Context: Connections Between People: the slightly less mental version

Context: Connections Between People: the slightly less mental version

I’m starting another blog post, because what was meant to be a bit of light research turned into me obsessing over a Swedish family from the 17th Century and their habits of exchanging flowers. Time for a second attempt at relevant information for the FMP project proposal.

Friendship in young adulthood has been said to help with finding a career path and looking for mentors. I like this: I could have some work showing what each character individually gets out of the relationships with the others. They all learn a lot: Drake would teach Antonia a lot of musical skills, and Drake learns a lot about the LGBT community after being properly exposed to it for the first time. Etc, Etc.

Friendship also helps us interact with anyone else. Friends give us a basis for meeting new acquaintances. I like to think that Ludwig, who was basically incapable of meeting others, gained a more solid grounding for interaction after meeting Drake and Antonia. Antonia would surely have given him a view of the extremes of personality!

‘Last year (2008), researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants stood next to friends during the exercise, while others were alone. The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared. “People with stronger friendship networks feel like there is someone they can turn to,” said Karen A. Roberto, director of the center for gerontology at Virginia Tech.’ – I like this. It’s a really visual example of how important friendships are.

According to the buffering hypothesis (e.g., Thoits, 1986), social support promotes health by reducing physical reactivity to stress, and is therefore protective against stress-related illnesses ranging from the common cold (Cohen, Doyle, Turner, Alper, & Skoner, 2003) to heart disease (Seeman & Syme, 1987) to cancer (Fawzy et al., 1993).

“People tend to amplify their perception of negatively-arousing objects and situations (Easterbrook, 1959). For example, spiders are seen as looming closer by spider phobics (Riskind, Moore, & Bowley, 1995), time passes more slowly for newly-abstinent smokers (Klein, Corwin, & Stine, 2003), physical pain increases with pain-related anxiety (Rhudy & Meager, 2000), and disturbing objects appear physically closer than do non-disturbing objects (Matthews & Mackintosh, 2004).” – Tell me that isn’t some of the most mental trivia you’ve heard today. This is day-changing stuff. If I see a spider across a room, it might as well be crawling on my eyeballs for how terrified it makes me.

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