hand, the mathemati- cians among us might see the lack of preci- sion in love as reason enough to dismiss it from the proper do- main of mathematical analysis. The Mathematics of Love by Hannah Fry - In this must-have for anyone who wants to better understand their love life, a mathematician pulls back the curtain and. the Mathematics of Love Edge PDF - Free download as PDF File . pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. Document.
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In this must-have for anyone who wants to better understand their love life, a mathematician pulls back the curtain and reveals the hidden patterns—from dating. Part of the TED series: The Mathematics of LoveThere is no topic that attracts more attention-more energy and time and devotion- than love. Love, like most. Full Transcript: Hannah Fry on The Mathematics of Love at Here is the full transcript of mathematician Hannah Fry's TEDx Talk: The . And at the end of the webpage, there is a Download [post-title] as PDF button. Click that.
They get to a point where the trigger seems to be feeling disrespected and there's a loss to their dignity. They feel driven to defend that dignity, and start doing things like posturing and threatening while in a state of high and diffuse physiological arousal, and they increasingly have a loss of control.
The violence tends to be symmetrical, and there is not a clear victim and perpetrator.
Another kind of violence, which is very different, is where one person in the relationship is using violence to control and intimidate the other person and is very much not physiologically aroused, very much in control and trying to do something to the other person that alters their idea of reality.
There is a perpetrator and a victim here, The late Neil Jacobsen and I have called this kind of mind control "gaslighting," after the movie with Ingrid Bergman. I'd like to understand those two kinds of violence. I think the first one is treatable, particularly early, by looking at the couple relationship and changing the relationship. It may be even treatable later on, by slowing things down enough and physiological arousal has a place in it. The second type of violence is more elusive at the moment, although some initial experiments that I and Julia Babcock and her students have designed show promising proximal, that is, short term effects with these perpetrators.
That's one puzzle I'm working on — trying to understand violence, and how to help people because it is so common, and it has a huge effect on families, and especially on children, and their development. Another puzzle I'm working on is just what happens when a baby enters a relationship.
That's tragic in terms of the climate of inter-parental hostility and depression that the baby grows up in. That affective climate between parents is the real cradle that holds the baby.
And for the majority of families that cradle is unsafe for babies. There are some hopeful signs that interventions will be effective at changing all that. We have done two randomized clinical trials so far and we can reverse almost all of these negative effects on relationships and on babies. Also, at this point in the United States, it seems like we're going through a major sociological shift, and I don't know where it came from.
In the last 40 years it seems that men have really changed. Forty years ago men didn't attend the birth of their babies, now 91 percent of men do attend the birth of their babies. That's interesting. But there something else too. What I'm seeing everywhere in the United States, regardless of ethnicity, and race, and culture, and social class, is that men have changed in very dramatic ways.
And in a very fundamental way that has to do with existential choice and meaning, men want to be involved in the life of their babies, to be better fathers, and through that, to be better partners, as well.
The major commitment is really to the baby. It's a spectacular change. We are working with lower-income couples to see whether we can do something about when that baby arrives. So far we've found that with middle-class couples, in just two days of the couple's life, ten hours, we can change the drop in relationship satisfaction that happens to two-thirds of couples and not only change the relationship so there's no increasing hostility over time so relationship satisfaction doesn't go down, and we can have a major effect on postpartum depression.
We can also really affect that baby's emotional and cognitive development in quite a profound way, with a very brief intervention. And the baby didn't take the workshop. The question is can we do it when there are many other problems present, like addiction, incarceration, violence, racism, and poverty. Can we also have that kind of effect? That's what we're going to see in the next nine years, whether we can change families.
We are now engaged with the nonprofit policy group Mathematica in the largest randomized clinical trial ever done with couples anywhere in the world.
There will be 10, couples in this study. Once again, like Head Start, it looks like families are changing in a major way, in terms of social class, from the bottom up.
And the government is thinking that when these scientifically based programs will teach social skills to lower-income couples, couples on welfare, that they'll learn and they'll be better.
They'll learn from what the middle class is doing. But I think the major learning's going to come the other way because many of the couples we have worked with who have been through a history of slavery, forcible breakups of families by slaveholders, bad schooling, racism, poverty, unequal employment opportunities, bad parenting, criminals as their only successful role models, incarceration, drug addiction, and alcoholism, and violence, and some of these couples are still together.
Many of these people who have triumphed despite it all are amazingly articulate when my wife talks to them, and helps them to reveal their highly articulate wisdom. We are seeing a new kind of commitment on the part of men, and on the part of women supporting the men, and who are staying with them in spite of incarceration and addiction.
It's breathtaking, because it's a real existential change. The learning is going to come from the bottom up because a lot of the middle-class couples in this country are lost, existentially. They're focusing much more on money and accomplishments and status, and achievement, and having things.
We see something different among these so-called "fragile families", a spiritual sense of meaning and purpose that is coming largely from the baby — from the optimism of having this new baby, and saying, it stops here.
The violence stops here. The lack of a father stops here. We're ending the heritage of slavery African- Americans are saying and it stops with me, right now.
Here I am, I am not going anywhere. I am going to be a consistent presence in my baby's life. And I will mentor other fathers to take this same journey with me. It's a breathtaking change. I think with the scientific application of studying people who really triumph through this, compared with the people who have tremendous difficulty and the relationships are breaking up, or there is increased violence and addiction, we can create a major change in this country.
What an opportunity. One thing we know from Peggy Sanday's work on male domination of women and women's power, in her classic study of hunting-gathering cultures is that when men are involved in the care of babies, not just children but babies, that culture doesn't make war.
I think that's what we're seeing now. We're seeing the possibility of an end to war, where fathers are going to be saying, "not my kid. My kid's not going to that war. I am not going to let that happen. My kid isn't dying for that cause, no way. I am going to change the values of this country. If I have to, I'm getting out of here, I'm getting out of this country with my kid alive, I refuse to have my kid go to that war and die for nothing. That's what I think we're going to see, so I'm very excited, very optimistic.
I want to write a book called "We fathers will now end war. A scientific approach to helping this happen is really very powerful, because the right information makes a big change. A scientific approach to the study of families and relationships makes a real difference. The reason for us getting all these significant effects changing up to 75 percent of couples, in a very short time period, is because all we're doing is studying the people who cope well and how they're different from the people who don't cope well; in this case it's about relationships.
It's not rocket science, it's very simple science, like observing how stars and planets move. Primitive science. And with that knowledge, with good information, people just take it and use it and run with it.
So it's a matter of really changing what people know. My goal is to be like the guy who invented Velcro. Nobody remembers his name, but everybody uses Velcro. I think the same thing will be true here. This information is eventually going to become something everybody learns in elementary school, and knows about.
How to form and maintain relationships with other people, starting with kids' friendships. It's so fundamental. We're such social creatures, to understand how to have relationships, how to have friendships, how to love right, how to make relationships last is so basic to our health, longevity, our very survival as a species.
How to be a good father, a good mother. The principles are all there waiting to be uncovered. Like Luenhook looking through his microscope and discovering a hidden world no one saw but him, researchers now are uncovering the amazing world of emotion. Discovering very simple principles that are easy to apply. And eventually everybody will know them. Science comes into the study of families and relationships because a scientist always admits to profound ignorance, doesn't presume to know about these things, takes this ignorance and goes to the people and observes them in situations that are vitally important — when people are having dinner, when they meet at the end of the day, when they are in the bedrooms cuddling, when they're having sex, when they're interacting with their babies — in these very important moments, a scientist without preconceptions observes and tries to understand — interviews people, measures their physiology, and tries to get at their inner experience.
And then creates mathematical models that provide theoretical understanding of all these processes. By putting this information together, in a way that is unbiased, with proper controls, so the observers are double- blind and don't know the hypotheses and so on, then you can come up with information that is really useful and helpful to people.
It may have to be done over and over again when we do this research with French Creole, black people, married to a Cuban black. Or when we go to Arizona and study Pima Indians or Navahos. It may be different there. And when we do this work across cultures, we will discover, through doing this over and over again, without bias, what the universality is in relationships.
I am sure that universality is there. We are no less social than bees, and Von Frisch discovered the language of bees by going right to the hive and watching them dance.
What's an example of what we may find? So far I believe we're going to find that respect and affection are essential to all relationships working and contempt destroys them. It may differ from culture to culture how to communicate respect, and how to communicate affection, and how not to do it, but I think we'll find that those are universal things.
I started off as a mathematician, and always thought I would be a mathematician. I was going to study math at MIT, and my first year I was randomly paired with a roommate at MIT who was a psychologist, and I got really interested in his books and changed fields, and went to the University of Wisconsin.
And at the University of Wisconsin there was a tremendous amount of interest in Pete Lang's work on psychophysiology, Harry Harlow's work on love in mom and baby rhesus monkeys, and Dick McFall's work on social skills, Mavis Hetherington 's work on families, and interaction, and — especially using observational methods and tight quantitative analyses.
That was what really fascinated me: I've been influenced tremendously by my friend Paul Ekman's work Looking at Faces, which started with Charles Darwin's and Sylvan Tomkin's work, looking at the universality of how emotions get expressed, by Harry Harlow and John Bowlby's work in how normal dependency is in relationships.
These views presented a new alternative to behaviorism and also to psychoanalysis. Like Harlow and Bowlby, for me the relationship was the unit. And I've looked at emotion and how it's really communicated — and what people are thinking.
Showing people their videotapes and finding out what's going on in their minds. Because we don't know. Also I've been influenced by the whole field of psycho-physiology, which also developed in large measure at the University of Wisconsin. I've worked with Bob Levinson, who's a psycho- physiologist and we've put together these influences.
Ekman and Levenson and Darwin and psycho-physiology, and the study of the body and the face and voice and emotion in relationships, and just try to understand the naturalistic development of relationships. What I have added to this field of emotion is my concept of "met-emotion," or how people feel about feelings, what their history is with specific emotions like pride, respect or disrespect, love, fear, anger, sadness. What their philosophy is about emotions and why they have this philosophy.
It's critical to parenting and to couple relationships as well. It determines emotional behavior in families. And with my former students Lynn Katz and Dan Yoshimoto the study of meta-emotion now is providing us with new tools for changing families.
Bob Levenson and I were very surprised when, in , we found that we could actually predict, with over 90 percent accuracy, what was going to happen to a relationship over a three-year period just by examining their physiology and behavior during a conflict discussion, and later just from an interview about how the couple viewed their past. Nobody was getting that kind of prediction in psychology. In fact, Walter Michel had just published a book challenging psychology with really terribly low rates of being able to predict human behavior.
He said the Emperor has no clothes. But here we were with huge correlations, and getting enormous stability in couples interaction over time with no intervention. We thought at first that it might be just chance, but we found after doing study after study that very simple patterns replicated in sample after sample.
You could tell from just looking at how a couple talked about how their day went, or talked about an area of conflict, what was going to happen to the relationship with a lot of accuracy.
That was surprising to us. It seemed that people either started in a mean-spirited way, a critical way, started talking about a disagreement, started talking about a problem as just a symptom of their partner's inadequate character, which made their partner defensive and escalated the conflict, and people started getting mean and insulting to one another.
That predicted the relationship was going to fall apart. And four years later it was like no time had passed, their interaction style was almost identical. These were basic personality differences that never went away. She was more extroverted or she was more of an explorer or he was more punctual or frugal. Some couples were caught by the web of these perpetual issues and made each other miserable, they were "grid locked" like bumper-to-bumper traffic with these issues, while other couples had similar issues but coped with them and had a "dialogue" that even contained laughter and affection.
It seemed that relationships last to the extent that you select someone whose annoying personality traits don't send you into emotional orbit. Once again conventional wisdom was wrong.
The big issue wasn't helping couples resolve their conflicts, but moving them from gridlock to dialogue. And the secret of how to do that turned out to be having each person talk about their dream within the conflict and bringing Viktor Frankl's existential logotherapy into the marital boxing ring.
Again a new door opened. Not all marital conflicts are the same. You can't teach people a set of skills and just apply them to every issue. Some issues are deeper, they have more meaning. And then it turned out that the very issues that cause the most pain and alienation can also be the greatest sources of intimacy and connection. Another surprise: They were often the pillars of their community. They seemed very calm and in control of their lives, and then suddenly they break up.
Everyone is shocked and horrified. But we could look back at our early tapes and see the warning signs we had never seen before. Those people were people who just didn't have very much positive connection. There wasn't very much affection — and also especially humor — between them. These are the people you see in restaurants who've been married a long time and they're sitting there not talking to each other throughout the whole dinner and they don't look very happy about the vast chasm between them.
Those are the couples where you say to your partner "Let's never become like them, okay? We learned. My former student Janice Driver studied this friendship aspect of emotional connection with detailed analyses of our apartment lab tapes, hundreds of hours of people doing ordinary things like reading the paper or having dinner. Like Leunhook with his microscope, Jani discovered a hidden world in the ordinary everyday moments. These moments were the key to how people build friendship and even sexual intimacy.
Foreplay really happens all the time.
Eventually in our theory there were three circles having to do with conflict, friendship, and sense of purpose and meaning, that were interlocked here. That became our theory, we called the "sound relationship house theory. Over a decade ago I began working with James Murray, an amazingly gifted applied mathematician, who in many ways is the father of a new field called mathematical biology.
All that theorizing about chaos actually led to new mathematical developments that could model very complex phenomena in biology with very few parameters because the equations were nonlinear.
So James and I and his students collaborated and after 4 year of meeting once a week, we were able to get equations for marital interaction as well as physiology and perception, that allowed us to understand our predictions, of what was going to happen to a relationship over time. Using these parameters, we are not only be able to predict, but now understand what people are doing when they affect one another.
And through the equations we could really build a quantitative theory, and we can understand how to intervene and how to change things. Now the sound relationship house theory had a mathematical basis. That's when physics really moved forward by leaps and bounds, after Newton and Leibnitz invented the math for it, the calculus. And perhaps, who knows, perhaps we could do the same with our math. And how we could know what it is we're affecting, what parameters, and maybe understand why our interventions are effective or why at times they fail.
This is the mathematics of love. For the past eight years I've been really involved, working with my amazingly talented wife, trying to put these ideas together and use our theory so that it that helps couples and babies. And we now know that these interventions really make a big difference.
We can turn around 75 percent of distressed couples with a two-day workshop and nine sessions of marital therapy. These are couples that have waited as long as six years to get any kind of help. So it's a considerably deteriorated situation.
Then we are also finding that if we intervene early, and do preventative intervention, our effects are much bigger, and we have an impact not only on the couple, and changing their longitudinal course, in a dramatic way, in not a very long time, but we can also have an impact on the emotional development of their children.
We're following those children — we're now studying children whose parents went only to a two-day workshop, and their babies are now turning three years old, and we'll know at the end of this year whether this emotional developmental change continues and the children are in a dramatically different trajectory than kids whose parents didn't take the workshop. It sounds as if we have a stake in relationships staying together — but we don't.
TED Books—now in print! On the anniversary of September 11, we're proud to launch an idea that is the deepest possible antidote to terror. It's the powerful story of Zak Ebrahim, who grew up the son of a terrorist his father helped plan the WTC bombing , and chose tolerance over hatred. This idea reaches you in a form that's new for us: It's the first in a Posted September 11, Alan Smith: Why you should love statistics Think you're good at guessing stats? Guess again. Whether we consider ourselves math people or not, our ability to understand and work with numbers is terribly limited, says data visualization expert Alan Smith.
In this delightful talk, Smith explores the mismatch between what we know and what we think we know. Uma Adwani: The hidden messages in multiplication For months Uma Adwani struggled to make a living in a new city, until she was hired to teach a subject she loathed most: math. Growing up Adwani despised the subject, but as she developed lesson plans for her class, she began to fall in love with its magic, poetry and symmetry.
In this talk, Adwani shares the secret wisdom she's found hidden in