… avoid sharp knives

December 22, 2007

One of the newer science blogs, Neuroanthropology has an interesting post which shows the sort of imagination you need to be a researcher in this field. The salient quote, highly appropriate for the holiday season is:

A half-hour argument with your lover can also slow your body’s ability to heal by at least a day. In couples who regularly argue, that healing time is doubled again

How do they know this, well read on ….

Researchers at Ohio State University discovered this by testing married couples with a suction device that created tiny blisters on their arm. When couples were then asked to talk about an area of disagreement that provoked strong emotions, the wounds took around 40 per cent longer to heal. This response, say researchers, was caused by a surge in cytokines — immune-molecules that trigger inflammation. Chronic high levels of these are linked to arthritis, diabetes, heart-disease and cancer.

Now read this carefully, it’s not the argument, but talking about the argument that produces the response. All that touchy-feely stuff in marriage and relationship counseling is making things worse not better! Have the argument, get it out of system and move on. I realise the more astute may make a link to my post of yesterday, but that is argument as sport or recreation, I get the impression the researchers are dealing with the darker side of debate.

For the avoidance of doubt (some people can be so serious) I am being ironic here. In contrast, a serious lesson I draw from research (and read the post for some fascinating stuff on laughter) is that the interconnectivity of individuals in a social setting is more important for health than the selfish pursuit of self-interest. Its a pity we have built an economic system on the assumption that selfishness is the best operating principle for society, otherwise known as market forces. Given the cost of health provision, maybe a little bit more on learning to live with, and interact with diversity, might be worth an investment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

About the Cynefin Company

The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

Cognitive Edge Ltd. & Cognitive Edge Pte. trading as The Cynefin Company and The Cynefin Centre.


Social Links: The Cynefin Company
Social Links: The Cynefin Centre
< Prev

… there of necessity will be much arguing

- No Comments

Dr Paul Thomas of DNA Wales and Director of the Welsh Research Unit for Governance ...

More posts

Next >

“The world was all before them”

- No Comments

We had the obligatory family outing to see The Golden Compass last weekend. I was ...

More posts

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram