What’s love got to do with it? – February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day, PPGR enthusiasts!

This week, we’ve brought you articles that look at the role of public policy in human interaction – from igniting new relationships to overcoming feelings of loneliness. And what is technology’s role in all this – does it connect us to one another or drive us further apart? Check out the articles below to learn more!

This week’s Morning Brief was prepared by Cindy Liu. Sign up here to receive the Morning Brief directly to your inbox.

Bears Love Cute Heart Valentine's Day Bear Sweet

  • Japan is facing a demographic time bomb of an ageing population and low fertility rate. The Japanese government is putting 3 billion yen towards a matchmaking service in hopes of boosting the country’s birth rate. So, what exactly is the government’s role in sparking connections? Many Japanese jurisdictions have used these funds to host machikon, or matchmaking parties, to pair up lonely singles. [Hatoski/PPGR]
  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May made headlines last month by appointing a Minister for Loneliness, in response to the growing problem of social isolation. This problem is becoming a public health crisis in developed countries – sustained periods without interaction with others can cut our lifespan by as much as 15 cigarettes a day! Some say Canada should follow the UK’s example and take action. But can bureaucracy really solve a problem of human intimacy? [Sorestad/PPGR]
  • Canada’s fertility rate has been falling over the last several decades, as more women choose to have fewer children. Meanwhile, our southern neighbour has a birth rate that is the highest in the industrialized world. So, what are the social and demographic factors at play that influence Americans to have larger families? [Ubelacker/The Star]
  • Is technology the answer to social isolation and loneliness? Research has shown that virtual reality (VR) experiences can tackle social disconnect and improve wellness. VR uses audio, visuals, touch, and even scent, to engage participants in an immersive and emotional experience. Connecting people isn’t the only thing VR has been able to do – researchers have also found that this technology can foster pro-environmentalist behaviour, empathy, and pro-sociality. [Quesnel/The Citizen]
  • And, just for fun: Canada’s figure-skating sweethearts, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir struck gold with their heartfelt routine, performed to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. Although not actually in love, the duo’s performance blew up the Internet, and now everyone wants them to be! [Harris/The Star]

We hope these articles have warmed your clinical policy-wonk hearts this chilly Wednesday morning. The next edition of the Brief will be making its way to your inboxes on February 21st.