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I seriously doubt that rational, honest, free people can be programmed to feel a certain way in opposition to their core values.

In opposition ? ... nobody has argued for that position. What was said was that your subconscious does not necessarily automatically follow your conscious conclusions.

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(Underline is mine.)

Decided? Do you mean 'found' or 'decided' ? Can I tell myself to like person A as opposed to person B when I have a choice?

One does not decide whom to love. Instead, one should introspect and find out if the person is the one or not. Any 'deciding' is really only an arbitrary enforcement in order to overcome pains of building long term relationships (while facing choices) as said here:

No, one can not willy nilly decide who they love, but one does 'decide' who they love in the way they decide what they find humorous and what they are scared of. That decision is the result of countless choices made throughout ones life and actions perfomed and the implict values that guided those choices and actions becoming integrated. A racist person may be viscerally disgusted by a member of another race and never find themselves falling in love with that person, but if they over time drop their racism and integrate more rational and honest assessments of people they will in fact have changed the way their emotions respond and have changed who they feel the emotional response of 'love' to.

All I see here is "Relationships are hard, kid. Grow up, and you will understand all the problems later. Until then, you are too young to judge."

Then you are not actually reading anything being written here. Nobody said anything of the sort.

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I seriously doubt that rational, honest, free people can be programmed to feel a certain way in opposition to their core values.

Prove me wrong. Or better, prove yourself right.

I won't prove you wrong, because you are correct, as I said explicitly, volitional choices over ride all other influences to human behavior. Genetic influences will not over ride volitional ones (once the volitional choices are sufficiently integrated) Obviously a 'core value' is the result of something somebody chooses to integrate. But feeling a small attraction to a stranger is not something that is in opposition to ones core value, unless that core value is to never recognize or feel another human being to be attractive.

Do you accept or deny then that all human behavior is a complicated interaction of chance, nature, habit, and choice? (This is exactly what Aristotle wrote, except he seperated habit into more sub catagories, and it is one science clearly shows) Your challeng does not negate my position, only one possible scenario of it (genetics over-riding choice) which I said was not the case in the first place.

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Such judgment requires evaluation. He evaluated the facts as he discovered them and responded accordingly. That is how like starts but when you are making a decision about life commitment - a lot more goes into that analysis. It is a decision based on an existing like but it involves more. You may love someone who may be not be good fit for you as a life long partner. For example, you may want different things out of life. Happens all the time.

I don't believe you answered my question, which was:

Can I tell myself to like person A as opposed to person B when I have a choice?

Love is not something which strikes you like a lightening without your control. It is a volitional act like any other. You absolutely can chose NOT to fall in love with someone who is great. I actually have done it (I had a good reason for it - still don't regret my decision). Sometimes it is a matter not just whether it is the right person but also whether the timing is right (which was not in my case).

This answers a different matter: if you can choose NOT to love somebody, but I'm addressing a different point: can you choose to love somebody, as opposed to accept your discovery that you are falling in love with somebody.

Experiences are important. For example, if you have never been in love, never felt it, would I be able to prove it to you that it exist? Btw, I don't think of anyone here as not grown up - I certainly don't think that people here are too young to judge. But if you have not experienced something at 20 - it does not mean that it does not exist - especially if others are reporting its existence.

I don't think this answers my questions, either.

I was asking what experiences would change one's opinion, for example.

Exactly how one would change one's mind? What experiences would change one's mind?
Edited by Olex
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I don't believe you answered my question, which was:

Can I tell myself to like person A as opposed to person B when I have a choice?

Love is a response to values both mental and physical. I don't think you can make yourself like someone against your values - and why would you even want to? Can you make yourself be sexually attracted to someone you are not attracted to? I have no idea. I don't think so. Why would you want to try?

But if you like somebody you can decide whether they are worthy of your love and further long term commitment.

I was asking what experiences would change one's opinion, for example.

I have said that the value of a good relationship increases with time due to many factors (it is like getting higher returns on your investment with time). If you have never been in a relationship long enough to experience that you may not believe me (although you should be able to understand it conceptually).

Edited by ~Sophia~
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There is no way I can possibly unravel all that's going on here but, factually speaking, I'm just going to add that Sophia's point about sunk costs is a well-demonstrated trend in human psychology.

Evasion is also a well-demonstrated trend in human psychology, but that doesn't make it right.

Valuation based on sunk costs is a gross error and has absolutely no place in a rational person's life. I have not been following the discussion very closely so I'm not sure why it came up, but if the argument being made is that you will tend to love your spouse more the more time you have spent together, then that is very true, but for a reason that has nothing to do with sunk costs. The reason is that, over time, you gain concrete evidence of your spouse's virtues, so you will not just be thinking what you think when you see a stranger, "Oh, this looks like a lady whose character I would probably like," but you actually know for quite sure, from the hard evidence of a growing number of her actual actions you have witnessed, that you appreciate her character. And a known value always eclipses a probable value of the same magnitude; this is why you will always love her more than similar women who are strangers.

And this means that spending time with an attractive friend does make you love that friend more, if indeed she is worthy of your friendship. Just like driving your car makes you love your car more, if indeed it's a good car. But a rational man has no more trouble distinguishing a friend from a wife than he has distinguishing his car from his wife--he is not an animal whose reproductive instinct will ineluctably drive him to mate with anything that catches his attention and looks like a woman, but a rational animal who thinks in terms of the concepts "friend" and "wife" and knows their exact meaning, as well as their exact referents.

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Valuation based on sunk costs is a gross error and has absolutely no place in a rational person's life. I have not been following the discussion very closely so I'm not sure why it came up, but if the argument being made is that you will tend to love your spouse more the more time you have spent together, then that is very true, but for a reason that has nothing to do with sunk costs. The reason is that, over time, you gain concrete evidence of your spouse's virtues, so you will not just be thinking what you think when you see a stranger, "Oh, this looks like a lady whose character I would probably like," but you actually know for quite sure, from the hard evidence of a growing number of her actual actions you have witnessed, that you appreciate her character. And a known value always eclipses a probable value of the same magnitude; this is why you will always love her more than similar women who are strangers.

Well this would be true if:

a. the only other potentials we met were potentials of equal magnitude.

b. the marginal rate of new information gathering didn't decrease with time.

c. the threshold of "problematic relationsihps" were one of comparison with the existing value, and not with the point at which you were able to decide that someone is a potential mate for you.

d. you take steps to keep such women strangers (by rationally priotizing your time to higher values).

The factors you mention can serve to stabilize relationships, up to a point.

By the way, the concept of "sunk costs" is one I already raised, and I'm not using it in it's financial sense. Rather as "value already obtained" in the course of a long term relationship. If you still agree that value already obtained should be no factor in further extension of relationships, then you and mrocktor have disagreed right there.

Edited by KendallJ
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Do you accept or deny then that all human behavior is a complicated interaction of chance, nature, habit, and choice?

Chance: No.

Nature: Yes, if you subsume physiological reflex under the concept "behavior".

Habit: This is the real bone, I think. Habit is chosen, and this choice is primary.

Choice: Obviously.

You are arguing that habit can build a value, I'm arguing that values determine actions, and thus determine habits.

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QUOTE (themadkat @ Apr 17 2008, 06:14 PM) post_snapback.gifThere is no way I can possibly unravel all that's going on here but, factually speaking, I'm just going to add that Sophia's point about sunk costs is a well-demonstrated trend in human psychology.

Valuation based on sunk costs is a gross error and has absolutely no place in a rational person's life.

It was a tangent a discussion took. I will explain what I meant.

Try giving a child ten dollars and see if he will understand the value of money. (no effort on his part and you will notice that easy comes easy goes).

Then make him earn the same ten dollars instead.

I have not been following the discussion very closely so I'm not sure why it came up, but if the argument being made is that you will tend to love your spouse more the more time you have spent together, then that is very true, but for a reason that has nothing to do with sunk costs.

That was not the argument but rather what you say below investment made and value obtained (concrete evidence not only of virtues but also of compatibility, of mutual fit vs. unknown)

The reason is that, over time, you gain concrete evidence of your spouse's virtues,

Right.

And this means that spending time with an attractive friend does make you love that friend more, if indeed she is worthy of your friendship. Just like driving your car makes you love your car more, if indeed it's a good car.

I don't think that car comparison works.

If your attractive friend displays continuously many qualities you value (perhaps qualities your lover possess as well) - establishing them as concretes - as you build an emotionally intimate connection with them (spending time one on one for example, sharing intimate things about yourself) - all of those possibly will have an effect on your subconscious and thus your emotions. This may happen despite the fact that your lover is a greater value for you. Your friend may actually not be a good fit long term but at this time you don't know this - you are only responding to the data which you do know. So your feelings for your friend are a disvalue. Even if you don't act on them - they take way from your focus on your lover.

Some people here are arguing against this because their position is that one relationship does not take away from another and you should in such case pursue both relationships. Something with which I completely disagree with. Most likely scenario re: the above would be that you would hurt and lost your lover, tried a relationship with your friend - finding out in time that you are in fact not a good fit.

Now, if your relationship with your lover was not great that is a different scenario. We are here only evaluating a situation in which it is great and you want to keep that value long term.

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Chance: No.

Nature: Yes, if you subsume physiological reflex under the concept "behavior".

Habit: This is the real bone, I think. Habit is chosen, and this choice is primary.

Choice: Obviously.

Chance is debatable depending on exactly what is meant by that.

By nature I mean genetic predispositions, if one of a pair of identical twins reared apart is gay, the other has a 50% chance of being gay. If the one's genetic code contains contains the MAOA producing gene, they are 6 times more likely to become violent adults if they are abused as children than people without that gene. There are thousands of similiar examples. One thing is absolutely clear in all of them, the genes have a stastitically correlated influence, but are never absolute. I think this goes beyond a physiological reflex, because reflexes are not typically considered something to be consciously governable and usually relate to simple behaviors (mostly movement) these things affect complicated patterns of behavior. Probably in most cases by altering the way one's mind tends to respond physiologically to different stimuli, but I am not an expert in this arena.

Habit and social indoctrination certainly is a choice, in the way that one chooses to not consciously critically examine the attitudes promulgated by their environment onto them. One does in effect choose to merely do what everyone else does. I think it is important to differentiate choosing not to make careful choices from choosing to make rational concsioussly examined ones. So by 'choice' I ultimately mean a fully informed examined choice, but at any stage of behavioral influence one always chooses ultimately to let that influence over ride a conscious and fully examined influence, but the actual pattern of behavior is dictated by the influence, not ones choice.

You are arguing that habit can build a value, I'm arguing that values determine actions, and thus determine habits.

No, I am arguing that both cases are true, that it is a complicated dynamic. If you follow your 'gut' so to speak, your values are determining your actions, and your actions serve to re-enforce your values. If you think your gut is wrong after some introspection, and you conscioussly choose to act in a manner opposite your gut reaction, then your actions if habitualized will alter your values. Again there is plenty of empirical scientific evidence showing this.

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By the way, the concept of "sunk costs" is one I already raised, and I'm not using it in it's financial sense. Rather as "value already obtained" in the course of a long term relationship. If you still agree that value already obtained should be no factor in further extension of relationships

Well, I guess in that case it could be called "sunk benefits." But it's still something sunk; a thing of the past. It does give you a good reason to value your friend, but only by virtue of being evidence of the friend's character and thus a predictor of value to be obtained in the future, not as a value in itself.

then you and mrocktor have disagreed right there.

That would not be the first time mrocktor and I disagree on something. :lol:

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EDIT:

This is basically assuming we are irrational, incapable of objective valuation.

No, it isn't. It means we tend not to. This is not news. This is a fact of human psychology. If I was arguing what you claim I was arguing, I would say that you absolutely cannot change the fact that you have evaluated something to be more valuable on the basis of sunk costs. That's not true. You can step back and say, "Hey, those costs are sunk costs and shouldn't affect my evaluation of my present situation." In other words, if you have football tickets but there is a horrible traffic snarl in your way from getting there and the weather is brutal, you are going to be more inclined to skip the game if someone gave you the tickets/you found them lying on the street than if you bought them yourself for $300. That's just a fact. It's been demonstrated over and over again. It's part of how the human brain is wired. But what I am NOT saying is, all other things being equal, the person who bought the tickets will always go to the game whereas the person who got the tickets free will always stay home. The person who bought the tickets can still rationally step back and say, "Hey, I'm not getting my $300 back either way, the question now is whether I'll enjoy my afternoon or not," it's just that it's going to require them to actually recognize the situation and not go with their first inclination.

Getting back to relationships, I don't actually think sunk costs is a good way to describe things, because history with a person does matter and it is rational to take that into account when making decisions about a relationship. I was just using it to illustrate Sophia's point about human psychology. History has to matter. Otherwise relationships become very "what have you done for me lately" and I don't think that's a very good way to relate to intimate friends or lovers.

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I think you may have misunderstood me. I was not implying that one should evaluate based on sunk costs - in fact, the whole reason we learned about it in economics was to caution AGAINST judging by them! Like evasion, it is one of those more troublesome aspects of human psychology. The reason I brought it up was to bolster Sophia's point that the more work you do on a relationship, because believe me relationships take a damn good amount of work, the more you will value it. But I think I may have confused the issue more than anything else. I agree with the subsequent posts by Kendall and Matus as I believe they understood what I was saying and how I meant it.

The psychological tendency to value things more when you have worked for them more can actually be good IF they were conscious actions taken to gain or keep a particular value. What a rational man must do is determine whether the costs are truly sunk (in which case they shouldn't influence the choice) or whether they are a past investment in something which remains now a rational value from which returns may still be gained (more likely scenario with regards to our relationship discussion).

I want to firmly express my agreement with Matus's account of human behavior and reiterate that it may take substantial effort and thought to overcome an irrational inclination which is a disvalue. Putting the context back in the sex and romance department, and at the risk of being slightly crude, let's say that we have someone who was born to be much hornier than average, off-the-scale horny. His physical tastes are indiscriminate, and he stands at attention any time even a slightly attractive woman walks by. Now, if he is the average Joe, and he is reasonably on his game, he will probably end up having a lot of casual sex, and by the time he is 40 he will be banging the secretary at the office even at the risk of losing his job. But let us suppose that he is not the average Joe. Instead, he is rational, thoughtful, and introspective. He recognizes that even though he is popping wood every time an attractive lady comes within ten feet, what he actually values, in his rational mind, is not merely sex but sex with an immensely valuable woman that he loves and that loves him. Thus, he chooses not to take random, beautiful, but shallow women home despite the fact that every time he makes this choice he has to, well, excuse himself to the restroom for a few minutes. He makes a genuine effort to have a romance with a worthy woman and, after a few false starts in his youth, he finds such a woman. Now his sex drive has a rational outlet, in the form of his beloved. (Hopefully he has found someone as horny as he is!) Now here is the really key point - down the line, his physiological response WILL CHANGE. Because he has chosen to focus his affections and attractions only where it is rational to do so, at age 40 he will NOT be banging the secretary and endangering his job. In fact, he may not even NOTICE the secretary in that way, because he has made different choices and engendered different habits which, over time, have been enough even to alter his physical responses. Man is capable of doing this. That's the whole point of saying we're volitional. But if he had not recognized value in controlling his appetites, he would have gone on along the path of mindless hookups, whereas a less horny fellow may not have, not because he was more moral but simply because he did not have such a strong inclination in that direction. The take-home point is, the longer the rational horny bugger commits himself to seeking sex only within a meaningful love relationship, the easier it will be for him to control his irrational, destructive tendencies until it is so simple it is barely worth notice or mention. So I guess my position is leaning more towards Kendall, Matus, and Sophia and away from mrocktor, Ifat, and Olex.

But I still don't agree with Dan's original caution to avoid opposite-sex friendships. I value my platonic male friends way too highly for that.

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I will explain what I meant.

Try giving a child ten dollars and see if he will understand the value of money. (no effort on his part and you will notice that easy comes easy goes).

Then make him earn the same ten dollars instead.

Ah, I see, you mean that people will value what they have earned with effort more than what they got gratuitiously. This is clearly true, and the reason for it is that having to earn something with effort is evidence of its scarcity, and thereby makes its possession precious in one's mind, calling for effort to be invested into keeping it, lest it be lost and need to be replaced at a high cost--while the possession of a value that is available gratuitiously is something that can be taken for granted and requires no mental attention.

An example that is very often cited in economics is that of water vs. diamonds. Water is an indispensable value, while diamonds are nice to have but very dispensable--yet from their prices, it seems like water is not particularly valuable, but a diamond is an enormous value. The reason for this is that prices--just like individual valuations--reflect both men's demand for the goods in question (i.e. how much they contribute to life qua man) and their supply (how much effort it takes to produce them). There is a huge demand for water, but it is so easy to produce that nobody is able to charge a great price for it--because it does not play a prominent role in anyone's hierarchy of values, because it can be obtained with far less effort than, say, a diamond.

Note that it is not the sunk costs that matter here at all, but the replacement costs. To illustrate, consider an exceptional scenario, where water is very difficult to obtain: you are lost in a desert, and only have one bottle of water with you. In this case, you will clearly value that bottle of water very highly--as highly as your life itself, because if you lose it, it will be very hard to replace it, and you might actually die while you are trying to do so. But if you do finally manage to find your way home, where you have plenty of cheap water and an ice cube maker, will you hold on to that bottle of warm and sandy water? Unless perhaps you want to keep it as a souvenir to show your grandchildren, you will have absolutely no reason to value it anymore, because it is now very easy to replace it--even though you have sunk a lot of effort into carrying it with you and worrying about not dropping it.

So having spent a lot of time earning his wife's love will not make a rational man value her more--but, as I have said, having spent a lot of time learning to know his wife will, so the principle that "time makes love grow" is true.

(Another thing to point out here is that enjoying the earned and not enjoying the unearned is something distinct from valuing the hard-to-earn and not valuing so much the easily replaceable. Enjoyment is an emotion, a reaction to the achievement of your values, and thus a reflection of your efforts in the past that have allowed you to achieve the values, while the act of valuing is a conscious mental process directed towards the future, to find out what things you should act to gain and keep in order to secure your survival.)

I don't think that car comparison works.

If your attractive friend displays continuously many qualities you value (perhaps qualities your lover possess as well) - establishing them as concretes - as you build an emotionally intimate connection with them (spending time one on one for example, sharing intimate things about yourself) - all of those possibly will have an effect on your subconscious and thus your emotions. This may happen despite the fact that your lover is a greater value for you. Your friend may actually not be a good fit long term but at this time you don't know this - you are only responding to the data which you do know. So your feelings for your friend are a disvalue. Even if you don't act on them - they take way from your focus on your lover.

Some people here are arguing against this because their position is that one relationship does not take away from another and you should in such case pursue both relationships. Something with which I completely disagree with. Most likely scenario re: the above would be that you would hurt and lost your lover, tried a relationship with your friend - finding out in time that you are in fact not a good fit.

So, as I understand, your point is that the comparison does not work because your attractive friend could become a rival of your spouse, while your car could not?

If so, my response--very briefly for now, because I've got to sign off soon--is that there should be a clear separation in your mind between "friend" and "potential lover" when approaching a relationship. Obviously, with people of the opposite sex, while you are still single, there is room for a two-way potential: "This is a nice girl, let me get to know her better, maybe we'll become friends, and perhaps I might even marry her." But as soon as you are committed to someone, you approach relationships with opposite-sex people as if they were the same sex, or your siblings, or your parents: it doesn't even cross your mind to potentially pursue a romantic relationship. And I think this is where our basic disagreement might lie: I think that, if you approach a relationship that way, and you are the kind of person whose emotions readily follow his conscious thoughts because his thinking is always consistent and life-affirming, then you will not develop romantic affections for a friend you think of this way, just as surely as you will not develop romantic affections for your siblings or parents.

....................Or your car. :lol: So this is why I think the analogy works.

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Ah, I see, you mean that people will value what they have earned with effort more than what they got gratuitiously. This is clearly true, and the reason for it is that having to earn something with effort is evidence of its scarcity, and thereby makes its possession precious in one's mind, calling for effort to be invested into keeping it, lest it be lost and need to be replaced at a high cost--while the possession of a value that is available gratuitiously is something that can be taken for granted and requires no mental attention.

(bold mine)

That may be a part of it. However, I often find that simple knowledge of scarcity is not the same thing. Possesion of a scarce value obtained too easily also leads often to taking it for granted even though one knows conceptually that it is scarce (not easily replacable). So the effort is a big component when it comes to this judgment sinking in.

Also, using aequalsa example, driving up the mountain to look at the view may be within your reach every day (not a scarce value) and yet climbing up the same mountain will enhance your appreciation of the final reward which is the view.

So having spent a lot of time earning his wife's love will not make a rational man value her more--

I don't find that to be always true and it is due to the point you made above. Effort is an indication of scarcity. It drives it home if you will. I agree it should not be that way but I find that in reality that is what human psychology tends to gravitate to. I am sure you can over ride this if you are paying attention but most people don't. Affection granted too easily is often less appreciated even when factually justified. People, in such case, feel less attracted back and don't go further into analyzing why. Don't make it too easy is a common (and I would say wise based on my observations) dating tip for both sexes.

If so, my response--very briefly for now, because I've got to sign off soon--is that there should be a clear separation in your mind between "friend" and "potential lover" when approaching a relationship.

Sure! The question is whether or not you should take your chances that your subconscious will have things just as clearly separated. If you are very well integrated - SURE. How many people are? .....

it doesn't even cross your mind to potentially pursue a romantic relationship.

I don't disagree - conscious mind won't. My point was that if you engage in activities with this person, activities and intimacy which normally are reserved only for your lover - while you find this person physically attractive - you may get an emotional reaction you don't expect and want. We are not talking here about just any friendship (those are fine) but a very close, intimate one in which you share deeply.

and you are the kind of person whose emotions readily follow his conscious thoughts because his thinking is always consistent and life-affirming, then you will not develop romantic affections for a friend you think of this way, just as surely as you will not develop romantic affections for your siblings or parents.

Except that physical attraction also plays a role here. And the issue of integration comes up

again.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Sophia, there is something wrong with your method of induction of psychology.

You are using your observations of most people to conclude about of man's nature (his/her psychology).

The right way to learn psychology is to understand the relation of cause and effect, and to be able to connect pieces of ideas together to explain the behavior. Without that you are using statistics as a method of establishing cause and effect in psychology.

Here is an example: Most people tend to want someone more the more they appear to be "hard to get". Now this could come from several different reasons. If you ignore those different reasons, and just make a link directly between observable results (statistics) you would make a wrong conclusion.

It would be wrong to conclude that "man's psychology is such that they are attracted to those who are 'hard to get'" based on statistics only. The correct method is to identify the chains of cause and effect.

What if most people are attracted to 'hard to get' because of personal insecurity? If this was so, then the reason for attraction was not rooted in appreciating something that requires more effort, but in something completely different.

A lot of people are attracted to 'hard to get' type because they mistakenly consider it to be a sign of independence, or because they have low self esteem, so they view someone who does not give them the time of day as admirable.

I, on the other hand, cannot stand the kind of prick who would put up an act like that. It shows a deep level of second handedness and insecurity.

You can't conclude that it's "man's nature to want to climb ladders" by walking by a construction site. Obviously, there are further steps along the way to understand the behavior of climbing on ladders. The example is silly but I hope it shows my point.

Edited by ifatart
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If you think your gut is wrong after some introspection, and you conscioussly choose to act in a manner opposite your gut reaction, then your actions if habitualized will alter your values.

See, this is where I think you go wrong. If you consciously choose to act in a manner opposite to gut (i.e. habit), this is your rational mind recognizing that your previous course of action was not consistent with your core values. It is not the acting that changes your values, your mind, recognizing your values, changes your actions.

Thought experiment: Do you think that by choosing to give 100$ to the first bum you meet on the street each day you can make altruism a value to you?

That would not be the first time mrocktor and I disagree on something. :lol:

No kidding. B)

No, it isn't. It means we tend not to.

Stopped reading right there. If you tend not to valuate objectively, you have bigger issues than what we are discussing here. If you think people (i.e. "not us") tend not to valuate objectively and are prescribing behavior to rational people (i.e. "us") based on that, that is one nasty switcheroo.

I think people are capable of objective judgment and of living their lives based on it. Perhaps not every single instant of their lives, and people can make mistakes - but in long term life decisions such as what we are discussing, the fact that you can and should be objective has to be acknowledged.

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You are using your observations of most people to conclude about of man's nature (his/her psychology).

And introspection and many other things as well. You have made a wrong assumption. I am aware that correlation does not mean causation.

The right way to learn psychology is to understand the relation of cause and effect, and to be able to connect pieces of ideas together to explain the behavior. Without that you are using statistics as a method of establishing cause and effect in psychology.

I have identified what I think a cause and effect is in this case: this relationship between effort and perceived value. And it makes sense because our time, energy, effort are limited and so using a standard of effort as one of the components (obviously not the only one) to judge a value make sense on that level.

Something maybe a value to me but the amount of effort it required may be a prohibitive factor in my context (which makes it less desirable - so it goes into this analysis of value for me). Another thing maybe a slightly lesser value (yet somewhat similar) but requiring less of my time and thus I may choose that instead in my context.

A lot of people are attracted to 'hard to get' type because they mistakenly consider it to be a sign of independence, or because they have low self esteem, so they view someone who does not give them the time of day as admirable.

Yes there may be other reasons which explain the same trend.

Please notice, however, that I have given many different examples of effort vs. perceived value effect - and only one of them was related to relationships.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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See, this is where I think you go wrong. If you consciously choose to act in a manner opposite to gut (i.e. habit), this is your rational mind recognizing that your previous course of action was not consistent with your core values. It is not the acting that changes your values, your mind, recognizing your values, changes your actions.

Thought experiment: Do you think that by choosing to give 100$ to the first bum you meet on the street each day you can make altruism a value to you?

I think the problem here is that you are comparing the manifestation of a value, which is your emotion, with the value itself. If you don't actually want to become altruisitic, no amount of change in behavior will change your value. If you do decide to be altruisitic, your 'gut' (the emotional response to the value in the recognized situation) will not instantly be reprogrammed. Your emotions are not directly accessible and programmable in that manner. You must first actually want to change your core value, and then act in a repetitive manner conciously to change your core value. The combination of the two will permanently alter your value. Consider the opposite, that you want to change your core value, but do not act in a manner consistent with that? This is why people so easily fail at dieting or starting a new excercise regime, the change in attitude and emotion is almost never instaneous (perhaps in some situations it might be, I can think of none though) so you must want to change your value AND force yourself through habit to act in the manner consistent with that. Eventually it will be easier, then habitualized, and then integrated.

Assuming that values and habits, like memories and emotions, are actually physically manifested in your brain through particular neural connections or patterns, then like memories they must be go through a process of physically being formed, and then continually re-enforced. You can not instantly change a value or emotion any more than you can instantly form a permament memory. I would argue that because of the complexity of emotional responses pretty significant changes must take place in the brain before they are fully realized.

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I think the problem here is that you are comparing the manifestation of a value, which is your emotion, with the value itself. If you don't actually want to become altruistic, no amount of change in behavior will change your value. If you do decide to be altruistic, your 'gut' (the emotional response to the value in the recognized situation) will not instantly be reprogrammed. Your emotions are not directly accessible and programmable in that manner. You must first actually want to change your core value, and then act in a repetitive manner consciously to change your core value.

I have undergone some serious changes myself in my core values, but never has it occurred because of some action.

Even if I continued to act in a way that was against the new good value that I saw, whatever followed the wrong action only showed me that I was wrong. The change always happened because of better understanding of the issue. My mind is not as dumb as to "see" how my body behaves and then from that somehow change my core values. "Hmm... I'm doing well on diet, this means being lean is a value to me". err... what?

And to tie this to the topic of the thread - It is not rational to find higher value in someone just because you've been a long time together. Higher psychological visibility, higher intimacy, mutual fun memories - can increase the value of the relationship. But not the action of choosing to stay with that person or the time invested. It is always something that time allows that causes increase of value, but never the time itself.

consider this example:

Do you know how some people have the idea that if they paid for a movie, and it turns out to be bad, then they would maximize their enjoyment by staying and watching it anyway? They're thinking: "but I already invested so much in coming here and paying for this movie, better try to extract every bit of enjoyment I can out of this". But of course, you can't make the movie better by deciding to stay and invest even more, which is why they end up loosing more of their time and opportunity to use it for fun stuff.

Likewise, the very fact you have already invested a lot in a relationship cannot make it a higher value (Like my example demonstrate, it can only rob you of higher values, like spending your time on something else, like a nice restaurant instead of the crappy movie).

The combination of the two will permanently alter your value. Consider the opposite, that you want to change your core value, but do not act in a manner consistent with that? This is why people so easily fail at dieting or starting a new exercise regime, the change in attitude and emotion is almost never instaneous ...

Your example with dieting will show my point in an excellent way.

People fail at dieting because they fail to resolve the psychological problem that causes them to want to eat more. This is why, even with strong will the extra fat always goes back to the usual "point of equilibrium" or to the person's natural state of being. (Some cases people gain extra weight because of other reasons, not psychological, but I'm not talking about those cases).

The self control and actions by themselves are not enough for a permanent solution to obesity. This is reducing the symptoms without curing the disease. The disease stays, which is why extra weight always comes back.

Same thing if you are in "danger" of falling in love with women other than your wife - you stay away from them (go on diet), but the fundamental reason why your subconscious indicates different values than the chosen one is unchanged, which is why the "danger" always exists.

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I have identified what I think a cause and effect is in this case: this relationship between effort and perceived value.

If this is a principle in human psychology, it should work for all the people, all the time. But yet you have cases when someone is putting effort into something, and the more effort they put, the less they value that thing.

If effort was causing people to value something, how can you explain cases such as these?

Something maybe a value to me but the amount of effort it required may be a prohibitive factor in my context (which makes it less desirable - so it goes into this analysis of value for me). Another thing maybe a slightly lesser value (yet somewhat similar) but requiring less of my time and thus I may choose that instead in my context.

Well, right, but you already say that one of them is higher value than the other. Can the amount of effort they require override this fact? I don't think so. If I value a cake more, but can only afford bread - is bread a higher value to me now because of this fact? Hmm... actually, I think so. I'll need to think about it some more.

(Sophia)Yes there may be other reasons which explain the same trend.

That wasn't my point. My point was that those reasons are the only reasons - it is not the perceivable effort in obtaining someone romantically which causes people to be more attracted, but reasons like the ones I've specified.

Just because all of those reasons happen to also involve a necessity of more effort in "getting" someone romantically, does not make it a cause of the emotional reaction.

Please notice, however, that I have given many different examples of effort vs. perceived value effect - and only one of them was related to relationships.

I don't understand what you're trying to say by this.

At first I thought you were saying that my impression was unsupported so I went around and searched the quotes which gave me such impression (that your method of induction in psychology is based on statistics). I did it by going over the thread and searching for the words "most people". I found so many of Kendall's posts containing those words, but none of yours.

What I did find were the following:

  • "The amount of effort put into something makes you value the outcome more. Of course there is always context but that is generally true of people." post #62
  • "People tend to value a thing less if it came easy because it did not "cost" them much." Post #65"
  • "I find that in reality that is what human psychology tends to gravitate to..." Post #90

And none of them say "most people" though all seem to imply it in some way "generally true" etc.

I don't feel like asking about each and every one of them atm. I prefer to continue with the discussion, and just debate over whatever disagreements we'll have next (if we will have them, which looks pretty probable).

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If this is a principle in human psychology, it should work for all the people, all the time.

I really don't wish to be going deeply into this so I will keep it short.

I have described a trend and proposed a plausable reasonable explanation.

When it comes to human psychology especially behavioral - researchers observe trends and try to explain them. To almost any statement made you could probably find a person who would deviate from that which does not mean that we should ignore that information. Consider statement: women tend to be attracted to compentent men. Would I be able to find a woman who is enamored with an incompetent man? Sure. Would I be able to find a woman who is not attracted to a man who is very competent? Again, of course. Should I then dismiss this finding or even conclude that competency is not a factor when it comes to romantic attraction?

Obviously not.

Effort, in our case of perceived value, is an observed factor. When I wanted to teach my son the value of a dollar it was a useful piece of information for me. (and it worked).

Edited by ~Sophia~
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...Should I then dismiss this finding or even conclude that competency is not a factor when it comes to romantic attraction?
How do you know it's a factor at all? Maybe it's a side-effect, which has nothing to do with causal chain in regards to romantic attraction.

You seem to be saying, and your posts certainly do say so, that just b/c you can show something statistically, then it is a factor.

What if some statistics showed that most women attracted to blue-eye men, would you say that blue eyes are now a factor?

What about height? Etc, etc.? Would you say that these are factors as well? (If statistics "show" them to be a "factor.")

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So the effort is a big component when it comes to this judgment sinking in.

That's a good point, and I agree with it.

Effort is an indication of scarcity. It drives it home if you will. I agree it should not be that way but I find that in reality that is what human psychology tends to gravitate to.

It is a part of man's nature (his psychology, specifically), so there is actually nothing wrong with it. Nothing wrong, provided that the point driven home is one that is true--such as the fact that your spouse is a tremendous value to you. If, on the other hand, you invest a lot of effort into obtaining something but eventually find that it is of little value (say because you misjudged its value, or because circumstances have changed), then it would not be rational for you to see it as a great value just because you have sunk so much effort into it. So it is always your rational mind that should decide whether something is a value; if the decision is that it is not, then it does not matter how much effort you have accumulated in trying to gain it; if the decision is yes, then your past effort can serve as a confirmation of that fact--a message to your subconscious that highlights your conscious valuation.

And this is why I wouldn't be worried about a good friend inadvertently becoming the object of romantic affection. Your conscious decision of whether or not to see someone as a potential lover is what comes first; the effort to gain her love is just a confirmation of that decision, if the decision has been positive. And there is a great difference between effort to gain somebody's love and simply spending time together with a friend--I wouldn't call the latter an effort at all! ;)

Sure! The question is whether or not you should take your chances that your subconscious will have things just as clearly separated. If you are very well integrated - SURE. How many people are? .....

Not many, but I think the answer to that is to teach them to be more integrated, not to give them advice on the premise that they never will be. Perhaps Dan's advice could apply as a temporary measure to people who cannot rationally trust their subconscious to cooperate with them--but this should not be represented as the normal state of affairs in a man's life, but rather as a problem that needs attention. Falling in love with a friend is just one of the dangers an unintegrated person faces; there are millions more of ways in which their emotions could compel them to act against their rational judgment, in matters of love and in other affairs as well.

activities and intimacy which normally are reserved only for your lover

Now that is something that should be avoided. A good rule of thumb here is: if you wouldn't do it with your sister, don't do it with a girl you only want to call a friend. (Or "...brother...boy..." for ladies--I'm writing all this from my own perspective. :))

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