Can't live with them, can't live without them. At some point you've probably entertained the idea of staying single; there'd be no one to nag you, or, conversely, to ignore you while continuing to play Call of Duty for what seems like the 12th hour. Everything was fine at first, so is your significant other intentionally trying to get under your skin? Well, not necessarily. Research dating back to the early 90's points to some clear differences between guys and gals, some of which are a byproduct of evolution (or devolution depending on your stance) and the previously unexplored functions of certain parts of the brain. So as much as we know about members of the opposite sex, there's still plenty we don't quite understand -- men are from Mars and women are from Venus after all.
There's been a lot of talk over the years about the ways in which video games are ruining an entire generation of young males. This time consuming pastime is often used as a scapegoat for laziness or anti-social behavior, a sentiment popularized by psychologist and Stanford professor emeritus, Philip Zimbardo. But as it turns out, there's some science behind your boyfriend seeming unable to turn off his Xbox, the most prominent factor being a large release of dopamine in the brain. In 2008, the Standford University School of Medi-cine found that brain activity associated with reward and addiction was much higher in men while playing video games. And as it turns out, dopamine is also responsible for feelings of euphoria, motivation and pleasure so maybe it's not so bad after all.
As a general rule of thumb, you probably shouldn't cheat on your girlfriend, but where does this inkling for infidelity come from? Well, for certain males, it may boil down to genetics. A 2008 Swedish study found that the presence of a gene called Allele 334 can cause men to feel less attached to their partners because it interferes with parts of the brain that promote monogamy. And men with two or more copies of Allele 334 were that much more likely to cheat. Successful long-term relationships were certainly possible; however, men with this genetic variation reported feeling less attached to their partners, and women could sense this as well. That being said, I should stress that this explanation isn't going to save you when your girlfriend catches you cheating. Verify at your own risk.
The Strong Silent Type:
So there's this guy who doesn't say much -- he dresses fairly well, doesn't fiddle in his desk and only speaks when called upon by a teacher. It's a bit strange, really, but there may be a reason for men exhibiting what's generally called a strong, silent type of behavior. As children, girls develop sophisti-cated language skills much faster than boys because they use an area of the brain specifi-cally for language encoding and decoding. On the other hand, boys only use specific areas of the brain depending on if the information is conveyed orally or visually, which leads to slower linguistic develop-ment. This, combined with accepted gender roles, may explain why the guys in your life don't feel like talking much, especially when it comes to their feelings.
Birds and bees the world over are doing it, but for some reason your partner only wants to show you some love after certain condi-tions are met. What gives? As a male, it's completely natural to think about sex more often than your female partner, regardless of her acting in a sexual manner towards you. There's even some science behind your staring at that pretty lady across the street, even when you know it'll send your lady over the edge. As it turns out, the hypothalamus, which is responsible for controlling body temperature, releasing hormones and controlling sexual behavior, is about twice as big in men as in women due to testosterone. Also, Stephan Hamann, a researcher at Emory University conducted a study that showed that the male amygdala, which processes emotions, was more responsive to sexual stimuli than the female amygdala. Indeed, it seems both a blessing and a curse.
Women talk. They talk about their day, clothes, feelings and well, just about every other person that walks by. Gossiping is an inevitable part of life, good or bad, and one that is more often committed by the fairer sex. But as history shows, gossiping has held a functional place in the way women navigate society. David Geary, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, suggests that this form of relational aggres-sion actually helped women survive at one point in time. In tribal days, women were shuffled into a new tribe after marriage, and having strong language skills was helpful in adapting and settling into a new commu-nity. Research from scientists at Northwest-ern University supports a physiological relation between superior language and communication skills in females. In the days of sticks and stones, men may have had spears and weapons but women had their words.
Do you ever wonder how your girlfriend or mom can always tell when you’re in a bad mood? Whether you like it or not, you know they’ll repeatedly pester you with, “Is everything okay? Are you sure?” Often, your resounding, “I’m fine,” doesn’t get them to lay off but you need to know you can’t fault them; they are only acting on natural instincts. Author Dr. Louann Brizendine suggests that a more active mirror-neuron system is responsible for females greater aptitude to empathize. In action, empathy is the ability to read facial responses and vocal intona-tion. It’s suggested this is a natural evolu-tionary trait that has evolved more strongly in women, stemming from the necessity for a mother to interact with and respond to their young children non-verbally. So in a way, women can read your mind; hence why they always expect you to read theirs.
When it comes to confrontation or being wronged, it seems that a woman never forgets. Dr. John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, sites research showing there may be a physi-ological explanation for why a female’s memory is, in fact, stronger than that of a male. The area of the brain that functions as the “memory center” (the hippocampus) is larger and more active in women than men. This area is specifically responsible for converting short-term memories into long-term memories – a good thing to remem-ber for communicating in relationships. So ladies, cut your guy some slack next time he forgets your favorite latte order. And fellas, when your female counterpart brings up the time you bought the wrong laundry detergent three months ago, try to forgive her, she literally can’t help but remember.
By: Riley Carithers
Most students complain about attending class just fifteen hours a week. Students in the Master of Fine Arts Acting program however put in enough hours to more than double that of a regular course load. Beginning at 10 a.m. and ending as late as 11 p.m., mornings are filled helping teach undergraduate courses, followed by afternoons in class perfecting their own techniques and evenings spent in rehearsal. If that weren’t enough, the already packed schedule is supplemented by weekends spent in more rehearsal. This schedule alone shows the commitment, true dedication and passion these students have for their craft.
The MFA program at USC is a graduate degree at USC that focuses on a specialization in acting, making it the only program of its kind in the state. Headed by professors Robyn Hunt and Steve Pearson, the three-year degree program works like a small company. A select group of students are accepted every two years through national auditions. The students then spend two academic years training at USC before using the third year for a professional internship.
Built upon the idea that, “all training is actor training,” students in the program enroll in a combination of traditional acting classes, which may for example, focus on Shakespeare, but range to voice training and even brushing up on skills such as clowning. The integration of actor training is part of what makes USC’s program so unique. Professor Robyn Hunt explains,
“When I went to school for my MFA it was very different – all the training was so separate. One of the things we attempt to do here is make sure that it all addresses that moment when you go on stage and have all systems be ‘go’.”
Professor’s Hunts MFA physical movement class, based upon a philosophy taken from Japanese actor training, is just one example of the combination of techniques and influences that give the program its distinction. Through various movement experiments, both formal and improvised, the actors work to increase the physical clarity and conviction in all they do on the stage, and to continually enlarge the degree to which their minds and bodies work as one. And rather than try to show emotion, they continue to experiment with finding ways to 'take action,' so the resulting sensations are close--though not exactly like--daily life. First year MFA student Trey Hobbs explains the work, “deal[s] with how instead of showing a feeling - how do we just ‘do’ and how do we make our bodies express what our mind and imagination is capable of.”
The long hours and different teaching styles prepare the students to graduate abilities to perform across all platforms, in stage, film or commercial and even with the credentials to teach at the college level.
First-year MFA student, Cory Lipman, explains, “What is wonderful about the program is that regardless of the medium, the education that you are getting is learning to be truthful in imaginary circumstances whether you are doing film or stage, that is at the core.”
With such an unusual course load, much different than a stereotypical acting studio, it seems fitting that their building is a bit out of the ordinary, too. A pair of unassuming, oversized, white doors tucked away on the horseshoe mark the entrance to USC’s Center for Performance Experiment. Enter the doors and behold a collection of tall scaffolding structures, framed by sheets of neutral fabric hanging from the ceiling. There isn’t a stage in sight– and although it may appear similar to an over-sized playground, the MFA acting students’ talent makes it clear their work is much more than child’s play.
Professor Steve Pearson, explains its significance, “[the program] is sort of centered around this space. All of working around theater is an experiment, with any kind of art - you are working on change and you are working on something that you don’t know what the out come is going to be.”
The MFA Actors perform throughout the semester, putting on their own productions and performing in some of the Theater Departments mainstage shows. Whether an experimental production or a well-known comedy, their performances are surely worth the experience, for as Professor Robyn Hunt explains, “Acting isn’t about whether the actor feels the emotion, it is about whether the audience feels the emotion, that is who you are trying to change.”