Thursday, October 25, 2012

Study of 176 coeds concludes men and women can't be platonic friends

From WXERfm blog

So after my discussion with a fellow blogger about male-female friendships, another person introduced us to this "scientific study" that says men and women cannot be friends. That's right! Platonic relationships do not and cannot exist between men and women.
In order to investigate the viability of truly platonic opposite-sex friendships—a topic that has been explored more on the silver screen than in the science lab—researchers brought 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends into…a science lab.  Privacywas paramount—for example, imagine the fallout if two friends learned that one—and only one—had unspoken romantic feelings for the other throughout their relationship.  In order to ensure honest responses, the researchers not only followed standard protocols regarding anonymity and confidentiality, but also required both friends to agree—verbally, and in front of each other—to refrain from discussing the study, even after they had left the testing facility. These friendship pairs were then separated, and each member of each pair was asked a series of questions related to his or her romantic feelings (or lack thereof) toward the friend with whom they were taking the study. (Source)

The ultimate conclusion of the study was that the male friend would always want to sleep with the female friend. So a true friendship could not exist between men and women. The study therefore proves what people have been saying for years: Men and women cannot be friends...no way, no how.

So that means the premise of my blog is completely faulty and without merit. The relationships I have with my homeboys are just one lonely night away from exploding into something else. And my ex love was right...

Ummm...*Turn off sarcasm font*

I remember when I took Psych 10 in college at good old UNC. Part of our course work included participating in studies like the aforementioned. I'm not saying the results are erroneous, but I am saying look deeply at the participants. I was in college from the age of eighteen to twenty-two. So for four years I was around male cohorts of all kinds. Some were deliciously attractive...others not so much.

Other scientific research has shown that the portion of the brain that covers judgment does not develop fully until after the age of twenty-five. So impulse control and reasoning are still developing when you're college age. (See NPR article: The Teen Brain: It's Just Not Grown Up Yet)

Maybe I'm biased, but this study did nothing to answer the original premised question: Can men and women be platonic friends? What it told you was a lot of the male-female couples interviewed included guys waiting patiently in the "friend zone" to pounce.

There is a difference between "friendships" and "friend zones". Where was the control for "what does friendship mean to you"? Where was the control for "will you sleep with anyone who gives you the goodies"? Where was the control for "impulse control"? What you have here is a small sampling of a homogeneous group of people.

Oh let me clear up what homogeneous means...lol You have a group of people who come from a common structure (college), common unit (age group), with common experiences. This is not a random sampling, nor a representative sampling. How many people actually go to college anyway?

This "scientific study" in my opinion is a piss poor reflection of science. Can you even measure friendship scientifically? I doubt it. Too many variables and degrees of what friendship means from person to person.
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