Friday, September 11, 2009


In re-reading Malcolm Gladwell's Blink recently, I was caught up by his account of the emperical evidence of what I call 'micro-markers'. These are tiny, almost imperceptible changes in physical behavior that confirm the old saw, 'Fake it till you make it.'

The evidence is that simply holding one's face muscles differently, ie smiling or frowning, can influence one's thoughts and emotions either positively or negatively

This made me think that facial muscles are only one of many ways that physical conditions will affect thoughts and emotions.  Obviously, posture has long been known as a 'marker' of this observation, but what about the hundreds is not thousands of 'mirco-markers' that our other muscle groups make on our minds?

It could be very interesting to develop a method for identifying key 'micro-markers' that are relatively easy to change in order to modify behavior.

Athletes, for example, could benefit from observing not just their form while in action, but also while supposedly inactive.  The golfer's stance while waiting for the tee; the baseball player while waiting on deck; the tennis player between points.

Other behaviors, rightly considered to be unwelcome ticks, or even unhealthy habits, could also be modified with careful observation and posture therapy. 

Of course, it would require intense and rigorous research that could take years, but the accumulation of data would distinguish it from more popular and less serious diet and 'holistic' based therapies.

Ok, so it won't cure schizophrenia, but it might cure that slice.


valgal said...

u bet baby - keep that shit-eating grin on your sweet does wonders!

d2 said...

Um... have you heard of these folks called "actors" who use expressions, micro and macro, all the time to express emotions on cue?

Some would even claim that the emotions brought up on stage or in the movies are not fake (if you're good enough).

Theories abound on the relative merits of using "sense memory" (say of your navel being gouged out with a sticker shot from a BB gun) in influencing your facial muscles to portray the correct emotion ("WTF, Phillip? OW!!! Mom!!!!!!"); others would say that you work from the outside in by simulating an emotion on the face and letting that flow down into your endocrine system, thus triggering the very emotion you seek to portray ("Let me screw up my face and cry so that Phillip thinks I'm hurt. I think I'll yell a little, too. Oh, yeah, that's getting it! More tears! He's feeling it now! I'm getting ice cream tonight!!!").

So, do we feel the emotion of the correct golf swing and let that flow outward to our bodies, or do we act like we swing perfectly and let it flow inward to cure our slice?

Greyghost said...

So, let me get this straight. [sound of fist smacking palm] You're saying...