The Loh Down On Science

How the digital age affects our breakups

Breaking up is hard to do!  But what about on the internet?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

We’ve all gone through break ups.  Sad times!

So we resolve:  I’ll start fresh!  I’ll eliminate reminders!  Mementos!  Photographs. Love letters.  Throw them all away!

Researchers say this is common.  But psychologists at the University of California Santa Cruz wondered:  Nowadays, we celebrate our lives in e-mails, blogs, and Facebook.  With so many online reminders out there, do we discard digital relationship keepsakes differently?

To find out, the Santa Cruz team recruited twenty-four young adults.  Each had a recent break up

Participants were asked:  Did you throw out mementos?  Did you handle digital reminders differently?  Plus just:  How ya doin’?  Feelin’ okay?

Turned out, it’s harder, emotionally, to chuck digital mementos.  Only half the participants were total digital deleters.  The rest?  Most kept their digitalia.  A few deleted selectively.

Who fared better?  No one!  The psychologists found that keepers rebounded more slowly. Disposers regretted their impulsiveness.

In short, the researchers suggest cooling off before deleting.

I’m just waiting until Facebook adds a "Hate" button to its "Like" one.  Not that I’m bitter.  Much.

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

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