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Our Ideal Partners Laugh at the Same Jokes We Do

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When asked to describe our perfect partner, most people will include the phrase “a good sense of humor.” As it turns out, when we say “good,” we may just mean “exactly like mine.” A forthcoming paper in the journal Personal Relationships concludes that most people really just want someone who laughs at the same jokes they do.

Jeffrey Hall is a communications expert at the University of Kansas. For his new paper, he analyzed the results of 39 different studies of humor in relationships, amassing results from more than 15,000 participants.

The upshot? Being funny is good [PDF], but getting your partner’s jokes is even better. “It’s not about being a great comedian,” Hall said in a statement, “but finding what’s funny in the everyday and enjoying it together, whether that’s The Simpsons or repeating funny things your kids say or The New Yorker cartoons or relishing in the absurdity of life.”

Also important: laughing with your partner, not at them. This may sound like the kind of wisdom we learn in nursery school, but it’s worth repeating. Good-natured teasing is fine, Hall says, but someone who repeatedly makes their partner the butt of every joke is only going to foster resentment.

So: Be silly, but be nice, and look for ways to find some comedic common ground.

"It’s good to have humor,” Hall says. “It’s better to see it in your partner. And it’s best to share it.”

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Food
Learn to Spot the Sneaky Psychological Tricks Restaurants Use
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While dining out, you may have noticed (but perhaps didn’t question) some unusual features—like prices missing dollar signs, or burgers served on plates that could accommodate a baby cow.

These aren’t just arbitrary culinary decisions, as the SciShow’s Hank Green explains in the video below. Restaurants use all kinds of psychological tricks to make you spend more money, ranging from eliminating currency symbols (this makes you think less about how much things cost) to plating meals on oversize dinnerware (it makes you eat more). As for the mouthwatering language used to describe food—that burger listed as a "delectable chargrilled extravagance," for example—studies show that these types of write-ups can increase sales by up to 27 percent.

Learn more psychological tricks used by restaurants (and how to avoid falling for them) by watching the video below. (Or, read our additional coverage on the subject.)

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Animals
Owning a Dog May Add Years to Your Life, Study Shows
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We've said that having a furry friend can reduce depression, promote better sleep, and encourage more exercise. Now, research has indicated that caring for a canine might actually extend your lifespan.

Previous studies have shown that dog owners have an innate sense of comfort and increased well-being. A new paper published in Scientific Reports and conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden looked at the health records of 3.4 million of the country's residents. These records typically include personal data like marital status and whether the individual owns a pet. Researchers got additional insight from a national dog registry providing ownership information. According to the study, those with a dog for a housemate were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or any other cause during the study's 12-year duration.

The study included adults 40 to 80 years old, with a mean age of 57. Researchers found that dogs were a positive predictor in health, particularly among singles. Those who had one were 33 percent less likely to die early than those who did not. Authors didn't conclude the exact reason behind the correlation: It could be active people are more likely to own dogs, that dogs promoted more activity, or that psychological factors like lowered incidences of depression might bolster overall well-being. Either way, having a pooch in your life could mean living a longer one.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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