You’d never know it from the way he engages an audience, but well-known relationship scientist Tim Loving experiences social anxiety. For him, facing 150 pairs of eyes in a classroom can be daunting.
Luckily, Loving once had a role model of a professor who strived to be himself always in the classroom. Loving now tries to do the same. That means, for instance, pacing and wandering the room as he speaks. “I go where my mind takes me,” he says.
It’s to the benefit of thousands of students that Loving manages to teach.
As a prominent relationship researcher, Loving lectures on subjects like attraction, love, and parenthood. He applies science and research to these most personal—and universal—of topics.
“Having knowledge about the processes people go through,” he says, “makes them better prepared to navigate them. There’s a science behind what’s going on here.”
Balancing teaching and publishing can be tough for an expert often quoted on TV and in the paper, but Loving’s solution is to let his research infuse his lessons.
He also takes his work public. He and a few fellow scientists recently launched ScienceOfRelationships.com, a resource not only for students, but also for anyone seeking solid, research-based relationship insight.
“Part of the trick is to try to keep as much research as possible in your teaching,” Loving says. “That way the two hats inform one another.”
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Kay Gresham Szabo: