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David Brooks, The New Yorker and Me

There is always a pile of magazines, newspaper and books on the floor beside my bed. In fact, this is what it looks like today. Most often, this pile consists of months of New Yorkers, dog-eared or opened to specific articles. In my recent recycling cleanse, I came upon an article by David Brooks in The New Yorker’s annals of psychology series, called Social Animal. Fascinating! I read it twice. It was both highly annoying and profoundly interesting. David Brooks, as you probably know, is the conservative columnist for the New York Times. He parodies liberals all the time. This story (parodying liberals, naturally; he is so snarky!) is about a couple named Harold and Erica. Brooks integrates their “fictional” story with the results of current neuroscience, genetic, evolutionary, and social science research. From courtship, to pheromones, to intelligence, to high achievement, Brooks connects a lot of information and literally covers a lifetime. I paused after reading this,
“…Harold and Erica clicked. Most emotional communication is non-verbal. Gestures are a language that we use not only to express our feelings but to constitute them. By making a gesture, people help produce an internal state.”

I love how he expressed this not earthshattering news. Gestures tend to come first and they indicate our internal state, (which as we know is transmitted to others in about one-tenth of one second). Gestures can also create our internal state. We coach speakers to smile when they are introduced because the physical body/gesture sends messages to the unconscious mind of safety and therefore it helps speakers to relax. This is the science of the unconscious mind. Fascinating. I look forward to reading his book. Here is a link to the January 17, 2011 issue which carries part of the article. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/01/17/110117fa_fact_brooks
I’d love to hear your thoughts. -Charlotte

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