I’m on day two of having no Coke. It’s turrible to have an addiction.
I spend much of my day thinking “Boy, I’d like a nice, iced coca cola right now.”
Bonobos are the cooler chimpanzees, and reportedly as close genetically as the other chimpanzees we hear more about. Basically, they have a peaceful, matriarchal society where everyone has sex all the time. Or, at least, a lot. Enough so that the males don’t bother making trouble. And I’m thinking… perhaps someone in the White House needs to get laid more often.
I’m just saying, it’s science.
The other interesting bit was he mentioned a study of Larry King Live where they paid attention to vocal frequencies below 500 Hz. Apparently, the frequencies between conversers synchronized, with the lower status person changing to match the higher status person. Fascinating.
I wonder if teenagers and their parents, when in confrontation, fail to synchronize.
DO WE DECLARE DOMINANCE OR SUBMISSION EVERY TIME WE OPEN OUR
MOUTHS? Researchers from Kent State University taped 25 interviews
on the Larry King Live show, paying particular attention to vocal
frequencies below 500 hertz. In the past, most researchers had
disregarded these low-frequency tones as meaningless noise, a low,
nonverbal humming on which the spoken word rides. But as they toted
up their results, sociologists Stanford Gregory and Stephen Webster
noticed that in every conversation the low-frequency tones of the
two speakers quickly converged. This convergence seemed to be
essential for a productive conversation. The speakers literally
needed to be on the same wavelength. It wasn’t simply a matter of
two people finding some happy middle ground. In talking, as in
walking, one person sets the pace: King’s low-frequency tones
shifted to the level of his quest when he was interviewing someone
with high status, like the President. On the other hand,
lower-status quests tended to defer to him, “but with less gusto,”
the authors noted. The most deferential quest was Dan Quayle.
Gregory and Webster have since repeated their results in studies of
British politicians and past U.S. presidential debates. They
theorize that our vocal undertones provide a means by which we
routinely and unconsciously manage “dominance-deference relations.”
Gregory recalls talking to one of his graduate students at a party
when the dean briefly joined them. Gregory unconsciously shifted to
match the vocal frequency of the dean, who, on some subliminal
level, presumably expected the nod to his place in the hierarchy.
When the dean left, the graduate student said, “You just did it.”
This nonverbal form of communicating status, says Gregory, may be
why one person overhearing another on the phone can tell by tonal
qualities alone whether the speaker is talking to a boss or a
friend. The low humming beneath our words seems to be, as an
anthropologist once put it, “an elaborate code that is written
nowhere, known by none, and understood by all.” –Richard Conniff