and to anyone interested in relationships. For each podcast, we select a significant paper published recently in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and interview the authors about their work. We ask authors to explain things with as little jargon as possible and to keep a focus on real-world application. People are finding these podcasts to be great teaching tools, and we hope you agree! We have a great fan base all over the world with a significant volume of downloads per day. We cooperate with the web page Science of Relationships: an article about each podcast is published on the site. Stream and download all podcasts here.
Initiative 5. Attachment Across Context
This is a large scale study led by Dr. Holmes and his former Ph.D. student Dr. Kimberly Johnson. A large international sample (N=6,600) was followed for six months using a prospective longitudinal design. Several papers are in progress, including one that tracks adult attachment and relationship satisfaction over time, and a second that looks at how breaking up or entering a new relationship affects people with different attachment styles. Most of the work was carried out while Dr. Holmes' was Director of the Family and Personal Relationships Laboratory at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Initiative 6. Love Decoded | Myths Busted
Our society and mass media is full of myths about relationships that contradict modern relationship research and recent scientific findings. This is a ongoing mass media initiative driven by Dr. Holmes and his closest colleages toward educating the public about commonly held and often dangerous myths and misunderstandings about relationships. Multiple television interviews (e.g., NBC, BBC), radio appearances (e.g., CBC in Canada, BBC, and NPR), and popular press articles (e.g., Washington Post; TIME magazine) have been part of this initiative so far. A recent (2015) National Public Radio interview can be listened to here, A recent (2015) television interview on the topic can be viewed here. A recent (2015) newspaper publication can be read here. Dr. Holmes also writes a blog on the topic for Psychology Today by the title Love by the Numbers. He also collaborated with Channel 4 in the United Kingdom to create a research-based quiz that tests people's beliefs in common relationship myths: the quiz can be taken here and an accompanying essay read here. A popular press book on the topic is in the works.
Initiative 7. The Sharing/Selfish Brain
In collaboration with neuroscientist Dr. Barbara Colombo (Champlain College), a series of experimental work is being developed that will use ERP/EEG to test the experience of emotions in people who identify as monogomous and polyamorous when challenged with stimuli that might induce romantic and/or sexual jealousy. More information will be posted as this program of studies takes form and protocols are uploaded to the Open Science Framework.
Initiative 8. The LOVES Initiative Podcast
Dr. Holmes, together with consultants working in audio production and radio, is currently developing a new podcast with a few different themes. Theme one will be called On Becoming a Person and will feature transformational stories of people that have moved through a process of growth and self-actualization. Theme two will be called Love is Love, which will feature unique stories of diversity in relational experiences from around the US and world. Check back as a Kickstarter fundraising campaign will soon be underway and preliminary pilot episodes recorded. We're looking for co-producers and story-hunters for this initiative, so get in touch!