Theme Month February - Meaningful relationships


It’s February, and love is in the air. Here at the GEMH lab, we see the days are getting longer and it’s making us feel fuzzy and warm. We are all anxiously awaiting February 14th, when we get to share and connect with the people we care about on Valentine’s day. In honor of this day, this month’s theme will be meaningful relationships.

While Valentine’s day is usually associated with romantic love, meaningful relationships is meant here as including something more. Humans are capable of deep relationships, not only with their romantic partner, but also with friends or family. Showing other people you care about them gives us a wonderful warm feeling inside. While scientists might claim that’s just due to an increase of the nonapeptide hormone oxytocin, it would be a shame to reduce such a powerful emotion to its biological core. As social creatures, we feel the need to love and be loved throughout our entire lifespan.

Our preoccupation with love is expressed frequently in art and media. Millions of love songs have been written throughout history. So many movies on the topic have come out that they formed their own genre — the romantic comedy. In video games, love seems something that has taken a backseat for feelings such as excitement, suspense, or fear. However, a touching role-playing game or the occasional dating simulator reminds us that even games are being used to express and touch or hearts.

Yet there are still so many unknowns in this field. Can video games contribute to the quality of a relationship? Does bonding and affection transmit online, even if you have never met a person in real life? Is there any truth to the saying that couples who play together, stay together? Answers to these questions aren’t always easy to find, but we can try it anyway —together with our loved ones.

This month, we will have several blog posts on meaningful relationships, which includes romances but also friendships and family ties. Do you have any experiences with video games changing one of your relationships? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below or reach us on Twitter @GEMH_Lab.

We got to let love rule – Lenny Kravitz


Geert Verheijen

Researcher with a focus on the social development of teens, interested in the effects of average, day-to-day video game use. enthusiastic board gamer & self-proclaimed institutional champion of Super Smash Brothers.


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