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August 22, 2007


Priscilla Palmer

You have been tagged for The Personal Development List. (See my site for details), I would love it if you would participate.


I'm always amazed at the number of people who read/hear what they want to hear...or expect to hear.

The follow up to this research would be to actually test the impact of the spoken/written word (Proper Name vs pronoun) on interpersonal dynamics or team functionality or some such.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the proper name had a much greater impact upon a relationship, certainly in the beginning of one. Because there is a decrease in optimal performance of the brain relative to itself does not mean there shouldn't be one. The brain is our tool, the ultimate tool, for us to use to interface with the world. That flare up could indicate a recognized opportunity...who knows.

We don't know what we don't know.

I guess I'm just annoyed at applying the positive or negative spin on the flare up at all. It is just what it is. An increase in neural activity to achieve something specific. It is NOT positive or negative at least given the limited context I've seen here.

Thanks though...this shows more about the subconscious bias in reporting than anything.

Blake Stacey

You might like to compare this "telephone game" to the study of error propagation made at Language Log, concerning the publicity over Louann Brizendine and her book The Female Brain.


Thanks very much for your comments. I appreciate them a lot. This post had a different focus from the majority of our posts and this blog — it was not about the research in any way but what was done with it. I thought this example was a good reminder to be careful — most especially for me. Extrapolating (just a wee bit) is so enticing. Cordelia Fine's book listed in our recommended books (_A Mind of Its Own_) is a nice look at some of the tricks our minds play on us. Also _Mistakes Were Made_ described here:
I hope you visit again.

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