Archives for March 2008

Roses for my Online Date

(Online Dating News Blog) Ann and Jeff met on an online dating service and after a few dates together it looked like true love could be in the making. Only three weeks after first meeting in person, Ann’s 24th birthday arrived and Jeff (28 years old) wanted to do something that would impress her and deepen their growing relationship.

So the day before Ann’s birthday, Jeff went to the store and purchased a birthday card. He wrote in it, “Dear Ann, Happy birthday! I have included for you one red rose for every year of your life.”

Jeff sealed the card then went to the florist. He ordered two dozen red roses (24 total) to be delivered to his date’s work the next day. He also gave the florist the card and asked that it be included. Jeff then generously tipped the florist $20 for her help.

The next day as the florist was putting together the two dozen roses, she remembered the $20 tip and as a nice gesture decided to include an extra dozen roses. She then included the card and delivered it as scheduled.

After months of not knowing why Ann never returned his phone calls or emails, Jeff has finally returned to the online dating world.

Funny Dating Quotes

(Online Dating News Blog) It’s always great to share a laugh when it comes to online dating, so the Online Dating News Blog has put together some funny dating quotes that are sure to bring a smile to your face:

“A man who is separated from his wife, but not quite divorced yet, is suing eHarmony.com for refusing to help him find a date… Ah, Man, it’s sad to see what’s happened to Nick Lachey, isn’t it?” ~ Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

“Computer dating is fine… if you’re a computer.” ~ Rita Mae Brown

“According to the Wall Street Journal, in the month of December, 4.3 million people went on a date through Match.com… 4.1 million of them are still missing.” ~ Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

“I date this girl for two years — and then the nagging starts: ‘I wanna know your name…'” ~ Comedian Mike Binder

“The only time a woman really succeeds in changing a man is when he’s a baby.” ~ Natalie Wood

“Marriage is a fine institution – but I’m not ready for an institution.” ~ Mae West

Breaking Up

(Online Dating News Blog) Dr. James Houran, who publishes the weekly Office Hours with Dr. Jim column has answered a reader question from someone who keeps breaking up and getting back together with their partner.  Here is an excerpt of Dr. Jim’s advice:

“…If break-ups happen because a couple can’t successfully resolve expectations and reach mutually accepted understandings, then on and off cycles are a huge red flag. If break-ups happen because one or both individuals in a relationship fly off the handle at the first sign of conflict or disagreement, then on and off cycles again are a wake up call. On the other hand, a couple could also experience on and off cycles due to intimacy issues that can be resolved with some openness and truthfulness…”

Click here to read the entire article.

And here are some more advice articles on breaking up:

Breaking Up and Resentment
Dealing with a Break Up and Relationship Closure
Dealing with Break Up Pain
How do I Break Up for Good?

Are You Crazy Enough for Online Blind Dates?

(Online Dating News Blog) The creators of free online dating service OKcupid have created a new concept on online dating – blind dates. Last November the team launched a new service called Crazy Blind Date that allows people in select cities to meet up with others without seeing a picture or ever communicating with them.

The way the service works is like this:

1) You sign up for an account and upload a photo that they do a “super blur” on so that people can’t tell what you look like.

2) You enter criteria for your date like the age range, height range, ethnic background, and education.

3) You select a place and time where you would like to meet someone.

4) When the system finds a match, you are notified and given the super blurry picture of your date and a short description (so that you can find each other).

5) You go on the blind date!

The new twist to “online dating” opened in November 2007 in four cities and has since expanded to three more. The cities it now serves are:

Washington D.C. Metro Area
Chicago
Boston
Austin
Los Angeles
San Francisco Bay Area
New York City

Joe’s Comments
Interesting… what do you guys think of this concept?

Microsoft Eyeing Online Dating Marketplace

(Online Dating News Blog) A patent filed by Microsoft shows that the company is interested in getting into the online dating service industry. The patent outlines plans for a photo-based online dating services where matches are created by looks. The way it works is that a person uploads a picture of a man or woman that he/she finds attractive. Microsoft’s system then finds matches based on facial elements from the photo. In addition, the system will allow people to view a photograph and rate various aspects of it like the persons hair, nose, mouth, and face dimensions. The ratings are then used to help identify matches based on the users look preferences.

From the patent:

“The image-based search eases the challenge of textually describing physical attributes. The search includes comparing a query image provided by the user to a plurality of stored images of faces stored in a stored image database, and determining a similarity of the query image to the plurality of stored images. One or more resultant images of faces, selected from among the stored images, are displayed to the user based on the determined similarity of the stored images to the query image. The resultant images are displayed based at least in part on one or more facial features.”

The online dating marketplace is very lucrative for the top online dating services like Match.com and eHarmony.com.

St. Dwynwen and Saint Dwynwen’s Day

(Online Dating Industry Journal) Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge (Dating Triumphs and Tragedies) has published a fascinating column about the Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers – St. Dwynwen. Every January 25 is Saint Dwynwen Day. From the column:

She was a 5th century Welsh Princess who was set to wed the prince Maelon.  But Dwynwen no longer wanted to be with him—some say it is because she was promised to another man, others that it is because she wanted to follow a religious life, and one story says that is was because Maelon became too forceful with her.”

The column goes on to describe how she fled to the woods and prayed for freedom from Maelon. In a “dream” she was given a drink that saved her from Maelon’s advances and affections. But when Maelon was given the same drink, he became frozen. She then prayed for three things.

From the column:

1) that Maelon be unfrozen, 2) that she should never marry, and 3) that God should answer the requests she makes on behalf of lovers, so that they can either find love and happiness, or be cured of heartache and unanswered love.  Her wishes were granted...”

To read the entire article, click here.

New Dating Articles by Jennifer Brown Banks

(Online Dating News Blog) Several new articles by Online Dating Magazine columnist Jennifer Brown Banks have been uploaded. The articles tackle various issues of love, self improvement, and dating. Here are links to a few of our favorite recent Jennifers GEMS dating articles:

How to be Black Book Worthy
How to Broaden Your Social Horizons
20 Tips for Better Health
Does Pride Prevent Progress?

Mindfulness Meditation Creates Powerful Self Therapy

Why does putting our feelings into words — talking with a therapist or friend, writing in a journal — help us to feel better? A new brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists reveals why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense.

Another study, with the same participants and three of the same members of the research team, combines modern neuroscience with ancient Buddhist teachings to provide the first neural evidence for why “mindfulness” — the ability to live in the present moment, without distraction — seems to produce a variety of health benefits.

When people see a photograph of an angry or fearful face, they have increased activity in a region of the brain called the amygdala, which serves as an alarm to activate a cascade of biological systems to protect the body in times of danger. Scientists see a robust amygdala response even when they show such emotional photographs subliminally, so fast a person can’t even see them.

But does seeing an angry face and simply calling it an angry face change our brain response? The answer is yes, according to Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a founder of social cognitive neuroscience.

“When you attach the word ‘angry,’ you see a decreased response in the amygdala,” said Lieberman, lead author of the study, which appears in the June 2007 issue of the journal Psychological Science.

The study showed that while the amygdala was less active when an individual labeled the feeling, another region of the brain was more active: the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. This region is located behind the forehead and eyes and has been associated with thinking in words about emotional experiences. It has also been implicated in inhibiting behavior and processing emotions, but exactly what it contributes has not been known.

“What we’re suggesting is when you start thinking in words about your emotions —labeling emotions — that might be part of what the right ventrolateral region is responsible for,” Lieberman said.

If a friend or loved one is sad or angry, getting the person to talk or write may have benefits beyond whatever actual insights are gained. These effects are likely to be modest, however, Lieberman said.

“We typically think of language processing in the left side of the brain; however, this effect was occurring only in this one region, on the right side of the brain,” he said. “It’s rare to see only one region of the brain responsive to a high-level process like labeling emotions.”

Many people are not likely to realize why putting their feelings into words is helpful.

“If you ask people who are really sad why they are writing in a journal, they are not likely to say it’s because they think this is a way to make themselves feel better,” Lieberman said. “People don’t do this to intentionally overcome their negative feelings; it just seems to have that effect. Popular psychology says when you’re feeling down, just pick yourself up, but the world doesn’t work that way. If you know you’re trying to pick yourself up, it usually doesn’t work — self-deception is difficult. Because labeling your feelings doesn’t require you to want to feel better, it doesn’t have this problem.”

Thirty people, 18 women and 12 men between ages of 18 and 36, participated in Lieberman’s study at UCLA’s Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. They viewed images of individuals making different emotional expressions. Below the picture of the face they either saw two words, such as “angry” and “fearful,” and chose which emotion described the face, or they saw two names, such as “Harry” and “Sally,” and chose the gender-appropriate name that matched the face.

Lieberman and his co-authors — UCLA assistant professor of psychology Naomi Eisenberger, former UCLA psychology undergraduate Molly Crockett, former UCLA psychology research assistant Sabrina Tom, UCLA psychology graduate student Jennifer Pfeifer and Baldwin Way, a postdoctoral fellow in Lieberman’s laboratory — used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study subjects’ brain activity.

“When you attach the word ‘angry,’ you see a decreased response in the amygdala,” Lieberman said. “When you attach the name ‘Harry,’ you don’t see the reduction in the amygdala response.

“When you put feelings into words, you’re activating this prefrontal region and seeing a reduced response in the amygdala,” he said. “In the same way you hit the brake when you’re driving when you see a yellow light, when you put feelings into words, you seem to be hitting the brakes on your emotional responses.”

As a result, an individual may feel less angry or less sad.

This is ancient wisdom,” Lieberman said. “Putting our feelings into words helps us heal better. If a friend is sad and we can get them to talk about it, that probably will make them feel better.”

The right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex undergoes much of its development during a child’s preteen and teenage years. It is possible that interaction with friends and family during these years could shape the strength of this brain region’s response, but this is not yet established, Lieberman said.

One benefit of therapy may be to strengthen this brain region. Does therapy lead to physiological changes in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex? Lieberman, UCLA psychology professor Michelle Craske and their colleagues are studying this question.

Combining Buddhist Teachings and Modern Neuroscience
After the participants left the brain scanner, 27 of them filled out questionnaires about “mindfulness.” Mindfulness meditation, which is very popular in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, originates from early Buddhist teachings dating back some 2,500 years, said David Creswell, a research scientist with the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

Mindfulness is a technique in which one pays attention to his or her present emotions, thoughts and body sensations, such as breathing, without passing judgment or reacting. An individual simply releases his thoughts and “lets it go.”

“One way to practice mindfulness meditation and pay attention to present-moment experiences is to label your emotions by saying, for example, ‘I’m feeling angry right now’ or ‘I’m feeling a lot of stress right now’ or ‘this is joy’ or whatever the emotion is,” said Creswell, lead author of the study, which will be featured in an upcoming issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, a leading international medical journal for health psychology research.

“Thinking, ‘this is anger’ is what we do in this study, where people look at an angry face and say, ‘this is anger,'” Lieberman noted.

Creswell said Lieberman has now shown in a series of studies that simply labeling emotions turns down the amygdala alarm center response in the brain that triggers negative feelings.

Creswell, who conducted the mindfulness research as an advanced graduate student of psychology at UCLA, said mindfulness meditation is a “potent and powerful therapy that has been helping people for thousands of years.”

Previous studies have shown that mindfulness meditation is effective in reducing a variety of chronic pain conditions, skin disease, stress-related health conditions and a variety of other ailments, he said.

Creswell and his UCLA colleagues — Lieberman, Eisenberger and Way — found that during the labeling of emotions, the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex was activated, which seems to turn down activity in the amygdala. They then compared participants’ responses on the mindfulness questionnaire with the results of the labeling study.

“We found the more mindful you are, the more activation you have in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and the less activation you have in the amygdala,” Creswell said. “We also saw activation in widespread centers of the prefrontal cortex for people who are high in mindfulness. This suggests people who are more mindful bring all sorts of prefrontal resources to turn down the amygdala. These findings may help explain the beneficial health effects of mindfulness meditation, and suggest, for the first time, an underlying reason why mindfulness meditation programs improve mood and health.

“The right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex can turn down the emotional response you get when you feel angry,” he said. “This moves us forward in beginning to understand the benefits of mindfulness meditation. For the first time, we’re now applying scientific principles to try to understand how mindfulness works.

“This is such an exciting study because it brings together the Buddha’s teachings — more than 2,500 years ago, he talked about the benefits of labeling your experience — with modern neuroscience,” Creswell said. “Now, for the first time since those teachings, we have shown there is actually a neurological reason for doing mindfulness meditation. Our findings are consistent with what mindfulness meditation teachers have taught for thousands of years.”

The research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Onion Pokes Fun at Women and Online Dating

The Onion, a fake and satire news company, has put out a fake news cast that pokes fun at women and online dating. The segment is titled, “Online Dating Streamlines Rejection for Women”.

An anchor begins by saying, “This Valentine’s Day, millions of single women are wondering if they’ll ever find that someone special. Onion News Network Tech Trends reporter Jeff Tate explains how the Internet has revolutionized the way women irrationally get their hopes up…”

The anchor then passes the story to a reporter who, in a serious tone, talks about desperate women that use online dating and get rejected. It includes interviews with “online daters”.

To see the full video, click here.