Saturday, September 30, 2017

Love Hacks AKA Shortcuts to Relationship Happiness

It's a New York Times article, and I don't trust them to keep this on the web forever, so I'm copy/pasting the useful part so I'll always have it:

Touch Your Partner

Holding hands can win you points even when you don't mean it, as demonstrated in an experiment with couples who watched a video together. Some people were instructed not to touch their partners during the video, while others were told to touch in a "warm, comfortable and positive way."

Afterward, the people who had been touched reported being more confident of being loved by their partner - and this effect occurred even when the people knew that their partners' actions were being directed by the researchers. Their rational selves knew that the hand-holding wasn't a spontaneous gesture of affection, but it made them feel better anyway.

Don't Jump to Bad Conclusions

If your partner does something wrong, like not returning a phone call, don't over-interpret it. Researchers have found that one of the biggest differences between happy and unhappy couples is their "attributional style" in explaining a partner's offense.

The unhappy couples tend to automatically attribute something like an unreturned phone call to a permanent inner flaw in the partner ("He's too selfish to care about me") rather than a temporary external situation, like an unusually busy day at work. When something goes wrong, before drawing any conclusions about your partner, take a few seconds to consider an alternative explanation that puts the blame elsewhere.

Picture a Fight From the Outside

In an experiment with 120 married couples in Chicago, Dr. Finkel periodically asked questions about their marriages over the course of two years. During the first year, their satisfaction with their marriages declined, which unfortunately is typical.

At the start of the second year, some of the couples were instructed to try something new when they found themselves in an argument: "Think about this disagreement with your partner from the perspective of a neutral third party who wants the best for all involved; a person who see things from a neutral point of view. How might this person think about the disagreement? How might he or she find the good that could come from it?"

Again, that little exercise made a big difference. Over the next year, marital satisfaction remained stable in those couples, whereas it continued to decline in the control group that hadn't been instructed to take the third-party perspective.

Make a Gratitude List

Once a week, write down a few things your partner has done to "invest in the relationship," as the participants in one experiment were instructed to do. Other participants were instructed to list things they had done themselves to invest in the relationship. The ones who patted themselves on the back subsequently felt a little more committed to the relationship, but the ones who wrote about their partners' contributions felt significantly more committed - and also, not surprisingly, a lot more grateful toward their partners.

Accept a Compliment

One of the most common factors in failed marriages is the "rejection sensitivity" of one partner. People with low self-esteem have a hard time believing their partner really loves them, so they often preemptively discount their partner's affection in order to avoid being hurt by the expected rejection. Eventually, even when they start off with a loving partner, their worst fear comes true because their defensive behavior ends up driving the other person away.

In testing ways to counteract this anxiety, researchers asked insecure people to recall a specific compliment from their partner. Giving a detailed account of the situation and the compliment didn't have any effect, apparently because these insecure people could dismiss it as a lucky aberration: "For once I did something right."

But there was a notable effect when people were asked to think about the compliment abstractly: "Explain why your partner admired you. Describe what it meant to you and its significance for your relationship." That quick exercise helped them see why their partner could really care for them.

Celebrate Small Victories

When your partner tells you about something that went right in his or her day, get excited about it. Ask questions so your partner can tell you more about the event and relive it. Put some enthusiasm into your voice and your reactions. Researchers call this a "capitalization attempt."

When researchers studied couples who were trained to use these techniques in their evening discussions, it turned out that each partner took more pleasure from their own victories, and both partners ended up feeling closer to each other. By sharing the joy, everyone came out ahead - and in true love-hack fashion, it didn't take much time at all.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Not Normally a Fan of Theremin Music, But This Is Done Beautifully


[THEREMIN - Over The Rainbow] (Viewer #5,073,394)

Right hand controls pitch, left hand controls volume. I especially like the vibrato.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

No, Google, That's Not Creepy or Stalkerish at All...

This was on my Google home page (yes, that mouse-hover text is real):



Guess I need to put a tighter rein on my personal information (although I guess that ship has sailed by this point in my online life...)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I'm Surprised the Anti-Capitalist Crowd Isn't Going All Social Justice Warrior on Apple Over This

I'm The Voice Of Siri: And No, Apple Didn't Pay (Or Warn) Me

Personally, I don't have a problem with the situation. She sold the rights to her voiceover work and got paid the money she asked for. But I could certainly see how leftists who don't understand how free markets work could make up an injustice to scream about.

And since that's what makes that sort happy, I'm puzzled as to why they don't.