relationships

‘Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike.’ –Madame de Staël

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The widely disseminated convergence in physical appearance hypothesis posits that long-term partners’ facial appearance converges with time due to their shared environment, emotional mimicry, and synchronized activities. Although plausible, this hypothesis is incompatible with empirical findings pertaining to a wide range of other traits—such as personality, intelligence, attitudes, values, and well-being—in which partners show initial similarity but do not converge over time.

We solve this conundrum by reexamining this hypothesis using the facial images of 517 couples taken at the beginning of their marriages and 20 to 69 years later. Using two independent methods of estimating their facial similarity (human judgment and a facial recognition algorithm), we show that while spouses’ faces tend to be similar at the beginning of marriage, they do not converge over time, bringing facial appearance in line with other personal characteristics.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

‘To succeed in the world we do everything we can to appear successful already.’ –La Rochefoucauld

Self-promotion is common in everyday life. Yet, across 8 studies (N = 1,687) examining a broad range of personal and professional successes, we find that individuals often hide their successes from others and that such hiding has relational costs. […]

Whereas previous research highlights the negative consequences of sharing one’s accomplishments with others, we find that sharing is superior to hiding for maintaining one’s relationships.

{ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | Continue reading }

‘Grow up, Raj. There’s no place for truth on the Internet.’ –The Big Bang Theory, s02e021

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{ The Dating Market: Thesis Overview | PDF }

Why is he smiling in this moment — during a question and answer regarding such a serious subject? A smile, when it’s out of context, is always telling.

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According to a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, you can come off as more persuasive by speaking slightly louder than you normally do, and by varying the overall volume of your voice (i.e., speaking both more loudly and softly). […] it will make you appear more confident when you speak, which has a positive impact on your overall persuasiveness, according to the study.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

If all else fails, retreat

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Participants (N = 140) were formed into opposite-sex dyads and interacted three times during their ‘date’ (first impression, verbal and nonverbal interaction).

Many of our findings were in line with previous research. Partner preferences seem to be in line with research; the Attractiveness Halo Effect occurred; participants were not accurate in guessing if they were liked by their partner; submissive behaviour reflected liking, sexual attraction and attraction to some degree, however results regarding affiliative behaviour contradicted previous research; only female sexual attraction is affected by submissive and affiliative behaviour; there is evidence that mimicry occurs; physiological synchrony affected females’ opinions, male date outcome and date outcome match.

These results suggest that most dating theories and concepts to a certain degree hold up in real-life contexts.

{ Psychologie | PDF }

And every dam had her seven crutches. And every crutch had its seven hues. And each hue had a differing cry.

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[S]ociologist Eva Illouz, in her 1997 book Consuming the Romantic Utopia, analyzes the trope of “the deserted beach”:

While the beach is primarily a construct of the tourist industry, in advertising it is detached from the crowded and highly commercialized vacation resorts. In fact, in advertisements beaches are invariably deserted.

Without the advertising clichés and conventions to frame our expectations, love itself would be incomprehensible. Illouz quotes an epigram of La Rochefoucauld’s: “There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing.” Presumably the problem with this is that such love that mimics the conventions is somehow inauthentic, or that we force what might have been an idiosyncratic and true love into false shapes that spoil it. Illouz suggests that modern romantic experience has a lot in common with tourist experiences: They are systematized in advance so that they may be readily desired, accessed, understood, consumed, disavowed.

{ Rob Horning/Real Life | Continue reading }

mirror and mdf { Monica Bonvicini, Same Old Shit, 2018 }

Ah, but she was the queer old skeowsha anyhow, Anna Livia, trinkettoes!

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Women and men perceived breasts in a similar way to each other: the bigger the breasts the higher the reproductive efficiency, lactational efficiency, sexual desire, and promiscuity attributed to the woman. Nevertheless, large breasts were not regarded more attractive than average ones, though small breasts were the least attractive. In addition, big-breasted women were perceived as less faithful and less intelligent than women with average or small breasts.

{ Archives of Sexual Behavior | Continue reading }

photo { Horace Roye, Nude #40, c. 1940 }

‘abolish all prisons especially my body.’ –@nomunnynohunny

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…DARPA’s Red Balloon Challenge in 2008, in which the United States government scattered 10 red weather balloons across the continental U.S., and instructed teams of researchers to locate them as fast as possible. The winning MIT team found all 10 balloons in just under nine hours using the virality of social media and an incentive structure that motivated people to recruit their friends. This result was a resounding success for crowdsourcing and the Internet at large, demonstrating that a collective of individuals, connected through technology, could together solve large-scale problems that no individual could solve alone.

This same team, however, struggled with other Internet-based forms for mass cooperation. During the 2011 DARPA Shredder Challenge, which involved recruiting and coordinating individuals on the Internet to collectively recombine shredded documents, people took advantage of the trust necessary for large-scale collaboration. Adversarial participants from the other teams, who felt the crowdsourcing essentially amounted to “cheating,” posed as volunteers and sabotaged the crowdsourcing effort, rendering cooperation impossible. Fast-forward five years, to the 2016 presidential election, and we see how this antagonism can be a serious problem for genuine collective action. Bad actors proliferated misinformation at such a rate that the New York Times declared, “The Internet trolls have won. Sorry, there’s not much you can do.”

So when do networks enable cooperation to thrive? And when do they hinder it? […] We decided to examine a different, extreme environment known for its ability to foster cooperation at a large scale: Burning Man.

{ Nautilus | Continue reading }

art { Diego Gravinese }

‘a girl whose boyfriend i fucked just posted a picture of herself with a girl who fucked MY ex boyfriend. what can it possibly mean’ –@nomunnynohunny

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{ A Guide to Heartbreak }

‘Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.’ –George Bernard Shaw

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Faces in general and attractive faces, in particular, are frequently used in marketing, advertising, and packaging design. However, few studies have examined the effects of attractive faces on people’s choice behavior.

The present research examines whether attractive (vs. unattractive) faces increase individuals’ inclination to choose either healthy or unhealthy foods. […]

exposure to attractive (vs. unattractive) opposite‐sex faces increased choice likelihood of unhealthy foods.

{ Psychology & Marketing | Continue reading }

offset lithograph / vinyl cover { Damien Hirst, Kate Moss — Use Money Cheat Death, 2009 | The record is a one-sided, white vinyl disc with a mainly monotonous beeping interrupted by what is purported to be Kate Moss’ voice in telephone call mode for about 30 seconds, then more beeping and finally Damien Hirst himself telling us that it’s okay for artists to earn money. }

‘Nothing brings you peace but the triumph of principles.’ –Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Suppose you live in a deeply divided society: 60% of people strongly identify with Group A, and the other 40% strongly identify with Group B. While you plainly belong to Group A, you’re convinced this division is bad: It would be much better if everyone felt like they belonged to Group AB. You seek a cohesive society, where everyone feels like they’re on the same team.

What’s the best way to bring this cohesion about? Your all-too-human impulse is to loudly preach the value of cohesion. But on reflection, this is probably counter-productive. When members of Group B hear you, they’re going to take “cohesion” as a euphemism for “abandon your identity, and submit to the dominance of Group A. ”None too enticing. And when members of Group A notice Group B’s recalcitrance, they’re probably going to think, “We offer Group B the olive branch of cohesion, and they spit in our faces. Typical.” Instead of forging As and Bs into one people, preaching cohesion tears them further apart.

What’s the alternative? Simple. Instead of preaching cohesion, reach out to Group B. Unilaterally show them respect.Unilaterally show them friendliness. They’ll be distrustful at first, but cohesion can’t be built in a day. 

{ The Library of Economics and Liberty | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen Shore, Queens, New York, April 1972 }

He that is thy friend indeed

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Friendships are fragile, and most aren’t built to last forever. Circumstances change, bonds diminish. That she and I made it through the better part of a decade was a feat. In 1999 and 2000, the Dutch sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst and his colleagues interviewed 1,007 people between the ages of 18 and 65 about the people they regularly talked to and spent time with. When they followed up seven years later with many of the participants, only about half of the friendships were still going.

The rules governing romantic love are clearer.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

enamel on steel, 987 plates { Jennifer Bartlett, Rhapsody, 1975-76 (detail) }