Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

"I Thought He Was Taller"

I've been blown away by the spread of, and positive response to, my last post. It freaked me out a little at first, seeing the views here and at BMB keep rising. My hope is the folks who read it will find not only something interesting, but reason to look ahead with positive hope.

As much as we (using "we" in the most general sense) like to believe we are empathetic creatures at heart, even the best of us have blind spots. It's difficult to understand how one person's experience feels on a visceral level unless we have a similar experience to which we can compare it.

By coincidence, researchers at UCLA recently released the results of their studies, "Bound to Lose: Physical Incapacitation Increases the Conceptualized Size of an Antagonist in Men." Researchers found men tied to a chair or standing on an unsteady surface (a balance board) overestimated the antagonist's size and underestimated their own size.

The results are utterly unsurprising, though I'm sure it's abstractly a good thing that science has now confirmed the experiences of anyone who has been on the lower end of a power disparity.

If nothing else, it's something to point as a means to explain why a person will read "threat" into a situation that, to an outsider, doesn't look threatening. Where an observer might think, "That nice guy was just talking to her over there," the woman in question might be thinking, "I can't get out of this corner because the Huge Man is blocking me."

Considering how balance affected perception, I'd be interested to see what would result from participants wearing stilettoes.

Also posted at Blair MacGregor Books


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 11th, 2013 05:26 pm (UTC)
Not just antagonists. At least, in my experience, people will overestimate the size of forceful personalities of whatever kind
Aug. 11th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
Much agreed. I think the perception is exacerbated by the feeling of being trapped and/or at the disadvantage.
Aug. 11th, 2013 05:36 pm (UTC)
That's fascinating. I also think that body language and force of personality can add to that perception that someone is larger/more powerful and you're trapped.
Aug. 11th, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
Body language is a huge influence. Consider how much interpretation goes into judging the intention of one person walking your direction.
Aug. 11th, 2013 07:38 pm (UTC)
A good stiletto heel will punch right through the instep of an average shoe.

Just a suggestion. (Credit to Terry Pratchett.)
Aug. 11th, 2013 10:45 pm (UTC)
Provided one can balance on the *other* stiletto long enough to deliver force at the proper angle. :)
Aug. 12th, 2013 02:16 am (UTC)
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

Latest Month

May 2017


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner