Well.. suggestive biscuits, hiccup trucks, typing on the pewticka and a visit to the Balistica in Venice – our kids (and the occasional grown-up…) have a much better lexicon than we do. Some brilliant comments in response to Monday’s post; here’s another one to distract you from all the important and useful things you have planned for today (but we can at least justify it as being an intellectually highbrow diversion; read on).
Research published in the journal Science this week established a connection between the reading of literary fiction and our ability to intuit expressions and understand the emotions of others. And not only do they seem to have better emotional intelligence than others, they also apply it, resulting in enhanced empathy and social skills. In a crude and unsound scientific algorythm, this might be represented as those who tackle Tolstoy & DeLillo for fun = nicer people. Alas, there doesn’t appear to be the same correlation with the kind of trashy novels we recline with on the beach (the researchers gingerly used a Rosamunde Pilcher novel as the ‘control arm’ in this experiment, just to check). The hypothesis is that because writers of true literary fiction tend to be sparing in their description of what’s going on in the minds of their characters, readers are required to fill in the gaps and make leaps of understanding and assumptions about what they are thinking and feeling.
But never mind the science, let’s get to the fun part. A quiz; yay. Click here and interpret each of the expressions, with a maximum of 36 to be scored. The normal range is 22-30; if you get below that there could be a number of valid reasons including a) a complete failure to concentrate or b) a lifestyle where you only tend to encounter people who look Aghast or Anxious, thereby skewing your ability to detect other emotions. Actually, I made that up. I got 33/36 and am disproportionately proud, but also a little deflated as it means I have to return to doing all of the domestic things I was supposed to be doing today.
Oh, and then when you’ve done it, ask the man in your life to do the same; mine got considerably less, to his great surprise. ’I got all the female expressions right, though’, he said, in some sort of naive attempt to rationalise the score. I put it to him that this might be down to a life spent studying women; he wisely chose dignified silence as a response.
Give it a go, and let me know how you do…
More crafts next week, once we get off this psycho-analysis excursion (it’s fun though, isn’t it?)