Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why your old wife is still young and hot

This may help explain the "love goggles" affect that I previously mentioned concerning how men in happy marriages tend to view the physical attributes of their wives with a positive subjective bias:
According to Ramachandran, when we see someone we know, a part of our brain called the fusiform gyrus identifies the face: "That looks like mom!" That message is then sent to the amygdala, the part of our brains that activates the emotions we associate with that person. In patients experiencing Capgras, Ramachandran says, the connection between visual recognition and emotional recognition is severed. Thus the patient is left with a convincing face — "That looks like mom!" — but none of the accompanying feelings about his mother.

Ramachandran holds that we are so dependent on our emotional reactions to the world around us, that the emotional feeling "that's not my mother" wins out over the visual perception that it is. The compromise worked out by the brain is that your mother was somehow replaced, and this impostor is part of a malevolent scheme.

Ramachandran thinks there's good evidence for this explanation of Capgras, in part because of an odd quirk in his patient's behavior. When his mother calls him on the phone and he hears her voice, he instantly recognizes her. Yet if she walks in the room after that call, he is again convinced that she is an impostor.

Why? Ramachandran says that our visual system and auditory system have different connections to the amygdala, so while the auditory recognition triggers an emotional response in his patient, visual recognition does not.
In other words, a long history of positive emotions is the real world equivalent of having soft lighting, a good photographer, and a skilled Photoshop artist working on your behalf 24/7. A man who loves his wife literally cannot see her accurately or objectively without making a serious intentional effort. The same is obviously true of women, of course, but because women are less visually oriented than men, the amygdala effect is probably less important to the marriage.

This may also help explain why women leaving their husbands are so often prone to overrating themselves. Even if she's a mere four, but he sees her as a six and treats her like one thanks to the amygdala effect, she is going to be inclined to see herself that way too. But since the effect doesn't exist for any other men, she is likely to be disappointed with the reactions she receives to her newfound availability.


Daniel said...

That's one element of overrating. That, plus the fact that she once scored a slumming alpha, thereby mistaking her own hypergamy target higher than her worth, makes it a total, depressing mess.

Fortunately, her rationalization hamster can always run just a little bit faster, and she can justify her solitude as a "strong choice" that keeps her warm and sufficiently protected.

Jack Dublin said...

Not only does this effect not exist with others, it never will exist to the same extent again. An unhaaapy divorcee's ex-husband might have been unable to differentiate between his thirty year old wife and the college coed he married without side by side photos.

Every new man she meets will see her with no filters in the way.

Carlotta said...

This makes a HUGE amount of sense. And is really sweet of the Good Lord!

This is also a serious blind spot for women. I just talked a friend with six children out of leaving her Husband (I hope and pray) because he has made some serious financial mistakes. He is trying, he just didn't listen to her when she told him he was wrong so it is very stressful.

She just dropped about 40 pounds, got the last child weaned and is starting to want to get away from him on a constant basis.

I simply asked her "Who on earth do you think is going to step up and be willing to parent, financially support and NOT molest your SIX children?"

She got pissed and we are not speaking right now, but I hope it woke her up a bit.

We women all get stuck on thinking we are still 16 and the belle of the ball.

Res Ipsa said...


For men sexual attraction is #1 visual. We see it and like it.
When we see it and like it we want to get closer, touch it taste it, feel it and fool around with it. At that point sex is progressive; a little hand holding leads to a little touching then kissing and if all goes well, it goes all the way. At that point, for men being sexual is addictive, we get it and we must keep getting it. If we keep getting it from the same devoted women, who is fun to be with, loyal and generally pleasant to be around, we are more than happy to stick with that arrangement. It’s almost like our biology is designed that way.

So yes, we can see you at 16 marry you at 17 and wake up one day at 70 and realize we are the luckiest man on earth because we’ve been bedding a hot babe for over 50 years. It so simple for you women I don’t understand how you mess it up:
1. Look good for your man.
2. Give him great and frequent sex. He’ll tell you what he thinks is great and what is frequent enough, ask him.
3. When in doubt; touch his penis and tell him you need him.
4. Have a pleasant and courteous demeanor.
5. Be loyal in everyway.
6. Give him unconditional respect.
7. Repeat the first three points as often as possible.

Sure there may be more things you can do and there are things you should avoid. The fact is a middle aged man who has to live up to twice a days at home, isn’t going to have much energy left over for a 25 year old career vixen at work, and he is less likely to be attracted to her anyway.

The Last Gentleman said...

Short version:

Keep the talk sweet, the body fit, and the sex hot, and you will have a happy man. We aren't that complicated.

Daniel said...

Financial screw-ups are a huge problem.

Step 1 any husband (unless you are a finance wizard, then, obviously ignore) should learn in dealing with finances is "get her buy-in." That doesn't mean to abdicate decisions: make decisions, accept her counsel, and lead her to the point where she is vested in it.

It's a lot easier to deal with your disastrous financial decisions, should you be dumb enough to make them, if she is able to honestly say "WE chose this."

The other benefit of this is if it is a really stupid choice, her inability to buy-in is an important sign to follow. There are very few women who can't be persuaded to follow you in risk-taking, and if they completely buck at it over a sufficient duration, it might be worth taking a step back.

Step 2 in making financial decisions is don't make the stupid ones. i.e. don't cash in accounts at a penalty to invest in a business for which there exists no plan, don't speculate before you educate, refuse debt 9 times before considering it, know and understand the standard scams, and don't buy a boat.

Wald said...

I bet you the "love goggles" play a serious part in oneitis, too.

Anonymous said...

Hot sex isnt gonna cut it by itself, frequency is far too important to a man to just skim over.

Anonymous said...

I would say versa vice. Oneitis forgers more potent love goggles. Though, come to think of it, they are probably mutually reinforcing, resulting in a "death-spiral" effect.

Which would be a fun thing if/while the death-spiral is mutual. But worship of anything not actually divine never ends well. And, anyway, it's unlikely at the least for a woman to keep worshipping a man who worships her.

Jestin Ernest said...

somebody found a sugar daddy on the side. and then lost him when her 'bad boy' boyfriend turned out to be a little bit badder than she was expecting:

Anonymous said...

Vilayanur S. Ramachandran is probably one of the greatest doctors in the world currently, doing cutting edge work in neuroscience. Also invented the Mirror Box therapy and worked on Apotemnophilia, the abnormal desire to amputate a healthy limb. He is thinking up new things other people wish they were thinking up.

Epic mustache too.

Anonymous said...

Romeo & Juliet?

Beau said...

Why your old wife is still young and hot.

* smiling *

Anonymous said...

He may be a great doctor, but as a theorist of the brain he annoys the shit out of me. Saying that a feeling comes from the fusiform gyrus is about as useful as you saying that this comment comes from the LED panel on your laptop. While, yes, it's technically true that the information is travelling through that part of your computer, it doesn't tell you anything useful about the information itself.

In short: neuroscientists are so proud that they've located the CPU that they've forgotten to tell us anything about what it does or how it does it.

If you want a scientist that can tell you something useful about love and lust and human behaviour, you need an evolutionary psychologist or an economist, not a neuroscientist. I'd sooner take driving lessons from the guy who designed my steering wheel.

Anonymous said...

"Saying that a feeling comes from the fusiform gyrus is about as useful as you saying that this comment comes from the LED panel on your laptop."

The point is the idea is something new, and not previous known. Whereas LED and laptops are obviously known, as they are engineered by humans in the first place; the brain and CNS are not.

"In short: neuroscientists are so proud that they've located the CPU"

As they should be.

"If you want a scientist that can tell you something useful about love and lust and human behaviour,"

A neuroscientist's job is to study the brain and the CNS. This is about as stupid as complaining about a mechanical engineer using thermodynamics in his work, and then not taking into consideration philosophical issues of entropy.

"evolutionary psychologist or an economist"

Considering the track record, I'm afraid I would not put money on those horses.

kh123 said...

You were on a good roll - and me giving some amens along the way - until the evo psych/econ comment.

While the neurosci would appeal to the operational mechanism without quite knowing what it is, the latter two professions would simply appeal to - and kick back all the difficult questions towards - animal spirits of varying sorts. Normally with poor predictive or quantifiable track records.

At the least, cargo cults have some sort of physical fetish related to an actual event to reference - in their case, a shiny plane dropping supplies. It's the Scientologists appealing to their golden intergalactic 747's you have to be wary of.

SouthTX said...

This makes sense. Since taking the red pill I have seen the nature of the hamster. I now realize how easy it is to slay it. But I choose through my Faith and her long history of being a good Wife and Mother, Her.

mmaier2112 said...

Carlotta, you just became one of my heroes. I have seriously pissed off folks at times with brutal honesty, but I hope the world's a better place for it.

In fact, there are moments of serious regret in my life because I was far less brutal than I should have been.

Carlotta said...

Thanks MMaier, I have to say I honestly would have said something much stupider to her not so long ago. Truth is harsh but I pray that it saves the marriage and the children.

Daniel, it wasn't that she didn't buy in, it is that she outright told him it was a very bad idea and she wanted nothing to do with it. She turned out to be very right.
Brief exp...they were very well off and had a great business. His parents guilted him and wanted him to leave all that behind to take over a failing family business. He forced them all to pick up, sell their successful business at a massive lost (and their beautiful home) to come run the already failing family business that then...failed.

She is now knee deep in a massive fixer-uper that he now cannot fix up (they are missing flooring) and went from being well off to seriously worrying about putting food on the table for six children.

I cannot say that I would handle things better. But I saw serious danger signs (weight loss, etc) and when she called to complain again I figured it was now or never. I am praying.

I think I would have been a bad friend to encourage her on a path to hell for all involved. I am sorry it was harsh.

We shall see.

Daniel said...

Yeah, that sucks. Good sons can do incredibly stupid things in the name of family loyalty - trading good business for bad can be a huge homewrecker, and he should have thought of that.

Your advice to her is exactly spot on though: her best option is forgiveness, even though her lack of buy-in should have been a huge red flag to him (I'm assuming she's not insane and usually trusts his business judgment). That's a terrible mess, and it is your church's duty to help them out financially, and you are fulfilling yours by steering her to reconciliation.

As a practical matter, she's fooling herself completely to think that divorce will improve her financial and emotional prospects.

If nothing else, your church needs to go over and fix their floors. You can't fix everything, but you can fix that! We just spent the day today helping one believer and a couple non-believers with their homes.

PS - and good for you. That's rough advice to give.

Anonymous said...

Women are attracted to alpha males when they're most likely to get pregnant, and beta males when they're least likely. People are more afraid of snakes than cars, despite cars being a far greater cause of mortality. Hunter gatherer societies as dissimilar as Canadian Inuit and Australian Aborigines never get Autism, whereas European Jews have 30% of Nobel Prizes and 50% of Fields Medals. Etc, etc.

Evolutionary psychology is the only field that can give a coherent explanation to all these disparate phenomenon. http://sexes.martinsewell.com/ is a good summary.

As for economics, I'm more referring to microeconomics like you'll find in Freakonomics. Macroeconomics is on a much shakier grounding, but it's like weather forecasting: we simply don't have the capability to track such large non-linear systems. Microeconomics is just the study of incentives, and it works.

Neuroscience is simply the wrong level of analysis to use for complex systems. It's like building a model of traffic flow using inputs like fuel economy or tire pressure. It's never going to give you the whole picture.

pdwalker said...

Speak for yourself.

My wife still is hot and sexy, even after all the years we've been together.


Pablo said...

Spot on, Res. Every mother should teach this to her daughters. Simple but 100% true and effective.

Carlotta said...

Daniel, Their church isn't interested in helping THEM and they are not the same religion as me (my Husband also refuses to belong to a church after being subjected to several of them in my less discerning days). Otherwise I heartily agree.

There are some other reasons we haven't jumped in to help out, where with others my Husband always has gone out of his way to help. We help whoever we can whenever we can.

Some guys cannot let go of being a child, they simply cannot make decisions that would not be what their parents want but are in the best interest of their own family.

Women, we buy the lie that life will be easier if we dump the Husband.

Hopefully that will change.

scary game said...


Anonymous said...

Guess this blog is suffering the same death as other blogs Vox has derided in the past; the only thing missing is a picture of a cat.

Rico said...

I dunno... I'd take consistently hot sex once a week versus starfishing every other day.

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