The Mathematics of Love

A while ago I posted on the what is effectively the mathematics of sex. Well, so as not to get to Hippolytian about it all and keep a balance I thought I’d comment that over at Edge.org they’re now following up on the mathematics of love wih an interview with John Gottman. It’s an interesting talk (there’s a video interview too). As he says,

I look at relationships. What’s different about what I do, compared with most psychologists, is that for me the relationship is the unit, rather than the person. What I focus on is a very ephemeral thing, which is what happens between people when they interact. It’s not either person, it’s something that happens when they’re together. It is like a structure that they’re building by the way they interact. And I think of it that way, almost like a fleeting architectural fluid form that people are creating as they talk to each other, as they smile, as they move.

I suppose I feel it’s great to use this sort of thing to diagnose what went wrong, but less clever to use it as a guide to who to go with. Put one way, the end may justify the means, but the means qualifies the end, and measuring and the maths affects the means.

Negotiating the divide

There’s a good article by Robert Cialdini in HBS Working Knowledge: Leadership called “What Lovers Tell Us About Persuasion”. [Thanks to Scott Moore for a) his interesting post and b) the pointer].

In romantic relationships, there are broadly three types of negotiating techniques: do-this-or-else, I’m-rational-so-agree-with-me, and we-are-a-couple-and-so. Of these types, by far the most successful is the last, where one of the pair will start the discussion by affirming the relationship. As Cialdini puts it,

Back in the 1960s, the brilliant media commentator Marshall McLuhan observed that often in the realm of mass communication, “the medium is the message.” I’m willing to claim that often, in the realm of social influence, the relationship is the message.

And he goes on to make the (sensible) point this we-are-a-couple-and-so approach is successful not just in romantic relationships, but in relationships full stop.

A few other things caught my eye:
Continue reading Negotiating the divide

The Rules of the Love Doctor

In this morning’s Independent there was an article about maths, sex and dating. Clio Cresswell, a maths whiz at Australia’s University of New South Wales, has written a book on the subject – aptly called “Mathematics and Sex“.

The book’s backcover states that

Revealing the ways in which math can help unlock the secrets of love, lust, and life’s search for the ideal partner, this intriguing text covers topics such as dating services, dating as game theory, the mathematical logic of affairs, and the numbers behind orgasms.

Now, the article I read gave five “love doctor” rules. While these may be of interest for those trying to find leurve, my first reaction when I read them was “Hmm, relationships, the rules might apply to feeds too”. (My second, quickly after, was “Shitbags, not everything is about social software”.)

Anyway, the Rules of the Love Doctor (and some knee jerk reactions to they might apply to feeds and the like) are as follows:
Continue reading The Rules of the Love Doctor