“Game of Thrones” in real life: How kinship changed war in early modern Europe

When the mutual relatives of two royal families died, the countries were likelier to go to war.

Amadée Forestier/Public Domain
  • A new paper finds that royal marriages were able to reduce wars in proportion to how closely they bound dynasties together.
  • The most peaceful century in the history of Early Modern Europe was the most intermarried.
  • The exact mechanism causing this is not fully determined, though the authors suggest a large part of it was easing diplomacy.
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How Europeans wear wedding rings, and what it says about them

For a purely binary choice, wearing a ring either on the left or right hand can say a lot about the wearer.

Credit: Reddit/MapPorn
  • Europeans are getting married less, but wearing a wedding ring is more standardised than ever.
  • Standardised doesn't mean homogenised: some countries prefer rings on the left, others on the right.
  • However, this map does not capture the range of subtleties that wearing a ring on either side can convey.
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Human sexual desire: Is monogamy natural?

Monogamy is often considered a key component of traditional marriages, but it's only half the story.

  • Depending on who you ask, monogamy is either essential to a successful marriage or it is unrealistic and sets couples up for failure.
  • In this video, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, psychologist Chris Ryan, former Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman, and psychotherapist Esther Perel discuss the science and culture of monogamy, the role it plays in making or breaking relationships, and whether or not humans evolved to have one partner at a time.
  • "The bottom line is, for millions of years, there were some reproductive payoffs not only to forming a pair bond but also to adultery," says Fisher, "leaving each one of us with a tremendous drive to fall in love and pair up, but also some susceptibility to cheating on the side."

Study: 33% of people fantasize about being in a sexually open relationship

Most said they want to act on their desire someday. But do open relationships actually work?

Credit: Pixabay
  • The study involved 822 Americans who were in monogamous relationships at the time.
  • Participants answered questions about their personalities, sexual fantasies, and intentions to act on those fantasies.
  • Research suggests practicing consent, comfort, and communication makes open relationships more likely to succeed.
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Being in a frisky mood may improve your chances in the dating world

Positive, romantic thoughts could produce positive, romantic outcomes while dating.

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  • Fear of rejection, self-doubt, and anxiety are just some of the obstacles humans need to overcome to make a meaningful, romantic connection with another person.
  • According to a 2020 project by a group of psychologists at the University of Rochester (and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya), humans see possible romantic partners as a lot more attractive if they go into the interaction with a "sexy mindset."
  • Across three separate studies, this team discovered that this sexual activation helps people initiate relationships by inducing them to project their desires onto prospective partners.
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