Sunday, December 10, 2006

He Thought, She Thought She'd Backpedal

A short interview with Dr. Louann Brizendine in today's New York Times Magazine.
He Thought, She Thought
Published: December 10, 2006

. . . [skipping the part about oxytocin and dopamine in sixth grade girls...]

Your book cites a study claiming that women use about 20,000 words a day, while men use about 7,000.

The real phraseology of that should have been that a woman has many more communication events a day — gestures, words, raising of your eyebrows.
Is that "should have been" backpedaling phraseology because of this Boston Globe article by Mark Liberman, who had previously written three excellent critiques of the 20,000 vs. 7,000 claim in Language Log?

While we're in the
NYT Magazine, let's take a look at some of the psychology- and neuroscience-influenced entries in their 6th Annual Year in Ideas.

CB illustration from
Cecilia Burman's site on prosopagnosia, or face blindness.

The Visage Problem

. . .

Face-blindness can be sadly debilitating: in some cases, parents can’t tell which kindergartner is theirs; sufferers become shut-ins, overwhelmed by a world full of blank faces. Before their diagnosis, many people with prosopagnosia assume that they are just socially awkward. "You have a perceptual problem, and you self-ascribe," Nakayama says. "You say you are an introvert." If the 2.5 percent figure is correct, millions of Americans may be misreading a glitch in their cognitive software — analogous to colorblindness — as a personality flaw.

Here's a nifty device for people with autism:
The Social-Cue Reader
. . .

The Emotional-Social Intelligence Prosthesis, developed by Rana el Kaliouby and Rosalind Picard, consists of a small camera mounted on a cap or glasses that monitors a conversation partner’s facial expressions and feeds the data into a hand-held computer. Software tracks the movement of facial features and classifies them using a coding system developed by the psychologist Paul Ekman, which is then correlated with a second taxonomy of emotional states created by the Cambridge autism researcher (and Ali G cousin) Simon Baron-Cohen. Almost instantaneously, the computer crunches each raised eyebrow and pucker of the lips, giving a whispered verdict about how the person is feeling.
"Out, damned spot!" - read about the relationship between moral and physical purification in The Lady Macbeth Effect.

Finally, the scary prospect of a 50-year-old man sporting a faux-hawk is described in Psychological Neoteny.

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At December 11, 2006 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that your blog is fabulous and your writing is outstanding. I really enjoyed reading, and I can't wait to read more! I hope that you continue to write, and I only wish that I could write as well as you do and be so open about sharing my opinions and experiences... I tried to start a blog as a way to release my thoughts and feelings and opinions, but once I signed up I didn't know where to start so my blog sits empty (which unfortunately, is appropriate considering the way my life has been - empty).

anyway, sorry to babble, I just wanted to let you know that I am reading, I am agreeing, and I hope you continue to write so I can continue to read :)

Thank you.

At December 11, 2006 10:57 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thanks very much, Kate! I do hope to keep those snarky (and serious) opinions coming, and that you keep reading them.


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