Oct 23, 2007

Where were you?

According to an article in the New York Times, a majority of cell phones on the market today now allow a user to be monitored using GPS tracking.

Is your spouse truly stuck in traffic?
Is your friend really running late for dinner?

Thanks to GPS tracking devices embedded in cell phones, you can now see (monitor) exactly where your friends and loved ones are at all times.

Luckily, the technology allows individuals to determine who can track their movements. Add your friends to the list of people who can track your location, but block your mom from doing so.

However, how do you explain to your new romantic interest that you don't necessarily feel like being tracked?

I have a feeling that this new technology will not only lead to the loss of privacy, but it will also add another wrinkle to the dating scene.

If you didn't like dealing with questions such as "where were you?" - how much more fun will it be to deal with the following: "If you have nothing to hide, why don't you add me to your track list?"

Related Articles:

  • Using GPS devices to track the elderly, children, and bank robbers...

Oct 16, 2007

What's the gossip all about?

A new study on the role of gossip was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A reader friendly description of the study was also published at LiveScience.

The key finding: gossip has a powerful impact on our perception... we tend to believe what we hear about others.

While people downplay the role of gossip ("I hate gossip"), it actually serves a very important function. Without gossip, which everyone does from time to time, cooperation and group living would be impossible.

When animals live in groups, some system for maintaining a hierarchy and social accountability is required. In humans, gossiping allows us to maintain and establish "reputation effects" - making social life possible.

As everyone knows, gossiping isn't always accurate, but without a system for identifying loafers and cheaters - trust could easily be exploited making cooperation impossible to achieve.

What are the topics we are most likely to gossip about? Taking advantage of others, cheating, not playing by the rules, and sexual behavior. Just the really important things in life.

And if your interested in reading more about gossip, the New York Times has a great article on the topic.

Oct 14, 2007

It's ok to play the game, as long as you don't get caught

Reading the papers in the past few weeks has been very interesting.

To begin with, an article in the New York Times covered the story of a 25 year old, “spectacularly beautiful” woman, who posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a husband who made at least $500,000 a year, because “$250,000 won’t get me to Central Park West.”

As her ad gained attention online, one gentleman responded to the economic exchange underlying her ad (i.e., let’s swap my good looks for your money) by pointing out that her proposal was inequitable. To quote: “In economic terms, you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset…. Your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity.”

In many people’s eyes, neither one of the two came off looking very good. For the most part, the woman was viewed as being a “gold digger” while he was viewed as being “sexist.”

On the other hand, there was little reaction to another article in the New York Times which conveyed the same message, but in a much more subtle manner. This article describes the growing problem of women in their early 20s who are making more money than the men they are dating. According to the article, a disparity in income is a problem for couples when women earn more than their boyfriends.

Finally, an article in the Las Vegas Sun describes a new study which shows that strippers earn significantly more money when they are ovulating than at any other time during the month. Apparently, women somehow signal their fertility which causes men to compete for their attention by offering up more of their cold-hard cash.

What’s the point of these stories, if there is one? There is always element of exchange underlying our attraction to each other. But, being explicit about it doesn’t make you more attractive to others.

Oct 5, 2007

Interesting Blog on the Experience of Infidelity and Divorce

I ran across an interesting blog for women who are going through the experience of divorce.

The purpose of the blog, the divorce darlings, is to provide a creative outlet for anyone who has gone through, or is going through, or might go through the complicated experience that is divorce.

I think that reading the divorce darlings would also be useful for people who are going through the experience of getting engaged. Unfortunately, people who tend to idealize romance, love and marriage, often end up broken hearted.

Holding realistic expectations about relationships, tends to make them more bearable.

Oct 2, 2007

Words Can Wound...

A study reported in the New York Times today identifies some of the physical costs associated with fighting. While everyone knows that conflict can be emotionally draining and that it can take a toll on one’s relationship, researchers are beginning to identify some of the health issues involved.

Consistent with research on conflict in marriage – it’s not the topics discussed or the amount of conflict which causes the most problems. Most of the outcomes are tied to the way couples interact with each other while arguing. Hostility, criticism and defensiveness are the real culprits – leading to shorter lifespans and increased risk of heart disease.

Resolving conflict effectively requires learning how to express one’s feelings while also making sure that one’s partner feels understood. Some tips for communicating more effectively can be found here.

Oct 1, 2007

Born to Cheat....

Just ran across an interesting article in The Age this morning. The article explains the link between personality differences and an individual's willingness to cheat.

Essentially, people, who have an avoidant (or dismissing) style of attachment and a game playing style of love (ludus), are more likely to cheat (see, previous post for more information on love and attachment).

While these findings are intuitive, the article still makes for an interesting read: Some of us are are born to stray, research finds.

Back From Summer Break....

Thanks for everyone's comments... I take summers off, but I'm back now.