Does Thinking About Dating Make Dating Worse? The Science!
By Heath Shive
We teach children that imagination is a good thing.
But imagination is not automatically good. We can imagine good things. We can imagine terrible things.
We can imagine scenarios that make us feel like losers or failures. We can imagine scenarios that paint us as sexy or invincible.
Imagination is never real...yet despite this, we tend to identify with whatever we imagine.
Baltasar Gracian - a 17th-century Jesuit & author of The Art of Worldly Wisdom - wrote that we need to discipline imagination. Gracian writes: "Of all things she (imagination) is capable, if not held in check by the wisest of wills."
And science agrees!
How do you imagine yourself...as a date? As a lover?
To the science!
Love Is An Anchor?
In psychology, an anchor is an idea that sets the tone for subsequent thoughts. If you think about how bad your day is going, all other thoughts will be influenced.
In 1988, psychologists Fritz Strack, Leonard Martin, and Norbert Schwarz performed an anchoring experiment on the subject of romance.
In the experiment, college students were asked 2 questions: (1) How happy are you? (2) How often are you dating?
When the questions were asked in that order, the correlation between the answers was low (0.11).
But when the experimenters asked the dating question first, the correlation increased dramatically to 0.62!
In other words, if first you were reminded that you are not dating often, then you subsequently thought you were miserable in general.
The experimenters had similar results when they asked married couples about how often they made love.
Be Mindful of Your Thoughts
We have been taught that imagination is without limits! But in fact, imagination is limited. Psychological anchors narrow the scope of thoughts and imaginings.
The vast majority of humanity is not dating or making love very often! Your romantic life is just 1 color in the tapestry of your existence. Let's say you have 10 aspects to your life, 1 of which is romance. If you are doing well in the other 9 aspects, then 90% is pretty damn good!
The more you think about your love life, the more it sets the tone for other thoughts. But your thoughts are not the same as your life!
Your life is a reality. Your thoughts are just your imagination.
And as Gracian wrote, we must discipline our imagination with "the wisest of wills."
Strack, Fritz, L. L. Martin, and Norbert Schwaz. "Priming and Communication: The Social Determinants of Information Use in Judgments of Life-Satisfaction." European Journal of Social Psychology 18 (1988): 429-42.
"Nice Guys" Don't Finish Last: Narcissists Take Time to Fail
By Heath Shive
Feeling sorry for yourself on the dating scene? You see her (the her you’ve been looking at all night, all month, all year) and she’s with a jerk.
“Guess women love a**holes,” guys say.
“Nice guys finish last,” people say.
Well…no. She doesn’t like jerks any more than you do. The psychological problem that we all share is that it is difficult to spot a narcissist at first.
To the science!
A Closer Look at First Sight
In 2011, psychologists Mitja Back, Stefan Schmukle, and Boris Egloff performed a study on the first impressions that popular people make. They gathered 73 college students on their first day of class (so that they didn’t know each other). All the students had to introduce themselves individually in front of the class. Immediately after this introduction, the rest of the class evaluated the student (no pressure!).
Then, each student had to fill out a questionnaire at home which determined whether the student’s personality was – among other things – self-centered (narcissist) or self-transcendent (nice).
The most popular people in the class were of 2 types: extraverts and the self-centered. Extraverts were considered popular because they were seen as more fashionable, more self-assured, had a friendly facial expression, strong voice, and an original introduction.
Self-centered people were popular for the exact same reasons!
Perhaps at first, we can be attracted to self-centered people not because they are self-centered, but because they superficially seem to be like extraverts!
But whereas extraverts genuinely like other people, self-centered people view others as being inferior.
But Sooner or Later
In 1998, psychologist Delroy Paulhus performed a study on narcissists involving 124 college students. The students were tested to determine which ones were narcissists. All the students were divided into groups which met weekly to perform an assigned task that would allow a variety of personality traits to come to the surface. After each meeting, the students evaluated each other.
At the end of the 1st meeting, the narcissists were considered intelligent, confident, and entertaining. The group seemed to enjoy their presence. But by the 2nd meeting, things began to change and narcissists were seen to be hostile and tending to brag. By the 7th meeting, narcissists were not liked at all.
But non-self-enhancers (nice people) were able to sustain positive attributes across the 7 weeks!
“Nice guys” don’t finish last, but narcissists take time to fail.
So if you see her with a jerk, she just might not know him very well…yet.
And to be honest, do you really know her?
LIKE SCHOLARFOX ON FACEBOOK!
Back, M.D., Schmukle, S. C., & Egloff, B. (2010b). A closer look at first sight: Social relations lens model analysis of personality and interpersonal attraction at zero acquaintance. European Journal of Personality. 3, 225-238.
Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Interpersonal and intrapsychic adaptiveness of trait self-enhancement: A mixed blessing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1197-1208.
The Apostrophe: How Even English-Speakers Can't Agree on Grammar...or the Death Penalty
By Heath Shive
In 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled on the case of Kansas v. Marsh.
The court ruled on the legal question of whether it was constitutional to execute in cases where the aggravating factors and mitigating factors were equipoise (or balanced out).
Aggravating circumstances are factors that merit a stiffer penalty. For example, spousal abuse is against the law, but if the spousal abuse is witnessed by children, then the penalty is a stiffer sentence.
Mitigating factors are factors that diminish severity. Shooting an unarmed person is against the law, but if the person was beating you mercilessly, then the severity of the sentence could be diminished.
So if mitigating factors are equal to aggravating factors, could a death penalty still be imposed?
Important legal stuff!
But let's look at the Supreme Court's grammar instead.
To the grammar!
The Supreme Court's Opinion...on the Apostrophe
Attorney Jonathan Starble reviewed Kansas v. Marsh from a grammatical point of view.
When reading the various opinions of the Justices, Starble noted that some Justices used the apostrophe in different ways.
When Justice Thomas wrote about the case, Thomas repeatedly wrote of the law as Kansas' statute. Since Kansas was a singular noun that ended with the letter s, there was not a second s following the apostrophe.
However, Justice Souter started his dissenting opinion with: "Kansas's capital sentencing statute provides..."
So Souter used the letter s after the apostrophe.
Furthermore, the (late) Justice Scalia wrote a separate opinion where he also wrote of Kansas's statute. Scalia also added 's when he wrote the words Ramos's and witness's.
However, Scalia did not add an extra s in the words Stevens', Adams', and Tibbs'.
Starble noted that the other Justices followed the style of Thomas (grammatically, at least) and wrote Kansas'.
The Official Grammatical Rule
There is none (it seems)!
For example, Starble noted that in A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, the letter s should follow the apostrophe in all singular nouns except for Biblical or classical names (for example, Jesus' or Socrates').
But according to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab, the 's should be added to singular possessive nouns, even when they end in s - for example, in James's.
For that matter, the Purdue OWL also adds the 's after plural nouns (like children's or geese's), but not when the plural noun ends with s - as in the cats' toys or the countries' laws.
On behalf of students of the English language everywhere: AGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!
So as best as I can discover, the rule is this: add 's to every possessive noun, except to plural nouns that end in s already.
Every Justice on the Supreme Court is very educated. Each of them is a legend in the field of law.
Yet even great Justices can't agree on grammatical rules.
Starble noted that the Justices were implicitly in favor 's in a 7-2 split. Incidentally, the Justices voted in favor of the death penalty in a 5-4 vote in Kansas v. Marsh.
If I were King of the English-speaking World, I would change this rule.
Wait, no! If I were King of the English-speaking World, I would first be a hedonistic tyrant who squashed all opposition.
But afterwards, my royal edict would change the grammatical rule to: add 's to all possessive nouns, singular or plural. Then at last, there would be uniformity - not only for native English-speakers, but for all the damned who are learning the English language all over the world.
And don't get me started on who versus whom.
LIKE SCHOLARFOX ON FACEBOOK!
Hello! My name is Heath Shive, content manager at ScholarFox. I'll be the author of most of the blog posts. I'm a former geologist and currently a freelance writer. The world is complex and seemingly crazy. Good! Because when you love to learn, you'll never be bored.