Why love has wings and sex has not: how reminders of love and sex influence creative and analytic thinking

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2009 Nov;35(11):1479-91. doi: 10.1177/0146167209342755. Epub 2009 Aug 18.


This article examines cognitive links between romantic love and creativity and between sexual desire and analytic thought based on construal level theory. It suggests that when in love, people typically focus on a long-term perspective, which should enhance holistic thinking and thereby creative thought, whereas when experiencing sexual encounters, they focus on the present and on concrete details enhancing analytic thinking. Because people automatically activate these processing styles when in love or when they experience sex, subtle or even unconscious reminders of love versus sex should suffice to change processing modes. Two studies explicitly or subtly reminded participants of situations of love or sex and found support for this hypothesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Attention
  • Awareness
  • Creativity*
  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Libido
  • Love*
  • Male
  • Object Attachment
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Problem Solving*
  • Sex*
  • Subliminal Stimulation
  • Thinking*
  • Unconscious, Psychology
  • Young Adult