Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

How to Rekindle Your Relationship

Great tip from Wired magazine’s November 2011 edition:

Rekindle Your Relationship

Sooner or later, most relationships fall into a rut. Advice abounds on how to spice things up (cue the furry handcuffs). But the scientifically vetted solution for making sparks fly is much simpler, says Arthur Aron, a psychology professor at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Aron set up an experiment in which couples roll a ball across a room toward each other, which they did with ease. He assigned other couples a similar task but with their hands and feet tied. Afterward, Aron asked everyone to complete questionnaires on how much they loved their partners. The bound couples reported being much more smitten than the unfettered ones, whose task was easier.

No, this doesn’t take us back to furry handcuffs. The moral of Aron’s experiment is actually this: Take on a new challenge and the excitement of tackling it will rub off on your relationship. “That exhilarating feeling may come from another source, but it’s still associated with your partner,” says Aron, who theorizes this happens because of brain chemistry. “When people fall in love, they get activation in the dopamine system,” he says. Novel or exciting pursuits also stimulate the brain to pump out more dopamine. Aron theorizes that even playing videogames together may draw a couple closer. (Who knew Grand Theft Auto could help your love life?)

One easy way to put this wisdom to work is to shake up date night, suggests Aron, who conducted another experiment in which he asked couples to spend 90 minutes a week doing unfamiliar activities like rock climbing or taking Italian lessons. Ten weeks later, when these couples filled out a questionnaire about how they felt about each other, they scored much higher than couples who had stuck to familiar date nights like dinner and a movie. Problema risolto!—Judy Dutton


January 5, 2012 Posted by | lifehack | | Leave a comment

How to Find a Soul Mate

Great tip from Wired magazine’s November 2011 edition:

There’s a probabilistic approach to finding the love of your life, and it even has a name: satisficing, a combination of satisfy and suffice. OK, technically, satisficing refers to getting a good enough outcome when you’re lacking complete information about your options. But isn’t dating like that? According to Peter Todd, professor of informatics and cognitive science at Indiana University, the question always comes down to this: “Do you keep searching and hope something better will come along, or do you stop searching when you find something that looks pretty good?”

In the face of this conundrum, the best strategy for picking a mate is to date enough people to establish some baseline standards, then settle down with the next person you meet who exceeds the bar. According to Todd, you should have a baseline after dating roughly 12 people. He’s dubbed this theory the Twelve-Bonk Rule, and it can also be applied to picking the right employee or choosing a home. So, if you’ve dated fewer than 12 people, you should feel free to keep looking. If you’ve had 30 relationships, odds are you’re being too picky. Quit obsessing over your new paramour’s dorky laugh.—Judy Dutton

January 5, 2012 Posted by | lifehack | , , | Leave a comment

How to navigate a crowd

Great tips from Wired magazine’s November 2011 edition:

Navigate a Crowd

Exiting a concert or ball game seems to take far longer than entering one. But because crowds can be highly predictable, it’s possible to outsmart the masses. Walk this way.—Katharine Gammon

Aim for the outside
The outer edges of crowds generally move faster than the sludgy middle of the pack. A researcher in London studied such so-called edge effects by making videos of groups of people squeezing through corridors of various sizes. Sure enough, people tended to move faster along the walls. Other studies suggest why: People start bumping into each other when crowd density reaches around 7 to 10 square feet per person—something that usually happens in the denser middle area—and that jams the flow.

Take the express lane
People naturally form lines when walking in crowds. It’s generally good to stay in one of these lines rather than race ahead, which might force others to put on the brakes. “There’s a lot of self-organization in crowds, but the problems come when people transition from a flow to stop-and-go—then things get turbulent” says Dirk Helbing, who studies social behavior at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Look ahead
One of the best ways to navigate through a crowd is to lead with your eyes: Look directly ahead, which allows others to see clearly where you want to go. If you keep your gaze fixed, others will instinctively get out of the way. Finnish researchers found that people register cues from others’ eyes, not body position, to avoid head-on collisions.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | lifehack | | Leave a comment