Ah, the influence brigade are back in town. But for once they have put down their videogame controllers and have turned their gaze from violent horror movie to the insidious harm done to us by ROMANTIC COMEDIES! As this study suggests (in no way conclusively in my mind but it is on-going research) romantic comedies put forward an unrealistic view of relationships and thus promote lack of communication. Which if you have ever seen the relative match between the attractiveness of the man and the woman in most rom-coms the word unrealistic does not even come close. That said does it really mean women in the seventies all harbour secret desires for Woody Allen.

“As part of the project, 100 student volunteers were asked to watch the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity, while a further 100 watched a David Lynch drama.”

OK, there are a number of things worth pointing out about this research:
a) Serendipity STINKS. Its a good choice because it does have at its heart the most unrealistic “love at first sight and if we were meant to be then we will be together” plot ever, but it is so bad it should really turn you against romance forever and lead to a life of empowered monogamy.
b) What David Lynch Film
c) Actually scratch that, the idea that a David Lynch film (DUNE!) is the polar opposite of a romantic comedy is possibly something worth following up.
d) Were the Lynch audience also tested for a shift in their beliefs after seeing it. As Tom just pointed out to me, “Students watching the romantic film were later found to be more likely to believe in fate and destiny. Students watching the other film were later found to be more likely to believe that a l3sbian dwarf guards the hidden door to the spirit world.”

When boiled down the thesis seems to boil down to “people like stuff that reinforces their world view”. What will be a lot harder to prove is what comes first, love for unrealistic romantic ideals or the love for romantic comedies. And since this one is still way up in the air when if comes to violent films, I’d be surprised if anything particularly conclusive will come out for this one.

But if you want to help and take part in the study, you can go to the website here (and find out more about the research). Note it is being done by the Family And Relationship Laboratory at Herriot-Watt University, which I assumes can also titrate pure sadness from the tears from a tiny baby, and developed the Tantrumeter to measure arguments. Which begs the question, what is the SI unit for argument?