Wednesday, February 21, 2007

E-mail psychology

An interesting piece in the New York Times talks about how people may appear different over email compared to in person. I have found this to be largely true. Many times, emails are misinterpreted (emoticons notwithstanding)

I quote :

This work points to a design flaw inherent in the interface between the brain’s social circuitry and the online world. In face-to-face interaction, the brain reads a continual cascade of emotional signs and social cues, instantaneously using them to guide our next move so that the encounter goes well. Much of this social guidance occurs in circuitry centered on the orbitofrontal cortex, a center for empathy. This cortex uses that social scan to help make sure that what we do next will keep the interaction on track.

Research by Jennifer Beer, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, finds that this face-to-face guidance system inhibits impulses for actions that would upset the other person or otherwise throw the interaction off. Neurological patients with a damaged orbitofrontal cortex lose the ability to modulate the amygdala, a source of unruly impulses; like small children, they commit mortifying social gaffes like kissing a complete stranger, blithely unaware that they are doing anything untoward.

Socially artful responses emerge largely in the neural chatter between the orbitofrontal cortex and emotional centers like the amygdala that generate impulsivity. But the cortex needs social information — a change in tone of voice, say — to know how to select and channel our impulses. And in e-mail there are no channels for voice, facial expression or other cues from the person who will receive what we say.

End quote.

So it makes it all the more important to write with precise grammar, punctuations and prose to get now only the message, but also the tone and therefore the main focus of an email across to your recipient.

This post is directed to people who insist on talking like 'Need 2 spk 2 u... wan 2 b ur frnd... wat do u say'. No one likes to read literally stunted communication like that except on a cellphone screen. Please don't write like that to me.

How do you shower?

Another hilarious video. Man, is blogging easy or what ?? ;)

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