Saturday, February 28, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #21: Love--The Sensible Choice or the Passionate Choice?

Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:

Love: The Sensible or Passionate Choice?

by MJ Post

Old MJ says:   In romantic stories, we know who gets picked, right? The true love, the one that makes the heart beat faster, the soul-mate. But is that realistic? Does passion make us pick?

First of all, we don't always want what we think we want.  Writes blogger Pamela Haag:   "a new research study finds that while we think we know what we want, we don’t. Researchers found that when looking at written profiles, participants expressed more interest in candidates who fit their 'ideals.' But in live interaction, the ideals were no longer correlated with romantic interest."

Dating services let customers make sure they only meet people who fit preselected criteria. These criteria tend to be sensible (similar age and education, wealth, preferred look).  But the study implies that when the screening's done and we move on to meeting in person, the sparks don’t fly. Why not?

Psychology Today blogger Dr. Alex Lickerman:   "As with everything else, our conscious minds play second fiddle to our unconscious desires…. [W]e may think we know what we want in a mate, but the real qualities we find attractive—the real reasons for the choice we ultimately make—are often quite different from what we tell ourselves they are."

A marketing expert, Gad Saad, tells us about this. There are different ways that we weigh the characteristics of a person.  If a possible mate is being judged by some combination of looks, personality, and status, then how these get balanced in our minds determines whether someone becomes a mate. You could use what Saad calls the Weighted Additive Rule, in which one criterion is multiplied in importance. After you magnify that trait, someone becomes acceptable who might have been refused if all qualities were weighted equally. This explains  why dumb, good-looking women get smart men -- in such cases, looks are those men's top priority.

Saad also defines other methods of selection, including Lexicographic Rule:   "I'm seeking someone who's good in a particular category, so when I find that quality to the degree I want, the person is a potential mate, period." Want someone rich, hot, or funny -- if person X meets that description, you may fall in love.

Back to the question of whether choices are made because of passion or good sense:   the categories are a little more complicated than two. Good sense usually means pairing with someone of higher status than you,  someone with similar education and background, someone you can get along with. Passion has to do with just feeling someone is right for you so strongly that you will blow past obstacles and objections to be with that person. Based on my life experience, I think choices are made both ways, and the odds for happiness are comparable whether you are passionate or sensible. What matters the most is how maturely you both handle the relationship once you are in it -- but that's a different article!!

Bio: MJ Post debuts as a romance author with "Chances Are." Educated in creative writing in Southern universities, MJ has ties to Florida and North Carolina but currently resides in New York City and works in education. MJ is married and grew up in the 1970's and 1980's.
      MJ's interests include relationships, social media, and comic books. Ask her about any and all of them!

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1 comment:

  1. I believe in the old adage opposites attract. My hubby and I have a few important things in common but would never be matched up on one of those online sites.


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