Intellectually Open for Love

Sunday’s Modern Love column is cool. The author recreated a study by Arthur Aron and fell in love.

“In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.” They also have to gaze into each other’s eyes for four minutes.

The full list of questions are here. The questions are good. In fact, we had to answer many of those questions in our pre-cana class before we got married. I feel like there should be an app for that.

I love the concept that love is found through intellectual intimacy. A willingness to share information.

9 thoughts on “Intellectually Open for Love

    1. I think I’ve imagined that this kind of intellectual intimacy plays a role in re-discovering relationships after nests empty and the couple retires.


  1. I liked this question the best:

    Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

    I think the answer really has to be “some pie” or else “a nice bottle of wine.” That is, assuming you get the thing you want to share, too.


      1. “Blow away sex”?

        I guess I’m not sure what that means. Does it mean “really good sex”? If so, I guess I’ve had it. Or does it mean something else?


  2. “Ours was the kind of accelerated intimacy I remembered from summer camp, staying up all night with a new friend, exchanging the details of our short lives. ”

    I think this is what happens in college, too. And, I’d say, the process for most people who “fall in love”, including those who fall in love after they get married (because their marriages were arranged, in the modern ways, or strategized, as in the old days of Austen).


  3. If it’s really true that you can fall in love with anyone by doing a given set of things, then the whole concept of love is a crock of shit. Which isn’t exactly an uncommon opinion, but I don’t know that people usually take the view on the basis of science.


    1. I always have, that is, taken the view on the basis of science. There are a lot of preconditions, though, probably in the original experiment, but also in the article. But the principle, that you will develop a deep and lasting relationship, love, with the person you engage with deeply, with whom you share values makes sense, biologically. It’s not that different from most people bonding with the child they give birth to and care for.

      And the real life experiment is done all the time, in arranged marriages:

      “First Comes Marriage, Then Comes Love”


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