Preferential curves - animation and explanation

Czech version

PhDr. Mgr. Jeroným Klimeš, Ph.D. 2017-04-22

Preferential curves explain human behavior by breakups and life in a partnership. They are a constituting part of my theory of a reaction to an ambivalent object which was the theme of my PhD. thesis (The thesis is only in Czech language. English speaking reader can find a concise information about them in the second chapter of my book Partners and breakups (english version). Unfortunately people do not much understand them, so I try to explain them easily on a deer.

When aproaching a deer, there are two points, two distances, where the deer abruptly changes his behavior.

Critical, attack distance →

In small distance, the deer do not escape from us anymore, but attacks us with his hoofs, and will beat us to death.

Have a look at this video.

Flight distance →

The point at which the deer starts
to flight away from us.

The deer knows about us, but is doing nothing.

He observes us from a big distance, but he

neither flights away,

nor attacks us.

We can see similar lines in a space, where cows collectively change their behavior, at this video.

There invisible lines in space around a deer and around us as well. Our behavior, feelings, experiences and also related rhetorics changes abruptly on these lines.

Do not stick to me!

I want to be alone for a while.
I need my space.

The averse, repulsive forces activate here →
The curve of aversion, repulsion →

I am all right.

Everything is OK. Nothing bothers me.

Neither attractive, nor repulsive forces are activated here.

I miss you! I love you!

I forgave you everything. Please return.

← There are activated attractive, appetent forces since this point.
← The curve of attraction.

We know these two invisible lines from proxemics and ethology, so nothing astonishingly new. I just added to these curves a second variable, namely activation, where there exists similar borders, and I plotted them in the chart bellow. This way there appeared so called preferential curves which are similar to the theory of supply and demand in economy, as it is also a system of two opposing forces which look for their point of equilibrium. The other reason why the preferential curves are similar to supply and demand is personal. I have studied microeconomics not long time before I started to write my Ph.D. thesis, as I was fascinated by it.

Theory of reaction to an ambivalent object deals in detail, what happend, when these curves move or change, how it will change the partners, their rhetorics, sexual behavior or jealousy. Simply, an ambivalent system is such a system, which shows two opposing tendencies at the same time - to approach and at the same time to retreat, to activate and calm down at the same time, or to go to a forest or stay at home at the same time.

As you can see, the preferential curves are quite exactly defined. There is a problem rather with a definition of psychic distance. We can measure it in meters, as in the case of the deer, but we have to use other means of measurement in most cases. For instance number of phone calls per day, number of sexual intercourse per week, number of strokes per day, etc. The best indicator of an activation of any of preferential curves with humans is a change of rhetorics. E.G. the sex was no theme for debates during dating, but when the children has been born it started to be endless source of discussions. In other words, we can see that the man became so called a retroflector and and his wife is suddenly a deflector and there appeared quite typical partnership asymmetry in the realm of sex. Well, there are even worse partnership asymmetries, say distribution of guilt (reproaches).

I use following animations at my lectures. I programmed them first in Macromedia Flash, but it was replaces by a new norm HTML5, so I had to do it again.

1. animation - Influence of psychic distance on perception of another persons' attractivity.

This is just a reminder, that objects change their properties in our mind when changing psychic distance, activation, and other unusual variables.

2. animation - Abrupt change of rhetorics comes with an activation of any of preferential curves.

You can learn here the terms I use for description of these types of behavior (deflector, retroflector, inhibitor, activator).

3. animation - The preferential curves in romantic partnerships

The third animation demonstrates consequences in partnership interactions, namely oscillations, or inability of peaceful cohabitation. Try to find a point where both Marcia and Charlie Brown are happy at the same time.