Couples Who Play Board Games Together Release “Love Hormones”, Baylor Study Finds

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I’ll be the first to admit that when I’ve played games with my significant other, particularly competitive and confrontational games like miniature wargames, sometimes the games we play end up being rather heated. But it turns out that while we were having a lengthy discussion about how different rules interacted or if the last move we made was legal, we were also strengthening our relationship through the release of a “love hormone”, at least according to the findings of a recently published Baylor study.

The study focused on hormone levels of couples who either played board games or went to a couples art class together, and measured increases in oxytocin, also known as the “hugging hormone”, which plays a role in social bonding.

When comparing changes in oxytocin levels, the study found: “the release of oxytocin increased most for the men in the art class, followed by women playing board games; women in the art class; and last, men playing board games. But the last three groups did not differ significantly from one another […] ‘Our big finding was that all couples release oxytocin when playing together — and that’s good news for couples’ relationships,’ [Baylor assistant professor of child and family studies and study author] Melton said.”

While men who took the painting class did have the highest release of oxytocin, it does beg the question as to whether or not couples who paint miniatures together might also see similar benefits, as a board game rules lawyer might argue, it’s blending games and art class. Either way, it is another great reason to play a fantastic game on your next date night.

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