I have to ask you a big favor. I don’t know what else to do, so I am going to do what I would do if we had a real (rather than virtual) relationship: Beg for your help.As you may know, I am a researcher and scientist at the University of Arizona. I conduct research on relationships and, much of the time, relationship breakups. We have a new study that can enroll participants who live ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY. Here’s the problem: I can’t find a good way to get the word out about this study. As a result, we don’t have enough people.QUIZ: What’s Your Relationship Style?In the big scheme of things, this is a minor problem, I realize. My job here is to dispense advice about how you can improve your relationships. I am happy to do this. In fact, I’ve spoken with so many great folks as a result of this column that I am totally in love with connecting to you in this way.The problem is that I rely on research to keep this column going, and I am deeply committed to keeping research on relationships alive and well. Especially my own research!Here’s my pitch: We have a new study about how people cope with romantic breakups. People can enroll after a quick phone call with the study director (a graduate student, Lauren Lee, who works with me), then the rest of the study is online—completed from the comfort of your home, or a coffee shop, or with your iThingy, etc. Once a person gets rolling in our study, all they need is an internet connection and quiet space to respond.Who’s eligible? Anyone who is 18-25 years old who was involved in a romantic relationship (lasting longer than 6 months) that has ended with in the last few months is eligible to participate. Find out more here. Also, check out the Facebook page associated with this study.MORE: Beauty Your Way Through a BreakupWhat can you do to help? Well, if you’ve had a recent breakup, please consider participating. More likely, you know someone who has had a recent breakup, and the very best thing you could do would be to tell them about the study—point them to this column, the study website, or the study Facebook page.I would be truly grateful for your help.  In fact, you can consider participating and/or spreading the word about our study as a charitable donation. Not the kind you can write-off on your taxes!However, you would be donating your time and energy to help a cause—the cause of good science—that you feel is important. There’s some recent neuroscience research suggesting these kinds of charitable pursuits are associated with reward activity in your brain. Jorge Moll and colleagues conducted a neuroimaging study while people donated to real charitable organizations. Their primary finding was that charitable giving was associated with activity in brain reward systems (specifically, the dopamine-rich mesolimbic system), and that the activity in this brain reward system was similar to activity found when people receive monetary rewards. In this study, participants’ brains processed the rewards of giving in a manner similar to rewards of receiving.RESEARCH: Do Good, Feel HappierWill you receive any “mesolimbic” rewards for helping spread the word about our study? In all honesty, I have no idea, but we do need your help! Research tells us that giving can be as rewarding as receiving, and, at the end of the day, this is a very important lesson for understanding all of our relationships… real and virtual. If you can, help us spread the word about our study, but also tell me what you think about the giving/receiving findings on charitable donations. I’d love to hear from you on this topic, and I’d especially love if these findings are relevant to the success of your relationships.I will return advertisement-free in my next column!MORE: Exercise Your Way to Freedom After a Breakup Copyright David A. Sbarra, Ph.D., September 19, 2011