woensdag 30 december 2015

To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This

The NY Times has a piece about falling in love ("To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This"). It builds on research by the psychologist Arthur Aron more than 20 years ago to let two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. The candidates have to sit opposite each other and ask each other 36 questions of increasing emotional intensity. After that they have to look each other 4 minutes in the eye. It is a quick way to build an emotional connection. And it seems to work - at least sometimes...

woensdag 16 december 2015

Are religious kids more selfish?

A scientific research discussed at Salon: Are kids from religious backgrounds really more selfish than their nonreligious peers?. Quote: Here’s the zinger: according to Decety and his colleagues, kids from more religious households are less altruistic, and more apt to deal out punishment, than kids from non-religious households. Corollary zinger: on the punishment front, Muslim kids are even more vindictive than Christians. The article is critical of this claim and comes with a whole series of arguments, such as the artificialness of the situation, the difficulty to define religiousness and the question whether you can generalize this experiment beyond its setting. I doubt those explanations. My guess would be that this has to do with group strength. People have only a certain amount of altruism. And when they are in a strong group they will spend more of that altruism inside the group and less outside. Religions bind people in strong groups. And that applies even more to minority religions like Islam and Judaism.

zondag 13 december 2015


In Your iPhone Is Ruining Your Posture — and Your Mood the effect of iHunching is discussed. In fact, there appears to be a linear relationship between the size of your device and the extent to which it affects you: the smaller the device, the more you must contract your body to use it, and the more shrunken and inward your posture, the more submissive you are likely to become. Ironically, while many of us spend hours every day using small mobile devices to increase our productivity and efficiency, interacting with these objects, even for short periods of time, might do just the opposite, reducing our assertiveness and undermining our productivity. Finally, the next time you reach for your phone, remember that it induces slouching, and slouching changes your mood, your memory and even your behavior. Your physical posture sculpts your psychological posture, and could be the key to a happier mood and greater self-confidence.