Mashek Co-creates Card Game for Couples

How well do you know your partner? You might know their favorite color, but what about their financial habits? What do they think about volunteering? How many kids do they want? In other words, do you know where you and your partner stand on the things that actually matter in a relationship?

Harvey Mudd College Associate Professor of Psychology Debra Mashek has lent her expertise on interpersonal relationships to a new card game designed to strengthen and improve romantic relationships. Designed by Mashek and former dating coach and neuroscientist Mel Malka “for couples who need to talk,” Lay Your Cards on the Table offers a fun and productive way for couples to engage in the important conversations they need to have to support successful and happy long-term relationships.

The game is simple. One partner in the couple flips over a prompt card and lays it on the table. Then, both partners reveal their response card. If answers are in agreement, the couple moves on. If not, the card is set aside for a later conversation. Currently the target of an ongoing Kickstarter campaign, the game set will include 200 prompt cards, 18 response cards and a few wild cards thrown in to surprise players (for example: one card might give you the option to avoid answering a prompt card or force your partner to answer first).

Mashek says she is delighted to contribute to this project, noting, “So often the science of relationships remains buried in the journals, essentially inaccessible to the millions of people in the world working hard to navigate the trials and tribulations of intimate relating. Lay Your Cards on the Table brings the science directly to couples by helping them talk about the things that really matter in relationships.”

Mashek’s research examines the many ways interpersonal closeness influences the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of romantic partners. She has published papers on topics such as feeling “too close” to intimate others, the neurological underpinnings of romantic love and long-term love. She directs the 5-C Collaborations Project, an initiative funded by the Teagle Foundation to increase curricular coherence among The Claremont Colleges.

Malka is a “neuroscientist-turned-entrepreneur-turned-ops-chief.” Prior to founding LoveLogic Labs, a “date-a science company,” Malka spent three years applying her knowledge of behavioral economics and cognitive psychology to researching and testing emotional intelligence practices. She was also a dating coach for three years. Mashek is the academic liaison to LoveLogic Labs.