There's a commentary today by Wired "Sex Drive" columnist Regina Lynn about researchers who study "virtual relationships." Basically, they use a Choose Your Own Adventure-style quiz that asks the participant to make choices in a fictional relationship. The end result is an assessment of a person's "attachment style," from high anxiety and low avoidance (preoccupied) to low anxiety and high avoidance (dismissing). Lynn writes:
I took the study's survey myself and found my fictional partner so immature, and the assumptions the story made about my emotions so inaccurate, that in most cases neither of the options was anything close to what I'd do. Nor did I have the option of "dump his ass and move on," which should have been listed at the end of every scenario.
Lynn's point is that so many actual relationships are going on online — via IMs, emails and other "digital trails" — that the researchers should try and tap into decisions real people make in real situations.
We took the quiz and named our fictional boyfriend Benicio Del Toro, which was probably a bad idea because the quiz quickly informed us: "You've just returned home after a long day. You have a lot of work you have to get done before tomorrow, and you're looking forward to relaxing before you get started. Right as you are getting ready to sit down, Benicio Del Toro calls." The choices? "Sure, come on over." or "I'm sorry, I have too much work to get done tonight." Um, it's Benicio! Of course we want him to come over right away!