Media

In his 1961 speech, FCC chairman Newton Minow called television nothing more than a "vast wasteland" (Jankowski and Fuchs 1995:125).

From the end of World War II on, America was on an unbelievable program of homogenization--fast food, commercial air travel, the interstate highway system. And the crown prince of homogenization was network television. --Robert Thompson, professor of film and television at Syracuse University (DeBarros 2000:1A)

Electronic signals. The great, bristling background noise of TV, CD, radio, print, and computerized sounds, words, and graphic images filling the modern world's PCs, pagers, palm pilots, phone lines, transmission cables, and air waves.

UsageI: As the ancient world once resonated with natural sounds of, e.g., animal cries, storms, flowing waters, and whistling winds, ours blusters with media today. Media has become a seamless electronic web for the display of consumer products and services.

UsageII: Each day, we are occupied by media for longer periods than we sleep. Television, e.g., occupies four hours and nine minutes of the average American's daily routine; radio, three hours; recorded music, 36 minutes; newspaper reading, 28 minutes; book reading, 16 minutes; magazine reading, 14 minutes; home video, seven minutes; and movies in theaters, two minutes (Harwood 1992).

Golf. "No longer can golf be considered a 'minor' TV sport; [thanks to Tiger Woods' dominance of the game,] it is right up there with baseball and basketball now, and second only to the behemoth of the NFL whenever Woods plays and contends" (McCleery 2000:40).

Images and words. Product chatter is a dominant theme in the great background noise of media.

Commercial spots, print ads, and digitally enhanced billboard designs, e.g., rely on a partnership forged in prehistory between a. nonverbal images and b. words. As the original media through which we communicated about our bone, stone, and shell implements, nonverbal images and words (which synergistically reinforce each other) are still the most powerful venue for selling products of vinyl, silicon, and steel. (N.B.: And products made of grain, as well. Fewer Americans scoop generic oats from a barrel, e.g., than buy pre-packaged cereals from Quaker. Oats are merely oats, but Quaker Oats® are "100% Natural.") Despite the power of words, that our PCs are increasingly graphics-, video-, and icon-oriented is a sign Nonverbal World is here to stay.

Magazines. "[Alison] Field's study, in Pediatrics, is believed to be the first to go directly to adolescent girls--548 in grades 5 through 12--to find out how much magazines influence their body images. "About seven in 10 say magazine pictures influence their ideas of the perfect body shape, and nearly half report wanting to lose weight because of a magazine picture" (USA Today, March 2, 1999, D1; see BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER).

Media. 1. According to a Spokesman-Review article about Mike and Sarah Aho, and their Spokane, Washington family's experience beginning a life without TV: "The Ahos noted an unexpected bonus: Because the kids don't see many commercials, they have incredibly short Christmas lists" (White 2000:F8). 2. Regarding the Amazon Indians of Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira, Brazil (according to Orlando Jose de Oliveira, president of the Indigenous People's Federation): "When Indians started getting television, they stopped working and only worried about getting money for diesel fuel to run the generators so they could watch soap operas" (Astor 2001:A3).

Media commercials. "Harvard economist Juliet Schor claims that every additional hour of TV a person watches each week increases that person's annual spending by about $200" (Spokesman-Review, Feb. 7, 1999).

Motion pictures. "Decades later, women are still inspired by Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), who set trends for ballet flats, sleeveless dresses, bateau-neck tops, capri pants and pixie haircuts . . ."

(Sporkin 2000:137).

Observation. Fashion statements are shaped by isopraxic ads and commercials, in which colorful images combine with jingles, rhymes, and catchy words.

TV I. Invented in 1924, television is catching on for Homo sapiens faster than fire caught on a million years ago for H. erectus. In 1991, e.g., 13% of all human beings lived in one of the world's 650 million TV households (Kidron and Segal 1991). That we automatically turn our heads and eyes toward a TV commercial's percussive, sudden noises is due to an inborn, auditory reflex located in the amphibian brain. TV advertisers rely on this midbrain response for us to pay attention to commercials. TV ads circumvent the FCC's rules for volume by making every sound in a commercial approach the allowable maximum, a modification known as "volume compression" (Feldman 1989:82).

TVII. Invented in 1953 by CBS electrical engineer, Charles Douglass, canned laughter stimulates an unconscious contagion of isopraxic chuckling in viewers (Anonymous 1993B). Douglass called his invention "audience reaction."

TVIII. Commercial color TV began in 1954 (source: Collier's Encyclopedia), making the medium friendly to color-conscious human primates.

TVIV. Watching television is the activity Americans say they look forward to most each day (Conn and Silverman 1991:95). The average American spends four hours a day viewing television programming (Cole 1981:184).

TV V. Foods most often mentioned or consumed on prime-time shows are alcohol, coffee, and soft drinks (Anonymous 1993C).

TV VI. 1. Children watching TV pay "elevated attention" to a. women and women's voices, b. children and children's voices, c. eye contact, d. puppets, e. animation, f. peculiar voices, g. movement, h. lively music, i. auditory changes, j. rhyming, and k. vocal repetition [in Hale and Lewis]. 2. Children watching TV pay "depressed attention" to a. men and men's voices, b. animals, c. inactivity, and d. still drawings [in Hale and Lewis]. 3. Children gazing at a screen "beyond 10 seconds" display a relaxed body, a head-slouch forward, and a jaw-droop [in Hale and Lewis]. 4. In 1999, televised professional wrestling was blamed in at least three U.S. child killings, when, allegedly imitating such wrestling stars as Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea and Steve "Sting" Borden, one youngster "clotheslined," slammed, or stomped another child to death (Spencer 2001:A7).

E-Commentary: "I am a student at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. I am currently researching nonverbal communication through commercials. I was wondering if you could lead me to some sources on the subject. Anything you could come up with will be greatly appreciated." --J.S. (3/26/00 11:09:29 AM Pacific Standard Time)

E-Commentary: "I could really use your help in a presentation I'm doing for a group of client news anchors and reporters. One recurring problem we have with the performance of anyone who reads copy for a living is that vocal emphasis is frequently misplaced. Sometimes, they try to place emphasis or stress on too many words, and it can make them sound very artificial and somewhat mechanical. I was wondering if you knew of any research out there regarding vocal emphasis. I know there's been a lot done recently because of efforts to replicate the human voice and better understand it in speech recognition software and the like. You were the first place I thought to check." -L.G., Senior Communications Consultant, Frank N. Magid Associates (8/11/00 1:02:19 PM Pacific Daylight Time)

Neuro-notes. By using pictures and words, media engages both the right and left sides (i.e., hemispheres) of the cerebral neocortex (see HUMAN BRAIN). The right cortex (of right-handed individuals) communicates with modules of the older mammalian brain. With its flicker and shifting scenes, TV engages modules of the amphibian brain as well.

See also BLUE JEANS, COCA-COLA®, WWW.Viacom.com.

Copyright © 1998 - 2001 (David B. Givens/Center for Nonverbal Studies)

golf

GOLF

At the 1981 Benson and Hedges golftournament in Fulford, York, Bernhard Langer hit his ball onto the 17th green from atop the limb of a tree.

"[Pursuant to Rule 13-2:] The area of his intended stance or swing" means that prior to a stroke, a player may not break any limbs growing on a tree that interferes with his swing. . . --Tom Meeks (Golf Journal, October 2000, p.56)

Hunting and gathering. 1. An evolutionary correct game with which to rekindle the savannah experience our nomadic ancestors knew in Africa. 2. A game enjoyed by small, face-to-face bands of players, wandering through artificial grasslands in pursuit of spherical prey, striking white balls with high-tech branch substitutes called clubs.

Usage I: Nonverbally, golf reconnects players a. to arboreal, b. to savannah-grassland, and c. to hunter-gatherer roots. Golfers focus incredible attention on gripping the club, e.g., which in shape and thickness resembles a tree branch. Blending power and precision grips, they strike vinyl balls as if swatting small prey animals.

Usage II: In the career realm, important deals are nurtured on the golf course. Stalking through artificial grasslands in close-knit groups (see ISOPRAXISM), sticks in hand--hunting for game balls and walloping them--business people enjoy the same concentration, competition, and camaraderie their ancestors felt two m.y.a. in Africa. (N.B.: No gas stations, subways, or billboards disturb the "natural" view.)

Adornment. "After winning preliminary rounds [to qualify for the National Long Drive Championships] the Golfing Gorilla [a Tacoma, Washington human primate dressed in a gorilla costume] has been told by officials his suit is unsuitable [because, under PGA rules, all players must 'be properly groomed']" (Kelly 1983).

Culture and the color green. "With this camaraderie, we were cut off from our ethnic roots, bias and prejudice. We were merely men against the course. We had transcended our race, color and ethnicity. The only color we saw was the color green" (Tharwat 2000:52; see below, The coloryelloW).

History. Originally known as colf, golf was played in Holland from the year 1297 A.D. (at least), with balls made of fine-grained hardwoods (e.g., elm, box, and beech). In 1848 a superior ball was made from tree sap known as gutta percha, boiled and shaped in iron molds.

Media. "'It recalls the savanna from which we came,'' said golf course architect Desmond Muirhead, who designed the Muirfield Village course with Jack Nicklaus.

"'It resonates with the older parts of our brain and our background as hunter-gatherers and upright bipedal animals,'' said David Givens, director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies, a Spokane, Wash., research and consulting organization" (Columbus Dispatch, Blundo 2001).

Prehistory I. Twenty m.y.a. in the Miocene, parts of East Africa changed from dense rain forest to open woodlands, as the arboreal ancestors of humans began living a part of their lives on the ground. (N.B.: The first ground-dwelling humanoid may have resembled Ramapithecus, a fossil ape who lived ca. 15-to-7 m.y.a. in Europe and Asia.)

Prehistory II. Two m.y.a. in the Pleistocene, the first humans (genus Homo) lived in eastern Africa as hunter-gatherers, on tropical, shrubby grasslands--in hot, flat, open countryside with scattered trees and little shade known as savannahs (from Taino zabana, "flat grassland").

Prehistory III. Homo habilis would feel at home strolling the 8th hole at Pebble Beach, e.g., with its cliffs, surf, boulders, and tree-lined hills spanning the horizon. Its fairway resembles a game trail, its sand traps could be dried salt ponds, and neither office buildings nor power poles disturb the "natural view."

The color yellow. "Stonewolf Golf Club in Fairview Heights, Ill., a private course designed by Jack Nicklaus, is suing three fertilizer companies for allegedly supplying faulty products. The course claims slow-release fertilizer released too quickly last summer, saturating 17 of 18 fairways with urea, a derivative of mammal urine, which killed the grass and turned the areas yellow" (Anonymous 2000E:7).

Trees and animals. Names of golf courses suggest we perceive them as natural habitats. The best-rated U.S. public course, Brown Deer Park (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), e.g., is named after the most-hunted U.S. game animal, the deer. The best-rated private course, the Cypress Point Club at Pebble Beach in California, is named after a tree. Hell's Half Acre, reputedly the world's largest sand trap, is located in New Jersey on the 7th hole of a course named Pine Valley.

Neuro-notes I. Because the savannah experience took place during a critical time in human evolution--as Homo's brain was expanding faster than any brain in the history of vertebrates--grassland habitats left an indelible mark on the species. Today, e.g., we remodel earth to our liking by flattening and smoothing its surface, idealizing the original plains upon which our ancestors hunted, gathered, and camped. We still find psychic comfort in semi-open spaces; indeed, Neo-Savannah Grassland, with its scattered bushes and reassuring clumps of trees, is the landscaping theme of golf courses, college campuses, city parks, and cemeteries.

Neuro-notes II: "yips". "Physical and psychological factors may contribute to a phenomenon in golf known as the yips' [a form of dystonia, which '. . . affects musicians, stenographers, dentists and others who frequently are forced to repeatedly assume a prolonged, abnormal posture']--an acquired problem of sudden tremors, jerking, or freezing while putting--according to a summary of current Mayo Clinic research published this week [January 8, 2001] in Sports Medicine. Aynsley Smith, PhD, director of sport psychology and sports medicine research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, says preliminary research indicates that more than 25% of avid golfers develop the yips, which adds an estimated 4.7 strokes to the average 18-hole score of an affected player.

"Fast, downhill, and left-to-right breaking putts of 2-5 feet were most likely to produce symptoms, although long putts caused problems for some golfers. Playing in or leading a tournament, tricky putts, and playing against specific competitors were also associated with yips episodes.

"'While pressure situations make the problem worse, it is difficult to imagine why good golfers would suddenly begin having the yips after years of successful performance if it was only a matter of anxiety or 'choking,' ' says Dr. Smith. 'Although performance anxiety may cause the yips in many golfers, muscle and nervous system deterioration caused by prolonged overuse may be at the root of the problem for other players. This may explain why some get relief and play successfully by changing their grip or by switching to a longer putter.' In the second phase of the Mayo Clinic research, investigators measured the heart rate, arm muscle activity, and grip force while putting of 4 yips-affected golfers and 3 nonaffected counterparts. Those with the yips had higher average heart rates and demonstrated increased muscle activity, particularly in the wrists. In addition, while nonaffected golfers were able to make an average of 9 out of 10 consecutive 5-foot putts, the yips-affected golfers only made half of theirs" (Anonymous 2001).

Neuro-notes III. "It takes nearly a millisecond for the impact shock to travel up the club shaft and milliseconds more for nerve pathways to carry the sensation to the brain. So by the time a player can feel the hit, the ball has already flown as much as a foot off the tee and is no longer in contact with the club head" (Suplee 1997:A3).

See also LAWN DISPLAY, NONVERBAL LEARNING, NONVERBAL WORLD.

Copyright © 1998 - 2001 (David B. Givens/Center for Nonverbal Studies)

branch

BRANCH SUBSTITUTE

Artifact. Any of numerous and diverse consumer products (e.g., baseball bats, clothing irons, and tennis rackets) designed to be held tightly in a power grip.

Usage I: Because the human hand was originally designed for climbing, we find primal pleasure in gripping a golf club, handrail, or steering wheel. Holding a hammer, e.g., satisfies our inner primate's need to grasp objects (just as strolling satisfies our need to walk).

Usage II: Swinging a bat or ironing clothes stimulates tactile nerve endings to refocus our orienting attention inward (i.e., toward the branch substitute itself), away from potentially stressful events "out there." Thus, the power grip exerts calming effects through a physiological principle of acupressure massage or shiatsu (see SELF-TOUCH). Because the forebrain's thalamus cannot process all incoming signals at once, grasping an object can reduce anxiety and block pain.

Word origin. The word branch comes from Latin branca, "paw," possibly from Celtic (see TREE SIGN).

Neuro-notes. Our brain devotes an unusually large part of its surface area to fingers, thumbs, and palms (see HOMUNCULUS). Branch substitutes engage many areas of the cerebral neocortex, as well as evolved sub-regions of the basal ganglia and cerebellum. Ironing clothes, e.g., involves a highly evolved area of our neocortex, the parietal lobe. The posterior parietal's left side is specialized for language, while its right side helps process information about a. relationships among objects in space, b. the position of our hands, and c. our motivational state. As we press a collar, "The right parietal lobe is specially concerned in the handling of spatial data and in a non-verbalized form of relationship between the body and space" (Eccles 1989:197).

Top 100 Golf Tips For Every Golfer

Top 100 Golf Tips For Every Golfer

If you want to become a golf player, it is a good idea to watch professional golf players playing the sport. When you watch them, you would become more inspired in getting better with your game. Aside from that, you could also take note how they carry themselves on the field, as well as how they make their swings.

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