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January 2011



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First Published Monday, 30 March 2009

The new edition of Scientific American Mind is out an it has an excellent cover article on the psychological effects of humour and laughter.

It’s a remarkably wide-ranging article, covering everything from the effect on the immune system, to laughter’s pain killing properties to its beneficial effect on mental health.

There’s also an interesting aside on the role of humour in attraction:

In 2006 psychologists Eric R. Bressler of Westfield State College and Sigal Balshine of McMaster University in Ontario reported that women are more likely to consider a man in a photograph a desirable relationship partner if the picture is accompanied by a funny quote attributed to the man. In fact, the women preferred the funny men despite rating them, on average, less intelligent and less trustworthy.

Although the men in Bressler and Balshine’s study did not prefer witty women as partners, other research indicates that both men and women value a “sense of humor” when choosing a partner. Either way, males do seem to like ladies who laugh at their jokes. A 1990 study suggests that when women and men chat, the amount of laughing by the woman indicates both her interest in dating the man and her sexual appeal to the man. (The man’s laughter did not relate to attraction in either direction.)

The issue also has freely available online articles on ‘brain training’, the psychological effect of architecture and personality disorder with many more in the print edition.

Link to April’s SciAmMind.

Source:   http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2009/03/the_attractions_of_h.html

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
March 22, 2009

Contrary to popular opinion, it appears that romance doesn’t have to die a natural death in a long-term relationship. In a meta-analysis review of 25 studies with 6,070 individuals in short- and long-term relationships published last week, researchers set out to find out whether romantic love is associated with greater relationship satisfaction.

The findings?

The researchers found that those who reported greater romantic love were more satisfied in both the short- and long-term relationships.

Perhaps not surprising, those who reported greater passionate love in their relationships were more satisfied in the short term compared to the long term. Companion-like love, on the other hand, was only moderately associated with satisfaction in both short- and long-term relationships.

What’s the secret?

“These people are often very relationship focused,” Acevedo told LiveScience. “Their relationship is something that is very central to their lives, something they spend time on, work on, really care about. They seem to resolve conflicts relatively efficiently and smoothly.”

Other studies on building strong, romantic relationships also suggest the following may help:

  • *Continue exploring and engaging in new activities and opportunities with one another.
  • *Resolve conflicts as they occur, respectfully; don’t let conflicts simmer and build into something bigger over time.
  • *Find something challenging to do together; a shared challenge can help bring you closer together if you work as a team.
  • *Feeling that your partner is “there for you” is invaluable for a good relationship.
  • *Guard against insecurity, as it can lead to spark relationship problems that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

Romance doesn’t have to turn into pure friendship over time, nor does it have to die a natural death in long-term relationships. Strive to keep the romance alive in your long-term relationship — it’s not as impossible as it may seem.

Read the full article: Romance Can Be Maintained in Long-term Relationships.

Married women lonelier than men

Stephen Lunn, Social affairs writer | March 19, 2009

MEN benefit more from being married than women, at least in the emotional stakes, as new research shows married women are lonelier than married men.

The study finds single, separated and widowed men are considerably lonelier than their female counterparts, but the reverse is true for married or de facto couples.

Overall, more than 30 per cent of Australians rate themselves as lonely, the latest Australian Unity Wellbeing Index shows, although men’s emotional welfare is harder hit by this loneliness.

“While the proportion of females reporting loneliness is similar, the wellbeing loss associated with loneliness is most pronounced for males,” says the report, due for release today.

“Men who have never been married, who are separated or who are widowed are significantly lonelier than females in the same circumstances. Curiously, married and de facto females record higher levels of loneliness than married or de facto men. In this respect, therefore, marriage benefits males more than females.”

The Wellbeing Index had 2000 people rate their level of loneliness on a scale of 0 to 100. More than 30 per cent of people put their loneliness above 40.

Report author Bob Cummins said a rating of more than 30 put emotional wellbeing at risk. He said the different emotional make-up of men and women might explain why single men were lonelier than single women.

In addition to relying more on their relationship for emotional sustenance, men also relied on money to stave off loneliness more so than women.

“Men from households with an income less than $60,000 are significantly lonelier than men with a household income between $100,000 and $250,000,” the report says.

Source:   http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25208448-23289,00.html

By Therese J. Borchard
March 22, 2009

A few readers asked if I would write out the content of my videos in accompanying text. Here you go:

Friendships are a lot like marriages in that some are healthy and some are toxic, or unhealthy. But you sound pretty ridiculous explaining to people why you are sad: “Man, I just broke up with a friend, and it’s really painful.” But that is, in essence, what you are doing, and it needs to be treated the same way as a romantic relationship or marriage ending: with a lot of support and nurturing. As friendships develop and evolve, some don’t have all the right ingredients to last. So it’s right and natural that some break. But that period after the split is so awkward, for both people: the breaker-upper, or the breaker-uppee. I’ve sat in both seats.

I love the way Anne Morrow Lindbergh talks about friendships in her classic, “Gift from the Sea.” She writes:

I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest. I find I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships. What a rest that will be! The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.

I love that. Because I’m trying to be more sincere in my relationships. And as I do that I’m finding that some aren’t as healthy as I thought. The only requirement lately that I’ve been asking myself is this: Do I feel empowered by this relationship? Or do I feel deflated? After having coffee or lunch with this person, do I feel better about myself? Does this person build me up? Or do I feel worse about myself? Does this person in some way take away from me?

When I ask that question it reveals to me whether the relationship is toxic or healthy.

Yesterday I was having a discussion with one of my friends about a friendship with which I’m frustrated, and she made a point that helped me understand why some of my relationships can’t be healthy. She said, “It’s hard to be in a true, loving, mutual friendship with a person who is so wounded that they can’t reciprocate the love and the support.”

Understood in that perspective, I feel less jaded, less hurt, by the person. I just know that she or he is so wounded that they can’t act in any other way. It’s not possible for them to be in a mutual loving relationship. Their wounds get in the way.

I’m going to close by reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s excerpt again, because I find it so empowering:

I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest. I find I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships. What a rest that will be! The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.

Source(Includes Video 3:12):  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/03/22/video-when-a-friendship-ends/

Further evidence explains ‘broken heart syndrome’

By Crystal Phend, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 27 — More evidence emerged that stress cardiomyopathy, popularly known as “broken heart syndrome,” is not a classic heart attack.

The long-term effects of the syndrome’s heart attack-like symptoms, brought on by sudden emotional or physical trauma, appeared almost fully reversible, Richard A. Regnante, MD, of the Miriam Hospital and Brown University here, and colleagues found.


© 2004-2009 MedPage Today, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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