relationships

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

3542361.jpg

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

34.jpg

Stressful, busy days have been linked with increases in angry and withdrawn marital behavior.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

51.jpg

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

310.jpg

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 }

The metaphor of ‘the cloud’

41.jpg

First, they find that people who live in more densely populated areas tend to report less satisfaction with their life overall. “The higher the population density of the immediate environment, the less happy” the survey respondents said they were. Second, they find that the more social interactions with close friends a person has, the greater their self-reported happiness.

But there was one big exception. For more intelligent people, these correlations were diminished or even reversed. […]

“More intelligent individuals were actually less satisfied with life if they socialized with their friends more frequently.”

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

See problems as challenges, not threats

3.jpg

Because ovulating (i.e., high-fertility) women are both more attractive to men and also more attracted to (desirable) men, ovulating women may be perceived to pose heightened threats to other women’s romantic relationships. Across 4 experiments, partnered women were exposed to photographs of other women taken during either their ovulatory or nonovulatory menstrual-cycle phases, and consistently reported intentions to socially avoid ovulating (but not nonovulating) women - but only when their own partners were highly desirable. Exposure to ovulating women also increased women’s sexual desires for their (highly desirable) partners. These findings suggest that women can be sensitive to subtle cues of other women’s fertility and respond (e.g., via social exclusion, enhanced sexual attention to own mate) in ways that may facilitate their mate retention goals while not thwarting their affiliative goals.

{ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | Continue reading }

Using luteinizing hormone tests to verify ovulation, across two studies (Samples 1 and 2), we found that women whose partners were relatively low in sexual desirability felt less close to their partner (Samples 1 and 2) and were more critical of their partner’s faults (Sample 2) on high-fertility days of the cycle just prior to ovulation compared with low-fertility days of the cycle. Women whose partners were relatively high in sexual desirability felt closer to their partner (Sample 1) and more satisfied with their relationship (Sample 2) on high- than low-fertility days of the cycle. There were no such shifts in women’s commitment to their relationship. Therefore, partner sexual desirability predicts women’s high-fertility assessments of relationship quality but not their intentions to stay in their relationship, consistent with the dual mating hypothesis. These findings suggest that variations across the ovulation cycle in women’s reproductive hormones play an important role in relationship dynamics.

{ Hormones and Behavior | PDF }

images { 1. Frederike Helwig | 2. Bonnie and Clyde (1967), publicity still, Faye Dunaway }

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking because a line of attack didn’t work at first that it isn’t effective. Repetition is key.

31.jpg

When leaning forward to kiss to a romantic partner, individuals tend to direct their kiss to the right more often than the left. Studies have consistently demonstrated this kissing asymmetry, although other factors known to influence lateral biases, such as sex or situational context, had yet to be explored. The primary purpose of our study was to investigate if turning direction was consistent between a romantic (parent-parent) and parental (parent-child) kissing context, and secondly, to examine if sex differences influenced turning bias between parent-child kissing partners. […]

The results indicated that the direction of turning bias differed between kissing contexts. A right-turn bias was observed for romantic kissing; a left-turn bias was exhibited for parental kissing. There was no significant difference of turning bias between any parent-child kissing partners. Interpretations for the left-turn bias discuss parental kissing as a learned lateral behavior.

{ Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition | Continue reading }

publicity still { Joe Dallesandro and Sylvia Miles in Heat (1972) }

‘To love is probably the furthest possible.’ –Georges Bataille

7.jpg

Passion and sexual satisfaction typically diminish in longer-term relationships, but this decline is not inevitable. We identified the attitudes and behaviors that most strongly differentiated sexually satisfied from dissatisfied men and women who had been together for at least three years (N = 38,747). […]

The vast majority of these participants reported being satisfied with their sex lives during their first six months together (83% W; 83% M).

Satisfaction with their current sex lives was more variable, with approximately half of participants reporting overall satisfaction (55% W; 43% M) and the rest feeling neutral (18% W; 16% M) or dissatisfied (27% W; 41% M).

More than one in three respondents (38% W; 32% M) claimed their sex lives were as passionate now as in the beginning. Sexual satisfaction and maintenance of passion were higher among people who had sex most frequently, received more oral sex, had more consistent orgasms, and incorporated more variety of sexual acts, mood setting, and sexual communication.

{ Journal of Sex Research }

collage { Joseph Staples, At first you may only be able to progress this far, 2012 }

related { Those who sent romantic emails were more emotionally aroused and used stronger and more thoughtful language than those who left voicemails }

‘Your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.’ –Shakespeare

81.jpg

Anyone we could marry would, of course, be a little wrong for us. It is wise to be appropriately pessimistic here. Perfection is not on the cards. Unhappiness is a constant. Nevertheless, one encounters some couples of such primal, grinding mismatch, such deep-seated incompatibility, that one has to conclude that something else is at play beyond the normal disappointments and tensions of every long-term relationship: some people simply shouldn’t be together.

{ The Book of Life | Continue reading }

art { Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982 }

related { Women Like Being Valued for Sex, as Long as it is by a Committed Partner }

Once more, on pain of death, all men depart

42.jpg

The Sorrows of Young Werther was published in 1774, when Goethe (1749–1832) was just twenty-five years old. A product of true literary genius, it not only represents one of the greatest works of literature ever written, but it also offers keenly intuitive insight into one of the most terrible and mystifying emotional disorders that plague humankind.

Well before Sigmund Freud, and most probably destined to become an important source of Freud’s understanding of melancholic depression, Goethe was able to peer into the soul of those afflicted with what is now termed Major Depressive Disorder (and some forms of Bipolar Disorder) and see what is taking place within those who are suffering from it. It is impressive how clearly Goethe grasped the twin roles played in mel-ancholia of narcissistic object choice and extreme ambivalence toward a love object.

{ The Psychoanalytic Quarterly | PDF }

What part of NO don’t you understand?

imp-kerr-no.jpg

Facial hair, like many masculine secondary sexual traits, plays a significant role in perceptions of an array of sociosexual traits in men.

While there is consensus that beards enhance perceptions of masculinity, age, social dominance, and aggressiveness, the perceived attractiveness of facial hair varies greatly across women.

Given the ease with which facial hair can be groomed and removed entirely, why should some men retain beards and others choose to remove them?

We hypothesized that men with relatively sexist attitudes would be more likely to allow their facial hair to grow than men with less sexist attitudes. […] Men from the USA (n = 223) and India (n = 309) […] Men with facial hair were significantly higher in hostile sexism than clean-shaven men; hostile sexism was a significant predictor of facial hair status.

{ Archives of Sexual Behavior | Continue reading }

Did they ever tell Constau

48.jpg

Many of our errors, the researchers found, stem from a basic mismatch between how we analyze ourselves and how we analyze others. When it comes to ourselves, we employ a fine-grained, highly contextualized level of detail. When we think about others, however, we operate at a much higher, more generalized and abstract level. For instance, when answering the same question about ourselves or others — how attractive are you? — we use very different cues. For our own appearance, we think about how our hair is looking that morning, whether we got enough sleep, how well that shirt matches our complexion. For that of others, we form a surface judgment based on overall gist. So, there are two mismatches: we aren’t quite sure how others are seeing us, and we are incorrectly judging how they see themselves.

If, however, we can adjust our level of analysis, we suddenly appear much more intuitive and accurate. In one study, people became more accurate at discerning how others see them when they thought their photograph was going to be evaluated a few months later, as opposed to the same day, while in another, the same accuracy shift happened if they thought a recording they’d made describing themselves would be heard a few months later. Suddenly, they were using the same abstract lens that others are likely to use naturally.

{ Maria Konnikova, The Confidence Game | Continue reading }