Valentine’s Day Tip Sheet for Media

Curtis on Tour
Curtis on Tour (Karli Cadel)

The following experts and stories may be of interest to media seeking a source or theme for a Valentine’s Day story.

Research in love and bonding relationships

Pair bonding in animals

UC Davis Department of Psychology Professor Karen L. Bales researches pair bonding, not in humans, but animals — specifically, prairie voles and titi monkeys — in an effort to understand human relationships better.

Both titi monkeys and prairie voles form monogamous pair bonds and are good subjects for study through observation and brain scans, in particular. She and her lab researchers look at how each pair form a bond, their pair bonding behavior (both long-term and short-term), parenting and other factors. Contact:

Attraction and relationships

Paul Eastwick, associate professor in psychology, leads studies in attraction and relationships.

One of Eastwick’s research programs examines how the qualities that people say are critically important to them in a romantic partner — their ideal partner preferences — direct romantic partner selection and retention. He is also interested in exploring how close relationships grow and develop over time. He has published research, as well, on why people’s current and former romantic partners sometimes share traits and sometimes do not.

Eastwick’s study published last spring looked at the differences between short-term and long-term relationships. Contact:

Award in relationship research

Phillip Shaver, distinguished professor emeritus of psychology, received on Feb. 9 the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s “Legacy” award, which honors luminary figures in social and personality psychology, tracing their impact to contemporary work. Shaver, who twice has chaired the UC Davis Department of Psychology, started with a study he co-authored in 1987 on romantic love that would transform the study of interpersonal relations. During his tenure as chair, the department grew its faculty in social and personality psychology, as well as in the emerging area of cognitive neuroscience. Attachment theory, as Shaver’s field of study is called by academics, actually began with psychological studies in the 1960s and ’70s of patterns of infant-mother attachment.  Full story is here.

Nature first loves

What would a love-themed tip sheet be without a UC Davis tip of a hat to nature? In the following blog posts scientists share their “first love” experiences with nature and how that shaped their path to a career that helps protect the environment.

A free date

What is more romantic than attending an opera on Valentine’s Day? Attending a free opera, of course. The UC Davis Mondavi Center will present a night full of operatic favorites performed by Curtis on Tour on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. The ensemble, composed of four vocalists from the Curtis Opera Theatre, will celebrate the theatre’s legacy of educating and training many of the world’s most gifted singers. Tickets are free and can be acquired here. Note: This performance is nearly “sold out” but because it’s free, people may back out, so check near performance time to check seat availability. The ticket windows are open an hour before the performance, or call 530-754-2787.

Media Resources

Karen Nikos-Rose, News and Media Relations, UC Davis, 530-219-5472,

Kat Kerlin, News and Media Relations, UC Davis, 530-750-9195,

Primary Category

Secondary Categories