A Very Good Reason To Be Friends Before Dating, Courtesy of Science

Academic studies can be fascinating… and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background
Sometimes dating is awesome (see here). Other times, it can feel like you’re lagging behind in the Superficial Olympics — as you try to win the romance race and stand out as the most attractive candidate, you ultimately lose to a prettier face. (That’s not always the case, but it can certainly feel like it.) On the flip side, you might be so caught up in landing an attractive partner yourself that you overlook the great people who don’t instantly catch your eye. So how do you break through romantic superficiality? A recent study provides some useful insight.

The Setup
Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University brought in 167 dating and married couples and asked them how long they had known their partner and how long they’d been romantically involved. The difference between each length of time was considered the period during which couples were friends or acquaintances before dating.

After that, the couples were interviewed on camera so that a team of coders could “scientifically” rate how physically attractive they thought each person in the couple was on a scale of -3 (very unattractive) to 3 (very attractive). To make sure one partner’s attractiveness wasn’t influencing the coders’ perceptions of the other partner, the researchers had a second team of raters judge each person while one half of the screen was covered so that they could only see one person at a time.

Both methods of rating attractiveness yielded similar results, and coders tended to give comparable ratings for each person — thus, the subjective ratings were considered to be —> Read More

Is Kapteyn B Not to Be?

The hypothetical super-Earth Kapteyn-b compared to Earth. Image credit:

The hypothetical super-Earth Kapteyn-b compared to Earth. Image credit: The Planetary Habitability Laboratory/University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo

Are the ancient planets discovered around Kapteyn’s Star for real?

As the saying goes, all that glitters isn’t gold, and the same could be said in the fast-paced hunt for exoplanets. In 2014, we reported on an exciting new discovery of two new exoplanets orbiting Kapteyn’s Star. The news came out of the American Astronomical Society’s 224th Meeting held in Boston Massachusetts, and immediately grabbed our attention. The current number of exoplanet discoveries as of July 2015 sits at 1,932 and counting.(…)
Read the rest of Is Kapteyn B Not to Be? (839 words)


© David Dickinson for Universe Today, 2015. |
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