Now in Georgia research news: Deadbeat dads, maternal mammals, and egalitarian couples

A few of the latest studies from UGA, Emory, and Georgia State

What if deadbeat dads couldn’t get away with it? Researchers at the University of Georgia and Boston College crunched data from 1979 to 1993 with a “perfect enforcement” baseline model used to predict how absent fathers would pay in an ideal scenario. The result? Unwed men would have fewer kids. As for divorced fathers: “We do find that perfect enforcement leads to about a five percentage point decline in divorce rates,” says UGA assistant professor Meghan Skira.

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They say you can’t understand motherly love until you have a child yourself. Turns out, they might be right. Emory University primate experts found that molecules preparing the body for giving birth also activate neural pathways motivating parents to care for their newborns. The study says this reaction is not limited to humans and our fellow primates; upon childbirth, most mammals develop maternal instincts.

If you worry an egalitarian relationship means less time between the sheets, don’t. Georgia State University sociologists refuted a 2013 study claiming that sharing housework cuts into couples’ sex lives, finding instead that couples with equal divisions of labor have similar (and sometimes better) sex lives. “The egalitarian couples have sex a little bit more often,” says assistant professor Daniel Carlson.

This article originally appeared in our November 2014 issue.