Dating Decisions

Exploring turning points in romantic relationships

You Are Who You Date

In efforts to gain the affections of an attractive potential dating partner, people are willing to take on the possible partner’s negative traits themselves. Read More

psychology...

...the science of the obvious.

At least you recognize it's a science, that a girl!

Your comment amuses me. Perfect subject for testing hindsight bias and its role in low IQs.

You left yourself open, buddy!

Anonymous wrote:
Your comment amuses me. Perfect subject for testing hindsight bias and its role in low IQs.

Do you even realize what you are saying about yourself, Smarty-pants? You amuse ME, and everyone else, with YOUR comment! Instead of being a negative Nelly, if you felt so strongly about it, why couldn't you try and educate them? That's obviously a rhetorical question since you are the master of everything under the sun. You already know the obvious answer, right? You are SO cool with such a high IQ! I can't believe I even had the privilege of replying to you. I would take my own advice but you are so smart and do not need guidance! Who's a good little buddy?!?! *pats head*

the problem with common sense

Sometimes psychology findings do come across as being obvious, or common sense. People read about a recent study and say to themselves, "I already knew that!" The problem is that many things that seem intuitive and obvious aren't actually true, and many things that are not actually obvious at all can seem obvious in retrospect (we call this the I-knew-it-all-along fallacy).

Just to demonstrate, is it obvious that "birds of a feather flock together"? But what about the saying that opposites attract? Does absence really make the heart grow fonder, or are people "out of sight, out of mind"? Contradicting conclusions can be supported by common sense.

The consequence of this is that when scientists run studies to conclusively demonstrate a particular psychological phenomenon - say, that we prefer to date others who are quite different from ourselves - people may claim that it's an obvious, common sense finding. But often, the fact is that these same people would believe the opposite argument equally easily. Indeed, I used this example because the reverse is actually true here - people generally prefer to date others who are quite similar to themselves.

Intuition can be faulty, which is why we need data to parse out what's true and what's not.

That is very true, I noticed

That is very true, I noticed this lately.. I'm doing undergrad in psych. I don't notice it in the academic setting proper, though, nearly as much as I do on the internet or even in talking to people. It's either "yeah, but isn't that common sense? Why waste money proving common sense?" or it's pretty much a refusal to believe that "common sense" has been reliably debunked. Not wanting to reject your own intuition, I guess. (Of course, there's a balance between always trusting and never trusting intuition, maybe those of us who are too far to either extreme tend to not want to have to think about things more critically to attain that balance... there's a whole other study! haha.) Or sometimes it's only a small aspect of it that's been debunked, and still many will refuse to let go of just that piece of it!

A lot of what we call "common sense" or intuition is really just rhetoric and personal anecdote. And this probably doesn't annoy you very much unless you want a career that depends on scientific methodology...
I know it annoys me! And Richard Dawkins has given the example of how "science wreaks havoc on common sense", about Galileo claiming that Earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa, and all the contempt he earned from that. "open-mindedness" is a fairly complicated concept.

i dunno....

...intuition has been perpetuating the species long before psychology was ever thought of. To read this mag, you'd think humans couldn't find their way out of a bucket without a study.

My mom and I found this

My mom and I found this article to be biased. This article just discusses the negative aspect, and not the positive. There are positive things that come from romantic relationships.

Aligning myself with the study

After reading the article, I decided to do an "experiment" using myself as the test subject. I do agree with the findings based on my own personal experiences. For example, I dated a woman this past summer who identified herself as someone who "needed" to live in an environment(for whatever reason)that was less than clean and tidy. She commented that although her apartment was cluttered and disorganized, she felt comfortable there and claimed that even if she were to move, she would continue her practice of "letting-the-cards-fly" with her belongings in her new place. After spending time with her, I began to downplay how organized my own living environment was (I'm a Virgo) in order to make us seem more compatable. I actually do not like clutter or having my belongings out of place, but to describe my living space in a polar opposite way would, I imagined at the time, drive a wedge in our budding relationship. Well, the relationship did not work out for a number of reasons and ironically, she later tripped on all the clutter in her apartment and broke two toes. It's amazing what we will do for Love as evidenced by the social psychology study and my own personal experience.

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Samantha Joel, M.A. is a Ph.D. student in psychology at the University of Toronto.

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