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Study: Half of Your Friends Don’t Consider You Their Friend

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Just because you consider someone your friend doesn’t mean that they feel the same way. A new study, published in PLOS One, indicates that people may have more one-sided friendships than they think they do, according to Science of Us.

In the study, researchers from the MIT Media Lab asked 84 undergraduates in a class to score how well they knew other people in the class. They “asked each participant to score every other participant on a 0–5 scale, where 0 means ‘I do not know this person’, 3 means ‘Friend’ and 5 means ‘One of my best friends,’" as the paper explains. Then, the participants were asked to predict how other people would score them.

Predictably, people thought that the people who they considered their friends would also rate them as friends. But this wasn’t the case. Almost half of all the friendships reported in the survey weren’t reciprocal—meaning that only one of the two people considered the other a friend. This, the researchers note, might be about social climbing: People might be more likely to claim friendship with a person of higher social standing, while people who are popular are more choosy about who they call a friend.

Recent research has tied friendship to major health benefits, including living longer, having better mental health, and lower risk of dementia. While some studies have linked these benefits to specifically satisfying friendships, it’s harder to say whether people who have one-sided friendships actually find them unsatisfying, or if they derive just as much pleasure from interacting with people who only consider them acquaintances as with people who perceive their bond as closer. This might also add a layer of complexity to studies about social influence, which typically ask people about their perceived social networks. 

[h/t Science of Us]

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Are Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll Really Linked? Researchers Investigate
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Around the world, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll are said to go hand-in-hand. But do they? As PsyPost reports, a pair of Pennsylvania psychologists recently dove into the empirical evidence tying the three together, asking college students to talk about their drug use, sex lives, and music preferences and talents to suss out whether people who play and enjoy rock music really do have more active sex lives and drug use.

Published in the journal Human Ethnology Bulletin, the study [PDF] of 467 students relied on self-reporting, which isn't typically the most reliable evidence—people are wont to exaggerate how often they've had sex, for instance—but the survey also asked them about their desires, posing questions like "If you could, how frequently would you have sex?" It also asked about how often the students drank and what drugs they had tried in their lifetimes. They also described their musical experience and what kind of music they listened to.

The results were mixed, but the researchers identified a relationship between liking faster, "harder" music and having more sex and doing more drugs. Acoustic indie rock aficionados weren't getting quite as wild as heavy metal fans. High-tempo-music lovers were more likely to have taken hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, for example, and tended to have had more sexual partners in the previous year than people who favored slower types of music. According to the study, previous research has found that attention-seeking people are more likely to enjoy "hard" music.

The study didn't have a diverse enough group either in age or in ethnicity to really begin to make sweeping generalizations about humans, especially since college students (the participants were between 18 and 25) tend to engage in more risky behaviors in general. But this could lay the groundwork for future research into the topic. Until then, it might be more accurate to change the phrase to "sex, drugs, and heavy metal."

[h/t PsyPost]

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Experts Still Don't Understand Stockholm Syndrome
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A security camera photo released by the FBI that shows Patricia Hearst during a bank robbery in San Francisco in April 1974.
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Stockholm Syndrome is a common plot device in movies and books. But the psychological phenomenon—which was made famous in 1974 by Patty Hearst (above), the heiress who was kidnapped but later participated in a bank robbery with her captors, the Symbionese Liberation Army—is much more rare in real life. This makes it hard for experts to study, and even prompts them to question whether Stockholm Syndrome is actually a syndrome.

Nils Bejerot, a Swedish criminologist and psychiatrist, reportedly coined the term Stockholm Syndrome in 1973, following a bank robbery in Sweden in which four people were held for six days by their captors. Once they were rescued, the victims all defended the robbers and refused to testify against them. Since then, other similar instances have occurred, but not nearly enough for clinicians to create a list of criteria and treatment strategies for its inclusion in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM handbook.

That said, psychologists do know some things about Stockholm Syndrome, gleaned from interviews with people who have been held in a hostage situation. By watching the video below, you can learn what we do know about the rare condition, and why individuals might develop it, according to SciShow Psych.

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