4. Methodology II: The Filter Tests
The tests of compatibility carried out by the receptive areas are then accompanied by further tests carried out by the active areas, which will be called ‘filter tests’. Indeed, if the possibility of the tie-up is regulated by the switching on of the RAs and by the success of the compatibility tests, the active areas have the faculty of pointing the selective attention of each subject toward certain potential partners instead of others, on the basis of the capacity of the former to conform to a series of norms and social conventions of particular relevance in the socio-cultural context under examination. In contexts characterized by marked gender inequalities, for instance, a female personality with strong autonomy and/or significant cultural and intellective skills could send a negative signal from the point of view of the ‘filter tests’, in that such personality traits prefigure a high propensity to question male leadership, thus threatening its social validation , and contradict the social expectations according to which men would be endowed with a superior level of intelligence in a wide array of dimensions .
The fact that a potential partner fails to pass one or more filter tests damages the possible formation of a couple much less than what would be the case with a failed compatibility test. However, such a failure may nevertheless make the operation of the TU-C so prohibitive in a hostile social environment to compromise the stability of the couple even in the presence of a profound compatibility between the partners as evaluated on the basis of the responses of the respective RAs, as widely illustrated by so many romantic tragedies. It is of course possible that conflicts with an opposite sign arise, that is, the formation of a couple essentially due to the action of criteria of social conformity, which however failed to pass the reciprocal compatibility tests. Also possible are situations where compatibility and conformity are not in conflict but pull in the same direction, either in a positive (two compatible partners who form a couple that conforms to social norms) or in a negative sense (two incompatible partners, whose couple does not conform to social norms but that nevertheless are bonded due to the action of external forces).
Understanding in more depth the effect of various possible categories of filter tests and the consequences of the interaction between compatibility and filter tests for the typology of possible couples that may emerge, be them tied-up or not, is the goal of the next sections.
4.1. Concordance and Opposition between Areas
Both the active and the receptive areas tend to form an evaluation of an opposite sex subject that has raised the interest of one or both areas . Such evaluations are elaborated on the basis of the results of the respective tests, whose indications may be concordant or divergent according to cases. The concordance between the areas of a same subject indicates the absence of internal conflict of any nature, with respect to an actual or potential partner. Like in the case of two subjects who, despite the differences in their viewpoints on a same topic, fully agree in their overall orientations, AA and RA are in a dialogue as to the results of the respective tests, and end up being concordant when the final outcome of their evaluations is positive or negative for both.
As we have seen, the tie-up theory, in its basic formulation, stresses the crucial importance, for the purpose of the TU, of the compatibility tests carried out by both RAs, male and female, highlighting their sex-related specificities: The test of biological compatibility for women, and test of psychological compatibility for men. As these tests are not consciously activated, it is possible to intervene on them, at a conscious level, only as regards the conditions for their operation, by favoring them or, on the contrary, by inhibiting them as much as possible. Many social behaviors in different epochs and cultures were targeted at limiting or encouraging the compatibility tests. For instance, this was the case in the separation of many activities, such as school attendance, work, entertainment, and so on, into sexually homogeneous groups, or to the opposite, by facilitating meetings between opposite sex subjects through, for instance, dancing parties and receptions. A particularly isolating outfit, such as the burqa, in use in some Muslim cultures, has the social rationale of blocking male glances, but as a matter of fact also implicitly blocks any possibility for the woman to activate her biological compatibility test, which is extremely sensitive to the slightest sensory input. Sharing the same environment and carrying out common activities ends up facilitating the male psychological compatibility tests much more than what is instead possible in those traditional societies that rely upon fixed stereotyped characterizations of sex roles. In such societies, the possibility and expressive richness of the interaction is limited, as such interaction is shaped by social conventions that discourage a deeper communication. The test operated by the RA is indispensable for the tie-up to the partner, but as already discussed is not enough, alone, to guarantee the emergence and persistence of the TU-C. Even if both partners are reciprocally tied-up, that is, if a double tie-up (D-TU) emerges-an indispensable condition for the stability of the TU-C-this is once more not sufficient for the good functioning of the TU-C. The difference is then determined by the positions taken by the male and female AAs, in terms of concordance vs. opposition, to the results of the compatibility tests carried out by the RAs.