Date of Award


Document Type


Committee Chair

Ivelina Naydenova


The purpose of this project is to examine the effect that relationship status, gender, and interaction with the opposite sex has on nervous system arousal and spatial ability. In the first experiment, 20 female participants were selected, 10 being in a committed relationship and 10 being single. Spatial ability and heart rate was measured for each participant before and after mixed-sex dyadic interactions. Results showed that a person’s relationship status does indeed have an effect on nervous system arousal after a mixed-sex dyadic interaction. In experiment two, 25 participants were studied, 13 participants were male and 12 were female. 7 males and 5 females were single and 6 males and 7 females were in a committed relationship. Spatial ability and heart rate for each participant was measured before and after mixed-sex dyadic interactions. Results showed that if a person is in a committed relationship, he or she will score significantly higher on spatial awareness intelligence. However, the results showed no significant difference in their nervous system arousal or spatial ability after interacting with the opposite sex. The descriptive statistics were in the hypothesized direction, showing that males outperform females on spatial ability tasks and males show a decrease in cognitive functioning after interaction with the opposite sex. Our two experiments broadly support extant research. More research should be conducted on a larger scale in order to examine this subject.