Tough Love is the Best Kind of Love, Study Says

Southerners, especially Texans, are a no-nonsense kind of people. We may be warm and welcoming, but we don't suffer fools gladly and if we have something important to tell you, then we're gonna tell it to you straight. A new study shows that this kind of tough love might actually be the best for you.

A study published in Science Daily asserts that, in the long run, producing emotions like fear and anger in people we care about can actually have a positive effect on them.

"We have shown that people can be 'cruel to be kind.'" That is, they may decide to make someone feel worse if this emotion is beneficial for that other person," researcher Belén López-Pérez stated.

In the study, psychological scientists had 140 people play a video game with another anonymous player. Study participants were also asked to help their partner win a game.

The games had premises like surviving a zombie apocalypse or fighting a war. In order to help them win, the players often chose tactics that induce fear or anger. This created a tough love scenario for their game partner.

In actuality, the anonymous partner was a computer simulation designed to record the study participants' responses. The scientists surmised that the tough love approach could be beneficial in certain situations.

"We identified several everyday examples where this might be the case. For instance, inducing fear of failure in a loved one who is procrastinating instead of studying for an exam," López-Pérez stated.

So the next time you feel the need to show someone some tough love, go with that instinct. You could very well be helping your loved one. Read more about the study on Science Daily.


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Tough Love is the Best Kind of Love, Study Says