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I think Phil has it right. Human psychology is immensely complex.  
Scientific experiments tend to have a simple design. Drawing valid  
conclusions about the complexities of psychology from experiments of  
simple design is extremely difficult, yet over and over again,  
experimenters  claim to be doing just this. Then science reporters  
further simplify and exaggerate the conclusions to make the reports  
seem interesting. In the current case, two different claims are made.  
First, students exposed to a more romantic film , when questioned  
afterwards, are supposedly more inclined to believe in fate. We have  
no reason to believe such an effect, if actual, lasts long. No  
indication is given of how long it last; apparently that was not  
investigated.. In the second case, longtime lovers of romantic films  
are assumed to be affected by  them, rather than choosing them because  
they agree with a worldview the viewers already had or wished to  
nurture. And so on.

Best,
Michael

On Dec 16, 2008, at 10:27 AM, Michael Balter wrote:

> That is a fallacious statement of my argument, which is:
>
> Topic A is important.
> Study B provides useful insights into Topic A, because it identifies  
> cultural sources of illusions about relationships.
> Therefore, Study B is important or at least interesting.
>
> MB
>
> On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 12:58 PM, Phil Gasper  
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Actually, I think I will use this one in my critical thinking class  
> next semester as an exercise for the students to point out its  
> weaknesses.
>
> The following is a fallacious argument:
>
> Topic A is important.
> Study B is about A.
> Therefore, study B is important.
>
> --PG
>
>
> On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 11:51 AM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask] 
> > wrote:
> Actually, I think this kind of study is important, and I think if  
> Phil thought about it a little bit more he might agree. Unrealistic  
> expectations about love and marriage are indeed a key factor in  
> relationships breaking up, as most people who have voyaged very far  
> into adulthood know anecdotally and which psychologists, family  
> therapists and professionals know from their practices and research.  
> Since troubled relationships are a key cause of suffering in the  
> world, understanding more about them makes sense to me.
>
> As I have said before, let's not be the John McCains and Sarah  
> Palins of the left when it comes to critiquing science.
>
> MB
>
>
> On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 12:43 PM, Phil Gasper  
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7784366.stm
> Published: 2008/12/16 10:02:45 GMT
>
> Rom-coms 'spoil your love life'
>
> Watching romantic comedies can spoil your love life, a study by a  
> university in Edinburgh has claimed.
>
> Rom-coms have been blamed by relationship experts at Heriot Watt  
> University for promoting unrealistic expectations when it comes to  
> love.
>
> They found fans of films such as Runaway Bride and Notting Hill  
> often fail to communicate with their partner.
>
> Many held the view if someone is meant to be with you, then they  
> should know what you want without you telling them.
>
> Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at  
> the university studied 40 top box office hits between 1995 and 2005,  
> and identified common themes which they believed were unrealistic.
>
> The movies included You've Got Mail, Maid In Manhattan, The Wedding  
> Planner and While You Were Sleeping.
>
> The university's Dr Bjarne Holmes said: "Marriage counsellors often  
> see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if  
> someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want  
> without you needing to communicate it.
>
> "We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play  
> a role in perpetuating these ideas in people's minds.
>
> "The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a  
> perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more  
> influenced by media portrayals than we realise."
>
> As part of the project, 100 student volunteers were asked to watch  
> the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity, while a further 100 watched a  
> David Lynch drama.
>
> Predestined love
>
> Students watching the romantic film were later found to be more  
> likely to believe in fate and destiny. A further study found that  
> fans of romantic comedies had a stronger belief in predestined love.
>
> Kimberly Johnson, who also worked on the study, said: "Films do  
> capture the excitement of new relationships but they also wrongly  
> suggest that trust and committed love exist from the moment people  
> meet, whereas these are qualities that normally take years to  
> develop."
>
> The researchers have now launched an online study on media and  
> relationships.
> They are asking people to participate by answering questions about  
> personality, relationships, and media consumption habits by filling  
> in a questionnaire which you can click on here.
>
>
>
> -- 
> ******************************************
> Michael Balter
> Contributing Correspondent, Science
> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
> Boston University
>
> Email:           [log in to unmask]
>
> Website:       michaelbalter.com
> Balter's Blog: michael-balter.blogspot.com
> ******************************************
>
>
>
>
> -- 
> ******************************************
> Michael Balter
> Contributing Correspondent, Science
> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
> Boston University
>
> Email:           [log in to unmask]
>
> Website:       michaelbalter.com
> Balter's Blog: michael-balter.blogspot.com
> ******************************************