The Loh Down On Science

Home-Wrecking Furniture

Is your steady unsteady? Blame wobbly table legs!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, asking:

Can something as trivial as sitting in a wobbly chair influence who we date? According to scientists at Canada's University of Waterloo, the answer is yes.

The research team took forty-seven single undergraduates and broke them into two groups. One group was randomly assigned to sit at wobbly tables with wobbly chairs, while the other group was placed at steady tables with steady chairs.

Then both groups were asked to judge four celebrity couples’ relationships. Result? Not only did the wobbly group perceive the relationships as less stable than did the steady group, they also ranked stability as one of the most important qualities in a potential mate.

Meaning that physical stability--or a lack thereof--can affect your perception of other people’s emotional stability. And feeling physically unstable can lead you to prefer emotional stability over excitement in a partner.

Our advice? If your relationship is on shaky ground, don’t call a shrink--call a carpenter!

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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