The more unequal a society is, the more likely its people are engaging in French kissing, a new study from the Abertay University in Scotland has found.
The cross-cultural study about French kissing and income inequality
The cross-cultural research involving 2,300 individuals from 13 different countries in six continents has answered several questions, such as how important they believe kissing is and how often the French kiss their partners.
In their study titled “National income inequality predicts cultural variation in mouth to mouth kissing,” which appeared in the journal Nature, Christopher D. Watkins from the Division of Psychology, School of Social and Health Sciences in Abertay University and colleagues said that appreciation and use of kissing vary according to whether the environment put a premium on partner investment and good health. Although romantic French kissing may not be a human universal, it is culturally widespread.
Pair bonds and relative poverty
Relative poverty predicts the frequency of romantic French kissing in intimate relationships, the authors added. The correlation, however, was not found in other forms of intimacy, including hugging and sexual intercourse. Watkins, who is also the lead researcher, said via science and technology platform Phys.org that people do more French kissing in cultures where they have “less to fall back on” and where it is considered a greater value to show commitment to a pair bond.
Dr. Watkins also highlighted an “interesting factor” in their research, which is that kissing is believed to be more important in an already established relationship compared to the initial stages of love or those in the romantic attraction stage. The study also found the two components of a good kiss that participants consider. These are the sensor factors, like the pleasantness of breath and body odor, and the related physical technique during the kiss. To find out these components, the authors surveyed the participants of what they think makes a good kiss.
The team also found that women value the kiss’ quality or sensory factors more than men. Their findings complement to another large-scale study conducted in very remote cultures that looked at the existence of French kissing. Dr. Watkins said that kissing is not always present in the said cultures and whether it is connected or not to how resources are shared in that society. This is why they conducted the study
Monogamy valued in harsh environments
One of the theoretical perspectives found by the authors is that monogamy, which is the practice of having one partner during a lifetime or one partner at a time, and relationship investment are valued in harsh environments. This includes environments with scarce resources. But why is there more specificity toward kissing than other forms of closeness, such as sexual intercourse? The authors wrote in their study that kissing may play a “special role” in the quality of long-term relationships and there are also ecological factors involved. For instance, there are greater potential costs to a person’s health if they engage in sexual intercourse than kissing.
Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research’s Remco Kort and his team previously conducted a survey as well to discover how as many as 80 million bacteria are transferred in a ten-second kiss. The Dutch biologists went on to say that sharing the said germs with another person means that they are equipped to deflect infections that may be introduced to each other later on. This study was published by the newspaper Daily Mail UK.
Income inequality: statistics
Income inequality is the extreme disparity of income distributions as the high concentration of income usually goes in the small percentage of a population, according to the financial platform Investopedia. Analysis and case studies of income inequality usually include distributions for historical income, occupation, geographic location, ethnicity, and male v. female population.
Our World in Data, a scientific online publication that focuses on large global problems, states that income inequality is usually not fully comparable across nations in different regions. It found that Latin America and Africa stand out as regions with very high inequality. On the other hand, most rich countries and South-East Asia have relatively low levels of inequality. Our World in Data shared the list of countries with higher inequality as reflected in their higher Gini index, which is a measure of the distribution of income across income percentiles in a population.
The ountries with a low Gini index include the following: Algeria (27.6), Ireland (33.4), Egypt (29.8), Romania (27.5), Sweden (27.7), Norway (26.4), Egypt (29.8), Kazakhstan (26.3), Ukraine (24.5), Iraq (29.5), Slovakia (28.1), Netherlands (28.1), Canada (34), Australia (34.7), Pakistan (30.7), Mali (33), Mauritania (32.4), and Mongolia (32), among others.
Meanwhile, countries with a high Gini index includes South Africa (63.4), Botswana (60.5), Namibia (61), Zambia (57.1), Brazil (52.9), Bolivia (48.1), Colombia (53.5), Ecuador (47.3), and Guinea-Bissau (5.7).
The publication also found that income is held by the world’s richest 10%. Countries with high percentage shares of consumption or income that is accruing to the richest 10% include South Africa (51.3%), Brazil (40.5%), Zambia (44.4%), Guinea-Bissau (42%), Zambia (44.4%), Chile (38%), and Mexico (39.7%), among others.
On the other hand, a 2014 web survey involving 100,000 people in France found that Parisians consider two kisses the norm. This is not the common count of kissing in other countries though. In the Philippines, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia, for instance, one kiss is the standard. Just like France, two kisses are the standard in Brazil, Middle Eastern countries, Bosnia, Croatia, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain. Meanwhile, three kisses are the norm in the Netherlands, Serbia, Russia, Egypt, Switzerland, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Belgium.
Statista has likewise conducted a survey in the US for people 18 years old and above. They found that 67% of people kiss on a first date, 27% said no, while the remaining 5% prefer not to say. Toys and figurines manufacturer for retail and gift packaging Happy Worker shared that a typical French kiss moves 29 muscles in the face and a real kiss can quicken the pulse by up to 100 beats per minute.
The study conducted by the researchers from Abertay University is interesting as it highlighted the close interactions among partners, their romantic intimacy, regional differences, and their link to income inequality.