Archives for April, 2012

Love & Affection

Exposing the Bull in ‘Briefcase vs. Baby’: Part 2

In my previous post, I reviewed the methods and results of a series of studies that have been in the media lately. The authors claim to have shown that when men are scarce, single women – especially the unattractive ones – lose confidence in their ability to land a man and therefore pursue careers instead.

In this post, I’ll tell you what the authors said about their own research, then point...
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Love & Affection

‘Briefcase vs. Baby’ or ‘Bull vs. More Bull’? Part 1

Usually, I’m proud to be a social psychologist. It is a great field. Today, though, I am ashamed. The most prestigious journal for the publication of empirical research on social psychology just published a paper addressing a question about the sex ratio and women’s career choices: “Does a scarcity of men lead women to choose briefcase over baby?”

I bet you can guess what their answer...
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Media

Alone: What Is It Good For?

Much as Americans cherish rugged individualists in movies and novels and the lore of the pioneers, it has been a different story when it comes to everyday people living ordinary lives. Real people who live alone, and people who are single (regardless of whether they live on their own), are more often suspected than celebrated.

When I was researching Singled Out, I found that one of the most dogged myths about single people...
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Marriage

The Grand Canyon Is for Couples, and Other Matrimaniacal Travel Tips

If you are a single person and you like to travel – or even if you are not single, but you enjoy vacationing on your own – you know what you are up against. Earlier this year, an article in the New York Times about vacationing “single in the Caribbean” captured the essence of the problem for the solo traveler:
“…the travel industry is just not that into you. Singles typically have...
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Love & Affection

“Know Who You Really Are, Not Who You Wish You Were”

Think about your own marital and parental status – say, single with no kids – and imagine writing 20 life lessons for people who share your status. Make your lessons raw, honest, funny, and brief. That’s what Eleanore Wells did in her new book, The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree.

I am also single and have no kids, yet many of my own 20 life lessons would be...
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Marriage

Just How Alone Do You Want to Be?

The popularity of Eric Klinenberg’s book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, has made living alone a hot topic. I can’t claim to have read all of the reviews and discussions of the book that have been popping up everywhere, nor have I seen even a fraction of the author’s media appearances.

From what I have observed, though, one topic seems to be missing from the...
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General

Volunteers: The Surprising Characteristic that Makes Them Special and Successful

I have long been intrigued by the finding that people who are single are in some ways even more connected to their communities than are people who are married. So when I learned that the eminent personality and social psychologist Mark Snyder was coming to town to give a talk, I was there.

Mark Snyder has spent more than a decade studying the psychology of volunteering. I learned so much from his...
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Marriage

The Singles Treatment: Unmarried Adults Reveal their Experiences

When I do research on single life, I sometimes ask large numbers of people to report on their experiences using rating scales that I provide, then I analyze the results statistically. Sometimes, though, I want to hear from single people directly, in their own words.

When Wendy Morris did her doctoral dissertation on stigma awareness among single people, she used a variety of methodologies across the four studies she conducted. As part of...
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Love & Affection

Traumatic or Challenging Transitions: Is the Second Year Even Harder than the First?

“The second year was harder than the first.” That’s what Jane Brody, New York Times writer and author of Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond, had to say in her moving story of the two years after the death of her husband. They had been together for 44 years.

I have never been married, but I had the same experience after my father died more than two decades ago. That first...
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