And now for something completely different – a friend forwarded me this article by Mandy Len Catron in the NYT:
‘More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes.
Let me explain. Earlier in the evening, that man had said: “I suspect, given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone. If so, how do you choose someone?” He was a university acquaintance I occasionally ran into at the climbing gym and had thought, “What if?” I had gotten a glimpse into his days on Instagram. But this was the first time we had hung out one-on-one.
“Actually, psychologists have tried making people fall in love,” I said, remembering Dr. Aron’s study. “It’s fascinating. I’ve always wanted to try it.” I first read about the study when I was in the midst of a breakup. Each time I thought of leaving, my heart overruled my brain. I felt stuck. So, like a good academic, I turned to science, hoping there was a way to love smarter.
I explained the study to my university acquaintance. A heterosexual man and woman enter the lab through separate doors. They sit face to face and answer a series of increasingly personal questions. Then they stare silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The most tantalizing detail: Six months later, two participants were married. They invited the entire lab to the ceremony.
“Let’s try it,” he said.
Let me acknowledge the ways our experiment already fails to line up with the study. First, we were in a bar, not a lab.’
Read the article here.
The questions created by Dr. Aron will definitely create intimacy, if they are asked by the right person.
“30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?”
But do these questions create intimacy of do they create the illusion of intimacy? Are Dr. Aron’s questions just a less way vulgar way to get laid within a few hours?
Whatever the answer will be, the assumption that falling in love is a decision is probably very true.