Archive for November, 2011


Become a Certified Epic Hugger!

This post will explain the meaning of this:

 

But, I’ll start with an anecdote. My colleague Kevin and I were having a hug-fest on the streets of Manhattan, along with an acquaintance I’ll call “Robert.” Hug-fests are simple: we just offer hugs to people, and give them if they say they want one. It’s extremely fun. Then we got onto the subway, and, as so often happens on New York subways, a woman entered the car and began making a speech about needing money.

Kevin and I grew up in NYC and have been hardened to these sob stories and pleas, but our friend Robert felt differently. He got up, stood in front of the woman and said “Ma’am, I don’t have any money, but I can give you a hug.”

Needless to say, I was mortified. I have seen panhandlers get angry and aggressive with harmless bystanders. Robert could be hurting her pride or crossing a personal boundary or something else terrible!  Continue reading

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The flood of research on oxytocin doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon! (And we couldn’t be happier about it.) Just yesterday, CNN reported on a new study from Oregon State University, which seemed to indicate that empathy and social skills are strongly influenced by variations in an oxytocin receptor gene.

In the study, OSU scientists swabbed saliva from one partner in each of 23 couples they’d recruited, in order to test for their variant of the gene. They then videotaped them listening as their partner described a difficult time in their lives. Next, the scientists played the videos, muted, for another group of 116 people. They asked this group to rate the recorded partners on kindness, caring, and trustworthiness based solely on body language.

The gene in question can manifest in any of “GG,” “GA,” or “AA” variants. Six out of the 10 partners judged “most prosocial” were found to possess the “GG” genotype for the receptor gene; 9 of the 10 “least trustworthy” partners were found to possess at least one “A” variant. Continue reading

Cuddle Labs’ Plan

Here at Cuddle Labs, we believe that our knowledge of practical cuddling technique is what separates us from other cuddling theorists. We are, if you will, the world’s leading Cuddle Engineers. (We prefer to leave the more-expensive, less-soft scientific inquiry into the reason for our existence—oxytocin—in better-suited hands.) While an earlier post laid out our overarching cuddling framework, we’ve yet to tell you what the future of the site holds in store.

Magic 8-Ball Response: "Don't Count on It."

"Are you going to become a webcomic?"

In upcoming posts, Cuddle Labs will provide a great deal of “cuddling position” posts, suggesting different cuddling techniques and detailing their important features. Because Cuddle Labs is concerned with the optimization of all your physical social contact, these positions will fall into a number of categories. To find out more, read on. Continue reading

Defining Cuddling, Spooning, and Other Comfy Words

When discussing scientific phenomena, it’s important to define your terms. After all, if you think that spooning and cuddling are the same thing (as some people seem to,) you’ll be awfully confused when we rail against the former and celebrate the latter. As a result, we felt it was necessary to dedicate a post to explaining what we intend when we use many common touch-related words. See our definitions after the jump! Continue reading

Oxytocin: More Good News

We’ve been waiting for this one to become available for a long time. Ladies and gentlemen, a talk by neuroeconomist and oxytocin scholar Paul Zak has gone online at TED.com. In it, he details his personal research on the “cuddle hormone,” suggesting that its effects may be even greater than previously imagined. Zak argues that oxytocin is the “moral molecule,” responsible for human goodness—and he brings the science to back it up.

All Cuddle Labs fans should watch this video. Zak’s research on oxytocin has uncovered yet more reasons for the work that we do. Cuddling deserves consideration! This talk explains why.

Oxytocin: The Real Elixir of Love

I don’t know about you, but I always dreamed of discovering a magical potion that would melt away my sorrows and fill me with a sense of warmth and love for all humanity.

Love Potion

Of course, as I grew older, I realized this was an unrealistic goal. And then I started my research on cuddling!

Turns out, humans naturally produce an amazing chemical that really can improve our lives all around. If you’ve read other Cuddle Labs posts (or the title of this post) you’ll know the chemical to which I refer is… OXYTOCIN!

Continue reading

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