Handholding sooths, says UVA psych study

It’s a question that has confounded men throughout the ages: what’s the best way to comfort my wife? Flowers? Understanding conversation? Diamonds? A shopping spree? Well, a new scientific study has the answer: handholding.

University of Virginia psychologist Jim Coan tested the brains of 16 wives to see if handholding with their husbands calmed their nerves. Using magnetic resonance imaging, Coan administered a mild but threatening electrical shock to the women’s brains, then measured brain activity when they held their husband’s hand and that of a stranger. According to Coan, wives experienced “immediate relief” from stress when holding their beloved’s hand. The study also noted that women with healthier marriages were soothed even more.