Happy Valentine's Day! Try Out This Marital Rating Scale

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maritalratingscale_wife.jpg

In reading John Hendel's excellent piece about the introduction of "computer dating" in the 1960s, I became intrigued by one of the organizations that he mentioned: The Scientific Marriage Foundation. That group attempted to match people up via an IBM sorting machine beginning in 1957. But even more intriguing (or hilarious) was the earlier work of its founder, George Crane.

In the 1930s, he went around to a bunch of husbands and said, "Hey husband, what does your wife do that annoys you?" And then he added all those complaints up and created a handy chart that let you rate your spouse against the generic ideal/anti-ideal. That's what you see in the chart above.

Here's a little more explanation from the American Psychological Association's magazine:

Although most people who read the test today find it humorous and obviously dated, Crane did attempt to make it scientific. His method was to interview 600 husbands on their wives' positive and negative qualities. Then he listed the 50 demerits and merits that arose most frequently. Crane, did admit to using a personal bias in weighting the items that he thought were most important in marriage.
maritalratingscale_husband.jpg

Thanks to Leanne O'Donnell for sending in the husband chart, too!

Image: American Psychological Association magazine, Monitor.


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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