Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I'm taking a course about the brain/mind - lots of .in depth information about structure and connections and all that -- a bit too theoretical. I read a lot about the subject and remember tidbits that may or may not be true. I suppose they're the parts I want to remember.  Sometimes I try my own one-person completely uncontrolled nonstatistical experiments.  One such bit of probably pseudo-science I read and remember is that smiles are at least a contagious in a crowded place as are yawns. Off and on I used to try it on the NYC subway -- get on, look around the car, smile at nothing in particular. Of course most people didn't actually look at me and see the smile, which, sometimes I tried to keep on as long as it could be sincere.  I can't say I proved anything even to myself except that it actually feels good to smile. But then I knew that.

Emily Dickenson, being a woman of a different time, and certainly not often among crowds of people (if ever?) wrote a little more thoughtfully about smiles in this short poem (#1391)

They might not need me -- yet they might --
I'll let my Heart be just in sight --
A smile so small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity --



June -- nice subject. Your subway experiment reminded me of a woman I knew in Michigan. She would wear a nice smile when she checked out with a cashier in a store. Her aim was to see if a smile would be returned by the un-smiling cashier. In almost 100% of the time it was returned. Reinforces what you said about smiles being as contagious as yawns. And smiling at a cashier does make the transaction a bit more pleasant. -- barbara

June Calender said...

Quite right, Barbara. I'm glad to say that most of the cashiers at the stores I most often patronize seem to smile often and naturally although I get a little tired of "have a nice day" - but, gee, it could be a lot worse.

Jonas said...

Have you watched "The Brain Series" presented by Charlie Rose? Fascinating stuff for anyone interested in the workings of the human brain.

As for smiles, all I can say is that they work! Humans definitely respond.

But if we're gonna go all inter-species, dogs respond far more mightily to visual cues than humans. Dogs are simply amazing in that respect. I like humans, I do. But dogs can be so endearing in the way they can read our "body language".

June Calender said...

Thanks, Jonas. What you say about dogs is very true, they see us a we are.