Monday, June 16, 2008
Having a friend at your side can turn a mountain into a molehill.
Simone Schnall at the University of Plymouth, UK, and her colleagues asked students to estimate the steepness of a hill by tilting a board to match its slope.
Students with a friend nearby assessed the hill at 10 to 15 per cent less steep compared with those who were alone during the test. The longer the friends had known each other and the warmer their relationship, the less steep the hill appeared.
Schnall's team also found that just thinking about a close friend or family member - as opposed to a neutral person, or someone you dislike - made the hill appear up to 20 per cent gentler (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2008.04.011).
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