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Professor Wins Media Award for Popular Website about Relationships

Professor Wins Media Award for Popular Website about Relationships

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology honors Tim Loving's efforts to communicate relationship science to the public.

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AUSTIN, Texas - Tim Loving, an associate professor of human development and family sciences in the College of Natural Sciences, is a recipient of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s 2012 Media Award for the website he co-launched called ScienceofRelationships.com.

“The award has traditionally been given to individuals such as John Tierney at the New York Times, or folks who write about social psychology research for mass media types and outlets,” Loving said. “This year we thought why not give it a shot and decided to submit our information. They have seldom given it to actual members but we were selected, which is awesome. They appreciate what we are doing — trying to get the science out to the general public.”

The website highlights research taking place in the field of relationship science. Loving, along with colleagues Benjamin Le of Haverford College and Gary Lewandowski at Monmouth University, launched the site in February 2011.

“We developed the site because we didn’t feel that the science of what we do as relationship researchers was really put out to the public in a very accessible way,” Loving said. “There is a lot of bad information about relationships but more importantly not enough respect for what my colleagues and I do.”

The site covers both current and classic research as well as specific studies or lines of research. The goal of the contributors is to talk about how relationships work and function.

The society will present the award at its annual meeting on Jan. 17-19, 2013 in New Orleans.

“It's really fantastic to be recognized by one's peers,” Le said. “We've worked really hard to create an informative and fun site, and to have our own field validate the work we've put into it makes it all worthwhile. In terms of what it means to the site, it's a significant ‘badge’ to display, so that visitors to the site see that we've been vetted by an important professional organization.”

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology is a professional organization that is home to researchers in a variety of disciplines, including the family sciences. It covers many aspects of science but mostly social and personality psychology.

ScienceofRelationships.com averages around 4,000 views per day, which includes 1,500-2,500 unique visitors. By benchmarks for a new site without major funding, the site has been relatively successful.

“Now, if we were talking to someone from CNN they would chuckle at our traffic numbers,” Loving added. “It just depends what goes up that day or if something gets thrown on Reddit, which is always great for us. That tells us we are getting traffic from people beyond those that are directly involved in the science, which is the audience we are excited to reach.”

Contact: Tim Loving, associate professor, 512-471-0973, tjloving@austin.utexas.edu

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