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Looking at Love in the Fast Lane

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Educators concerned about a decline in science vocations can take heart from the story of Danny Goldsmith, a budding young behaviorist in suburban Washington, D.C., who recently turned his attention to a study of love among the commuting class.

After hearing a joke at the dinner table about people kissing in the drop-off lane marked "kiss and ride" at the local subway station, Danny, a student at University Park Elementary School in Hyattsville, Md., decided to observe whether commuters using those lanes actually do kiss more than those who use other lanes.

He began his task by calling on his parents for scientific assistance. "My dad taught me about percentages," says Danny. Together with his parents, Danny observed the morning rush-hour crowd two days a week for two weeks. He found that even among the harried 9-to-5 set, commuters did in fact kiss more often when using the lanes designated for that purpose. In fact, he says, 80 percent of those using the kiss-and-ride lane kissed, compared with only 32 percent in the unmarked lane.

Danny's project not only won him extra credit, it garnered one of four grand prizes at the county's science fair for elementary students.

Danny is now turning his observational skills to an in-depth analysis of his dog's favorite bones. The 9-year-old aspires to a career as a teacher or a police scientist.

"I like to work with fingerprints and develop innovations," Danny says.

He also learned something else about human behavior, he says.

"It got funny at times," he recalls. "One girl wanted her boyfriend to kiss her, but he wouldn't. So she grabbed him by the collar and pulled him into the driver's seat."

But that's a lesson for another course.

--skg

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