For contact info: Nick Johnson. CGU Media Relations. 909-621-8396 or nikolaos.johnson@cgu.edu

Dr. Zak sampled the blood of a wedding party before and after a wedding ceremony. The results of the blood draws proved spikes in oxytocin. It is believed that this is the first time wedding party members have had their blood analyzed before and after their ceremony.

Talking points

1) Could we tell if the groom or bride was ‘faking their emotions’ during the wedding? The answer: YES. (In an interesting side note: “james” was in the audience during the ceremony. He had extremely high levels of oxytocin in his blood after the ceremony. Dr. Zak asked people why his levels might be so high. They told him he has had a ‘thing’ for the bride for a long time. His blood told the truth!

2) Could this type of data be used in other areas? YES. Sports. Religious ceremonies, any effective way that would add insight into positive group behaviors.

3) What are the benefits of weddings? They bring people together. Subconsciously, we know that by bringing together our friends and relatives, that later, they will be there for us when we need them. So weddings are a little selfish on our part. Plus, inherently and instinctually, we know that ceremonies like these have helped survival of the species over time. There is a chemical URGE to wed before friends and family.

4) Why not elope? There is research that determines that weddings that elope are less successful than even the 50% of those weddings that are shared with family and friends. Couples that elope lose that social bonding, empathy and love.

5) Why do we cry at weddings? We all share the love in a very specific way depending on how close we were before the wedding. There is a chemical release that occurs.

6) Other ‘notes’ from the study: Dr. Zak compared the pattern of the results with the planets: the bride (the Sun) had the highest spike in hormones. The parents and close friends around her (planets) had spikes as well, and they diminished the further away from her they were emotionally. Also, Dr. Zak noted that the groom’s testosterone doubled during the ceremony, possibly meaning he was thinking about the wedding night. :)

Dr. Zak is available for interviews. Paul.zak@cgu.edu. His official website: neuroeconomicstudies.org/

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