UVU SMARTLab conducts kissing study for Valentine’s Day


A study conducted by the Utah Valley University Neuromarketing Research SMARTLab shows men and women do not kiss the same way, or even approach kissing in the same manner. Although this may sound intuitive, the actual scientific findings were surprising.

Dr. Paul Dishman, Executive Director of the UVU Neuromarketing Research SMARTLab, conducted the study in order to assess who was more engaged during kissing- males or females.

“Prior research primarily used surveys to gather subjects’ opinions after they kissed. However, we measured each person’s brain with an EEG device while they were actually kissing,” Dishman said.

The study utilized newly married couples as subjects. Each person was fitted with an EEG device to measure brain activity. After calibration with the device, the couple was given privacy for 30 seconds. They were instructed to kiss, as desired, during the middle 10 seconds. The EEG data was then analyzed for engagement, distraction, and cognitive load. What the lab found was surprising.

“We expected females would be more engaged in a kiss than males. This was found to be true. This is supported by previous research which states that women place more importance on kissing than males. Females report they use kissing as a method of assessment and to bond in their relationships.” Dishman said. “We also expected to find that males would be more engaged in the pre-kiss stage as they are more visually-oriented than females. However, we were surprised that females were even more engaged during that stage than they were during the actual kiss. The study showed that females also showed a decline in engagement from the pre-kiss stage through the kiss to the post-kiss stage. In the three stages, men were least engaged during the kiss. Females were most distracted after the kiss, whereas males were most distracted during the actual kiss.

“We also measured each person’s cognitive load, that is how hard the brain must work to process a particular task. In all three stages, females were in the normal range, whereas male brains had work harder in order to kiss. It may be that the act of kissing comes more naturally to females than to males.” stated Dishman.

“Although this study may provide some insight into relationships, you must remember this- sometimes a kiss is just a kiss,” said Dishman.