Didn’t they tell you that I was a savage? Fuck your white horse and a carriage.


Recently, experimental psychologists at Oxford University explored the function of kissing in romantic relationships.

Surprise! It’s complicated.

After conducting an online survey with 308 men and 594 women, mostly from North America and Europe, who ranged in age from 18 to 63, the researchers have concluded that kissing may help people assess potential mates and then maintain those relationships.

“The repurposing of the behavior is very efficient,” said Rafael Wlodarski, a doctoral candidate and lead author of the study, published in Archives of Sexual Behavior.

But another hypothesis about kissing — that its function is to elevate sexual arousal and ready a couple for coitus — didn’t hold up. While that might be an outcome, researchers did not find sexual arousal to be the primary driver for kissing. […]

The participants generally rated kissing in casual relationships as most important before sex, less important during sex, even less important after sex and least important “at other times.” (To clarify: researchers defined kissing as “on the lips or open-mouth (French).”)

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

with his halluxes so splendid


Revisiting Depression Contagion […] A Speed-Dating Study.

After four minutes of interaction with partners with high levels of depressive symptoms, participants did not experience increased negative affect; instead, they experienced reduced positive affect, which led to the rejection of these partners.

{ Clinical Psychological Science | Continue reading }

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


{ Apple consumption is related to better sexual quality of life in young women | PDF }

photo { Carla van de Puttelaar }

‘To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.’ —Nietzsche


Many laboratory experiments show that people are often altruistic or care for fairness. We present data that reveal a darker side of human nature. We introduce the joy-of-destruction game. Two players each receive an endowment and simultaneously decide on how much of the other player’s endowment to destroy. Subjects play this game repeatedly. In one treatment, subjects can hide their destruction behind random destruction. In this treatment, money is destroyed in almost 40% of all decisions. We attribute this behavior to a visceral pleasure of being nasty. Under full information destruction is also observed, but rare. In this treatment, acts of destruction are followed by immediate retaliation.

{ Faculty of Economics and Management Magdeburg | PDF }

‘We may also attack simply to become aware of our own strength.’ —Nietzsche


We found that women experience more jealousy toward women with cosmetics, and view these women as more attractive to men and more promiscuous.

{ Perception | Continue reading }

photo { Bon Jane }

It looks like this meeting is for informational purposes. Would it be possible to get a summary sent out rather than convening a meeting?


Age and gender are two important factors that play crucial roles in the way organisms allocate their social effort. In this study, we analyse a large mobile phone dataset to explore the way life history influences human sociality and the way social networks are structured. Our results indicate that these aspects of human behaviour are strongly related to age and gender such that younger individuals have more contacts and, among them, males more than females. However, the rate of decrease in the number of contacts with age differs between males and females, such that there is a reversal in the number of contacts around the late 30s. […]

The maximum number of connections for both males and females occurs at the age of around 25. During this early phase, males appear to be more connected than females. After this, the number of alters decreases steadily for both genders, although the decrease is faster for males than for females. The different rates of decrease result in a crossover around the age of 39 such that after 39 females become more connected than males.

{ Royal Society Open Science | Continue reading }

Ode to joy


To fall in love feels like such a personal and spontaneous process, it is strange — and a bit insulting — to suggest that we’re only copying what the novels and the movies tell us to do. However, the differences in how people have loved throughout history suggest that our style of loving is to a significant extent determined by what the prevailing environment dictates. In certain eras, we’ll swoon at the sight of the beloved’s ankle; in others, we’ll coldly put romanticism aside for the sake of dynastic or practical concerns. We learn how to love by copying a range of more or less subtle cues emitted by our culture. Or, as that brilliant observer of human foibles, François de La Rochefoucauld, wickedly put it: “There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing.”

Crucially, over the centuries, the most important factor to have shaped how we love is art. It is through novels, poems, songs and, latterly, films that we have acquired our ideas about what aspects of our feelings we should value and where our emotional emphases should fall.

This is unfortunate. […]

We may break up with our partners or feel romantically cursed because we have been systematically exposed to the wrong sorts of love stories.

{ FT | Continue reading }

In two studies, the authors examined the projection of romantic and sexual desire in opposite-sex friendships. In both studies, perceivers who strongly desired their friends projected this desire onto their friends, believing that their desire was more reciprocated than was actually the case.

{ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin | Continue reading }

‘I experimented with marijuana a time or two and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale.’ —Bill Clinton


Most of us think that friendship is a two-way street — but that’s true only half the time, according to research from Tel Aviv University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Their new joint study says only half of your friends would consider you their own friend. People have a very poor perception of friendship ties, and this limits their ability to influence their “friends,” according to the research, published in PLoS One on March 22, 2016.

If researchers can understand this limitation, companies and social groups that depend on social influence for collective action, information dissemination and product promotion could improve their strategies and interventions.

“It turns out that we’re very bad at judging who our friends are,” says Dr. Erez Shmueli, who conducted the study with Dr. Laura Radaelli, both of TAU’s Department of Industrial Engineering, in collaboration with Prof. Alex Pentland and Abdullah Almatouq of MIT. “And our difficulty determining the reciprocity of friendship significantly limits our ability to engage in cooperative arrangements.”

{ Tel Aviv University | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Kei Imazu, Berlin 1943-1945, 2014 }

Lift your head up high, and scream out to the world, I know I am someone


The tendency of people to forge friendships with people of a similar appearance has been noted since the time of Plato. But now there is research suggesting that, to a striking degree, we tend to pick friends who are genetically similar to us in ways that go beyond superficial features.

For example, you and your friends are likely to share certain genes associated with the sense of smell.

Our friends are as similar to us genetically as you’d expect fourth cousins to be, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This means that the number of genetic markers shared by two friends is akin to what would be expected if they had the same great-great-great-grandparents. […]

The resemblance is slight, just about 1 percent of the genetic markers, but that has huge implications for evolutionary theory.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

polyvinyl chloride, colored with oil, mixed technique and accessories { Duane Hanson, Children Playing Game, 1979 }

‘The trust in life is gone: life itself has become a problem. Yet one should not jump to the conclusion that this necessarily makes one gloomy. Even love of life is still possible, only one loves differently.’ —Nietzsche


Stressful, busy days have been linked with increases in angry and withdrawn marital behavior. The process by which stressors in one domain, such as work, affect an individual’s behavior in another domain, such as the marital relationship, is known as spillover.

{ Journal of Family Psychology | Continue reading }

‘When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.’ —Nietzsche


Theory of Mind (ToM) is the ability to understand the perspectives, mental states and beliefs of others in order to anticipate their behaviour and is therefore crucial to social interactions.

Although fMRI has been widely used to establish the neural networks implicated in ToM, little is known about the timing of ToM-related brain activity.

We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure the neural processes underlying ToM, as MEG provides very accurate timing and excellent spatial localization of brain processes. We recorded MEG activity during a false belief task, a reliable measure of ToM, in twenty young adults (10 females). […]

Our findings extend the literature by demonstrating the timing and duration of neural activity in the main regions involved in the “mentalizing” network, showing that activations related to false belief in adults are predominantly right lateralized and onset around 100 ms.

{ NeuroImage | Continue reading }

still { Total Recall, 1990 }

Excuse me but I need a mouth like yours


Consuming alcohol, for example, really can make everyone else appear more physically attractive. […]

Also, playing hard-to-get almost never works. […]

Despite what many people think, opposites very rarely attract. In fact, decades of research has shown that attraction is most likely to be sparked when two people perceive themselves as being very similar to each other.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }