Philematology: How much do you know about X's and O's?

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That first kiss -- the moment, the atmosphere, the person, the feeling -- it's hard to forget. When you're smooching that special someone this Valentine's Day, pay attention to the effects it has on you.

All of those warm, fuzzy feelings experienced when kissing or falling in love are biological reactions studied by experts. It's called philematology. The origin of kissing stems from two anthropological theories: It was adapted from spiritual and intuitive practices and the other, that mothers would "kiss feed" their offspring by mouth. Somewhere down the line it evolved into a romantic gesture, practiced in 90 percent of cultures in today's world, according to anthropologists at Rutgers University.

Take our quiz below to see how much you know about smooching, falling in love and all that goes along with it!

1. Which animals support the theory that kissing is an instinctive behavior?

a. Dogs
b. Bonobos
c. Gorillas
d. Horses

Answer: B: Bonobos. Anthropologists have been studying the relationship between man and wild for some time. They say bonobos kiss to reduce tension after dispute and to develop social bonds. This supports the theory by some researchers that kissing is an instinctive, untaught behavior  that has been practiced for decades.

2. Is it true or false that when a couple is passionately in love, their hearts beat in sync?

True: They do beat in sync -- they become one!
False: That's not possible

Answer: True. A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology found when you're involved in a romantic relationship, your heart beats as fast as your partner's.  The researchers asked them to simply stare at one another for three minutes in as calm a manner as possible while they monitored the couple's heart rates. Researchers found that the man and woman unconsciously mimics the other, known as co-regulation. Women tend to do this more often then men.

3. The chemical specifically triggered in the brain when we fall in love, is also triggered by what drug?

a. Marijuana
b. PCP
c. Cocaine
d. MDMA or "Molly"

Answer: C: Cocaine. Intense, passionate feelings of love can provide amazingly effective pain relief, similar to painkillers or such illicit drugs as cocaine, according to a study conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine. Dopamine, the reward-seeking neurotransmitter, is released in the brain by love and also triggered by cocaine. It can give us a "high" feeling or "rush" of emotions.

4. What one muscle does basic kissing rely on?

a. The zygomaticus minor
b. The orbicularis oris
c.  Lateral pterygoid
d. Genioglossus

Answer: B: The orbicularis oris. Although all of the above have some function in the kissing process, a basic pop on the lips requires little muscle movement. The orbicularis oris is the muscle running around the outside of your mouth that changes the shape of your mouth while you talk, and it puckers your lips when you kiss.

5. How many calories does the average person burn per hour when kissing?

a. 10
b. 12
c. 26
d. 68

Answer: D: 68. Women's Day Magazine reports that an average woman can burn about 68 calories an hour simply by kissing. If you want to take it up a level, doctors say that a make-out session, full of passion and heavy breathing, can result in 238 calories burned every 30 minutes! This type of "exercise" won't give you the same results as the gym, but it's certainly a fun alternative :)

6. Which one of our five senses is responsible for picking up subconscious clues about the other person’s DNA or reproductive status during a kiss?

a. Touch
b. Sight
c. Smell
d. Hearing
e. Taste

Answer. C: Smell. Evolutionary psychologists and anthropologists found that our sense of smell picks up on the other person's DNA during a kiss. Biologist Claus Wedekind said that women are most attracted to the scent of men who have a very different genetic code and immune system than their own in a region known as the major histocompatibility complex. This may be because potential children would have a higher level of genetic diversity, making them healthier and more likely to survive. We also pick up on the other's pheromones.  

7. How many people tip their head to the right when they kiss?

a. Two-thirds 
b. Half
c. One-third
d. Three-fourths

Answer: A: Two-thirds of people turn their head to the right when they kiss. A German researcher found more than half of humans turn their heads to the right when they kiss due to a predilection adapted in the womb. During the final weeks in the womb and for the first six months after birth, babies develop one of the earliest examples of "behavioral asymmetry" -- learning to turning their heads to the left or the right. Psychologists believe this influences later development.

8. How long does it take for your brain to fall out of that "honeymoon stage"?

a. Six months
b. 9 months
c. 12 months
d. 18 months

Answer: D: 18 months. The beginning stages of a relationship when everything is wonderful is commonly referred to as the "honeymoon stage." Serotonin levels in the brain dip to lower levels early on in a romantic relationship, while dopamine and norepinephrine levels rise as a biological focus on that special someone. These lower serotonin levels are the same as those found in people with obsessive-compulsive disorders, possibly explaining why those in love "obsess" about their partner. After about 18 months, chemical levels return to normal levels, according to experts.

9.What country holds the Guinness World Record for the longest kiss?

a. France 
b. United States 
c. Thailand
d. Jamaica

Answer: C. Thailand. The longest kiss lasted 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds by Ekkachia and Laksana Tiranrat during Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Pattaya, Thailand in February, 2013.

EXTRA CREDIT: Name that movie: "You should be kissed and often, by someone who knows how."

a. Titanic
b. Meet Me in St. Louis
c. The Notebook
d. Gone with the Wind

Answer: D. Gone with the Wind (1939). The quote is considered one of the greatest "kissing" lines from a classic romantic film, said by Clark Gable (character Rhett Butler).


Happy Valentines Day! From WCPO, with love.

  • What one muscle does the basic kiss rely on the


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