Academics

#030

THE EXPERIMENTAL GENERATION OF INTERPERSONAL CLOSENESS: A PROCEDURE AND SOME PRELIMINARY FINDINGS
Arthur Aron et al., 1997.

For some reason, I didn’t write here for a long while. After moving back from Tokyo to Paris, I finished writing my final thesis and now I have to prepare my presentation. But I feel a little bored. It’s not like I’m really researching anything new. I’m just reading what I should have read for my thesis and trying to find the courage to face my advisor. Many things are and will change in my life in the next few months and I have to be ready for that.

To talk a little bit about today’s link, I was talking about “falling in love” with people you barely know with friends and we naturally came to talk about the article that came out in the NY Times, about 36 magic questions that can make you fall in love with anyone. One of my friends told me she actually read the original scientific paper so I decided to look for it. I don’t know if it’s because it was published in 1997, but it’s easy to get access to it. I just started reading it, but I already have a comment to make. Why do journalists always say things they want to say?! The actual paper is not about “falling in love”; it is about creating “interpersonal closeness”. I guess it would attract more readers to say “how to fall in love with 36 questions”, but it’s still not very okay to say things that are not accurate. The experiment is about creating intimacy between people, not love.

But I find it interesting that by sharing some very intimate information about yourself, sometimes through questions you’ve certainly never asked yourself (the list of questions is here), you can actually become so close that you feel some emotions flowing between you and your partner. Well, you also have to look in your partner’s eyes for four long minutes, without saying a word. But the whole experiment is around 45 minutes long. The feelings created by it generally do not last (although one couple of the study got married!?), but it is still impressive. Then, I think that the fact that the subjects of the study know what the study is for, they might also create this closeness because they think that is what the researcher wants to find. Love and placebo effect? It would still be interesting to try those questions with a stranger. For the sake of science.

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Listening to : BIGBANG – Bang Bang Bang

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