Your normally cheerful spouse has turned cranky, and an otherwise pleasant day is fast becoming a scene from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Sound familiar?
Give them some carbohydrates - and fast.
That's the advice of a team of Ohio State researchers who found that when blood glucose levels fell, spouses were far more likely to stick pins into voodoo dolls representing their mates. They were also likelier to blast loud noises into earphones strapped to their mate's head.
For three weeks, the spouses' glucose levels were checked in the morning, before breakfast, and before bed. Each participant got a voodoo doll with 51 pins and was told: This doll represents your spouse. At the end of each day, insert between 0 and 51 pins in the doll, depending how angry you are with them. Then, after 21 days, they played a "game": Participants were told to compete with their spouse to see who could press a button faster when a target square turned red on the computer. The winner on each trial could blast the loser with loud noise through headphones. In reality, the game, and the punishment, were a sham.