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Archive for January, 2010

Threats and the Perception of Time

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A co-worker and I the other day were discussing how to get hit by a train. (Never mind how we got on the subject. Conversations in hospitals can take strange turns.) I brought up something that a guy I used to know — he worked for Amtrak, and still does, I think — told me: you can’t tell how fast a train is coming at you if you’re standing in front of it. People on a track see a train coming, they think they have lots of time, but they don’t.

Then I read this article, which fleshes out the brain’s perception of time in threatening situations:

Finally, the effect might be due to the intrinsic dynamic properties of the stimulus, such that the brain estimates time based on the number of changes in an event.

Of particular relevance to the third hypothesis is the observation that looming stimuli are associated with a distorted subjective perception of time, such that their duration is perceived to be longer than it actually is. Marc Wittmann and his colleagues exploited this in their new study. They recruited 20 participants…

For more information on how to work with someone’s perception of time, go read Does time dilate during a threatening situation?

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 31st, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Time

Spot the Polarity Responder

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This is from Fail Blog, but I’m not so sure it isn’t a Win.
epic fail pictures

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 31st, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Left Field

To a Thesaurus

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Someone dear to me loves her thesaurus. When I read To A Thesaurus today on the Futility Closet blog, I thought of her. Then I thought of you guys! Here’s the first verse:

O precious code, volume, tome,
Book, writing, compilation, work,
Attend the while I pen a pome,
A jest, a jape, a quip, a quirk.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 20th, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Aggression is In Your Face

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We’ve intuited for ages that faces reflect personalities, and that we can “tell just by looking at them” what a person is really like. Some new research is bearing out our intuition, at least in the domain of aggression:

Volunteers viewed photographs of faces of men for whom aggressive behavior was previously assessed in the lab. The volunteers rated how aggressive they thought each person was on a scale of one to seven after viewing each face for either 2000 milliseconds or 39 milliseconds.

The photographs were very revealing: Volunteers’ estimates of aggression correlated highly with the actual aggressive behavior of the faces viewed, even if they saw the picture for only 39 milliseconds.

Facial Features May Predict Volatility is on Psych Central.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 16th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Posted in Calibration,Psych

It Really Is Body Language

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A recent article on the Lingformant blog points to some compelling new research on how we parse gestures:

Your ability to make sense of Groucho’s words and Harpo’s pantomimes in an old Marx Brothers movie takes place in the same regions of your brain, says new research funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the National Institutes of Health.

You can read the synopsis at Words, Gestures Are Translated by Same Brain Regions.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 16th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Posted in Linguistic,Neuro

Free Name Tags

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OK, so it isn’t NLP-related, but I know there are those of us who run trainings and who manage practice groups and such, and there are times when it’s useful to have professional-looking name tags for the folks in the room. So I’d like to draw your attention to They have more than 60 ready-to-use printable name tags that you can download and print for free. (They take Avery 5395 or compatible adhesive labels, or plain paper.)

The Employee name tags might be great for associate trainers or other helpers you’ve got, and the Hello tags for your participants. Unless you’ve got an interesting sense of humor, of course.

Incidentally, the folks who run that site have lots of other free printable stuff for your business, too.

(Thanks, Lifehacker!)

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 16th, 2010 at 10:06 pm

The Proper Use of the Colon

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Sorry… there’s just no better title for this post. I’m talking about the punctuation mark that looks like : .

In the spirit of a couple of recent posts on punctuation (the use of the comma and the apostrophe), I’d like to refer you to DumbLittleMan’s Guide to Colon Use.

The high points are the following nine, though there are a few more:

  1. To introduce a list
  2. To introduce direct speech
  3. When showing an example
  4. To offer a conclusion
  5. To explain something more fully
  6. To Introduce a subtitle
  7. As a substitution for a conjunction
  8. To link independent clauses
  9. To Introduce a question

(Hey, I used one to introduce a list!)

Get the full story at The DumbLittleMan Guide to Colon Use.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 15th, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Linguistic

An Easier Way to Detect Lies

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Cognitive Daily recently posted some research that may give us an easier way to improve our ability to tell when other people are lying to us:

But what if there was a shortcut in sniffing out a lie, relying on our own instinctual behavior? Would it be possible to improve the lie-detecting abilities of ordinary people without all that training? A team led by Mariëlle Stel had a hunch that our tendency to mimic the physical and facial expressions of the people we are speaking to might help us to tell when they are lying.

It isn’t what you are probably thinking. I think you’ll be surprised. Check it out:

Is There an Easier Way to Detect Lies Than What You See on TV?

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 15th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Reading Basic Emotions

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Eyes for Lies points to a sweet video by Dr. David Matsumoto, “Characteristics of Basic Emotions”. In it, Dr. Matsumoto explains the differences between the seven “basic” or “universal” emotions and the rest.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 15th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Modeling Great Teachers

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Amanda Ripley, author of the truly excellent book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why, is, it appears, also interested in the education of children. In a very recent blog post titled “What Makes a Teacher Great?“, she refers us to some conclusions on the subject:

Finally, we can identify extraordinary teachers—with data, not hearsay—and investigate what they are doing differently. We can even make more of them. The question is, Will we?

Her blog entry points to an extensive and well-written article in The Atlantic, also written by Ms. Ripley.

(See also: Teach for America)

Do you know any teachers like this?

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 6th, 2010 at 2:33 am