Sing Me to Sleep That I Might Learn Thee Loves Me (Matings Part 4)

[[…continuing what was started in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1), Sex on the Beach (Matings Part 2) and Sing Me a Little Song (Matings Part 3)]]

I wrote about how the sounds we make affect our mating potentials in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1) and Sing Me a Little Song (Matings Part 3). Those posts dealt with how women and men respond to the sounds their partners make. This post deals with a time the sounds we make are extremely important; when we’re with our children.

Mothers around the world sing or hum their children to sleep. Fathers around the world may not sing and often, when a mother or mother surrogate isn’t available, will hum, coo or otherwise vocalize to their children when it’s time to nap (and if they do sing, excellent!).

Those young minds are both amorphous and agile. Just because their eyes are closed don’t think they’re not listening…and learning.

Babes’ and young children’s brains are basically information gathering engines. Very little goes unnoticed by them and what they record is amazing in both scope and quality. They may not recognize what they record — sights, sounds, tastes, scents, touches, emotions, thoughts, … — as we do and record it never-the-less they do.

Examples of this type of recording and learning are cultural specific foods. Have you ever heard of comfort foods? Comfort foods are things we eat when we need solace, love, attention, caring, concern, …basically when we want to return to the womb to regroup. We seek out and eat the things mom and dad, grandma and grandpa gave us when we bruised our knee or lost a toy. This goes well beyond chocolate and such. Comfort foods are amazingly culture specific.

In my case, comfort foods include hot capocollo, soppresetta, spaghetti sauces that make your eyes water as they cook because they’re so spicy, … things my darling wife wouldn’t let past her lips. She, on the other hand, has the audacity to seek out things like liverwurst (oy!), sauerbraten (ok, I guess), sauerkraut (I’ve learned to live with it) and the like. Both are culture specific, both are comfort foods.

Much like foods, the sounds we hear as we go to sleep — especially when we’re children — create neural pathways that science is just beginning to figure out. It’s been known for a while that natural sleep helps us organize and systematize our memories. One new study indicates it also helps us learn to control our movements.

Our movements? In our sleep? When someone is singing?

Yes. Have you ever twitched while falling asleep, perhaps whacking your hand on the nightstand or kicking off the covers? Those twitches are called jactitations. Usually minor and often amusing, they can also be indications of more severe pathologies.

Jactitations occur when the conscious and non-conscious parts of the mind are handing over control from one to another. The brain knows not to let the body walk when we dream we’re walking, but sometimes the brain isn’t sure and we kick our legs once or twice.

In children, this is neuro- and sensori-motor practice. Our dogs and cats chase rabbits and sparrows in their sleep, twitching, sometimes woofing and meowing away. It’s much the same thing.

And it turns out singing, humming, cooing and vocalizing to our children (probably our pets, too), helps their brains learn how to control muscle movement. It allows for better mind-body integration and physical coordination. I don’t think anybody is exactly sure why just yet and there is evidence it is so.

The thing to remember is that it’s not talking (as in “conversation”), it’s non-verbal sounds. Talking (as noted in previous posts) uses different parts of the brain than does singing, cooing, etc. I’m willing to bet children’s brains are building pathways to match those adults have when they sing and such.

That’s real learning and yes, it would help in mind-body integration and physical coordination.

Sing a little song to your children as you lay them down to nap, moms and dads. It’ll let them know you love them, yes, and you’ll also be helping them later in life by preparing their brains and bodies to harmonize.


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Sing Me a Little Song (Matings Part 3)

[[…continuing what was started in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1) and Sex on the Beach (Matings Part 2)]]

I wrote about the importance of sound in the mating game in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1). That post dealt with how women could determine if a potential partner was going to work out based on the sound of their voice.

It turns out the same is true for men, although it takes a slightly different turn. It’s not so much the sound of their voice, it’s whether or not they sing. Or hum. I think laughter qualifies, too.

It turns out that part of the male’s mental wiring is to determine life-partner value and worth by sound. This happens all the time in the animal world. Everything from mosquitoes to elephants hum, sing or otherwise make sounds that attract each other. TV documentaries tend to focus on the mating calls of the males and it also true that males are drawn to the mating sounds of females.

How do humans do it?

Men like to hear their partners laugh, sing, hum…forgive the possible stereotype, but anything but talk. Talking involves different parts of the brain and we use our voices differently when we talk than when we vocalize in any other way.

Although there’s no evidence for this at present and what I write here is my personal opinion, I wonder if the reason males are attracted to the sounds of laughter, singing and humming has to do with when they were babes in their mothers’ arms. Most mothers (and this is cross-cultural) make very distinct laughing, singing and humming sounds with their children, not talking (as in “conversation”) with them until the child is ambulatory (meaning “they can get around on their own. You don’t need to carry them everywhere”).

So much for my opinion.

So guys, does your potential partner sing or hum or laugh (and not just at your jokes). And do you like it? Even better, does his or her voice sound like music to your ears? Congrats, you’ve got a keeper.

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Sex on the Beach (Matings Part 2)

[[…continuing what was started in I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1)]]

Anybody remember those first school dances you went to? The boys lined up on one wall, the girls on the other? And remember that the boys gathered in groups of maybe 2-3 and the girls in groups of 5 or more?

What you’re observing is a proto-typical gender behavior bias. That’s a 25¢ way of saying men and women behave differently. Kind of like noticing that wolves go after the most vulnerable member of a herd or that the bull elk challenges all competitors to his harem. It’s all obvious when you know what you’re looking at.

For example, somewhere up around the 4m45s mark in my iMedia presentation on Gender Specific Marketing Discoveries, I comment on the fact that men sat singularly or in groups of 1-3 on one side of the room and the women clustered in noticeably larger groups on the other side of the room. A solitary male is the usual case with males over 30 yo (they tend to have more confidence whether they should or not).

[[you can hear the podcast here. They screw up my name. That’s why I now tell people my last name is pronounced Smith]]

What it all comes down to sex on the beach.

Male Demonstrations of SuperiorityHumans, despite what some might like to think, carry in their genes all the behaviors that helped us climb from the primordial muck to where we are today. Everything that worked is in there. One of the things that worked for males was separating themselves from other males so that females could individualize them, get a better look at them, could evaluate them better, get a good fix on their potentials as mates and providers.

In short, males establish territories. Those nature documentaries about seals on the beach have it correct. It’s amusing to watch several million years of evolutionary wiring go into conflict with a few thousand years of human civilization, especially when you recognize that much of what we call “civilization” is designed to deal with all that nasty evolutionary wiring.

Anthropologists recognize ceremonies and rituals. The ceremonies rarely change because they define us as a species. The rituals constantly change because they define us as a group, a tribe, a family, a religion, a sect, a nationality, a people.

You’ve probably heard the term “mating ritual”. That first, awkward school dance is a mating ritual. It’s purpose is for kids to have fun, yes, and also to have them learn how to evaluate members of the opposite sex, also known as partner selection and is a mating ritual in disguise. That school dance is an example of socially acceptable behavior meeting evolutionary wiring big time. Another example of the difference between ceremony and ritual is marriage. The ritual of marriage varies from culture to culture but the ceremony of marriage — the “this-person-that-person” thing — is pretty well established in our species.

What’s more interesting is observing the individuals who’ve made accommodations so that their evolutionary wiring and social training work hand in hand, or don’t.

For example, an adult male who always seeks the company of his male peers probably won’t be a good choice for mate or provider. An adult male who is comfortable by himself and will spend time with male peers is better. An adult male who can be by himself in a social setting (a bar, a dance, a beach), who intentionally catches your eye without intruding on what you’re doing and quickly (but graciously) acknowledges your interest or lack thereof? Learn his name. He’s probably worth it.

Men, what about women who traverse social training and evolutionary wiring? Interestingly enough the same rules apply. If they’re comfortable with themselves, recognize social signals as they are intended and don’t dispute them, ask for their name. Talk and do remember to listen. They probably have a lot to tell you.

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I Love the Way You Say That (Matings Part 1)

[[Spring must be in the air…at least in the northern hemisphere…because we received eleven (11!) requests for mating advice (selection, attraction, attachment, recognition, adornment, …) in the past few days. That’s a bit of a record for us. I think it’s due to the longevity of our (Susan and my) relationship (and it took lots of work).

Anyway, I sent people copies of blog posts I wrote a while ago when this blog was on another platform. We’re resurrecting them here – there’s seven total – one per day over the next week or so and just in case there’s other folks out there looking for love in all sorts of places.


Ladies, do you enjoy hearing your partner talk? Sing? Hum?

There’s something to be said for whether you do or don’t. You do: chances are you’ve found your life long mate. You don’t: chances are your relationship won’t last much more than…well…than a few matings if that long.

It seems that females are more sensitive to their “family” sounds than males are (generally speaking, of course). The best example of this is the mother who can hear and isolate her child’s cry of distress amongst all the sounds of all the activity of a public playground.

Well, this auditory sensitivity extends to life-partners and would-be life-partners, too. Women tend to bond more closely with males whose voices are a natural harmonic of their own.

Natural harmonic?

Can you imitate your partner’s voice really well? Not just the way they talk or the words they use, but the actual tone of their voice? Can they do the same with yours? Congratulations, your voices are probably natural harmonics of each other. You may not be exactly an octave apart (musically speaking) and chances are you’re either close or a multiple of it or some musical interval of it (a third, a fifth, a seventh, no diminished chords, no augmented chords, et cetera).

There are lots of reasons this sensitivity leads to long term relationships; hearing our own “voice” makes us comfortable and puts us at ease, it demonstrates acceptance by the group, things like that. The cognitive and sociologic factors are numerous, really, and seem to play across cultures.

So the next time you’re in a meeting and you find yourself mildly interested or a little attracted to someone speaking, listen carefully…you probably are, anyway.

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dishymix guest blogger joseph carrabis answers dave evans ceo of digital voodoos question about male executives weilding social media influence on par with female executives

[[This is a resurrected post from another blog. We’re ressurecting it because J references it in Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation.]]

Dave Evans asked:

I hear a lot about female intuition and influence, and about male command and control. As marketers transition from traditional media, which I’d consider to be control-centric, to Social Media that is clearly all about influence this discussion becomes more important. Given that are more than few female executives are running top-flight agencies and media units, women can evidently “learn” to operate quite effectively from a position of control versus influence. My question is “Will men be able to do the reverse? Will male executives be able to move comfortably into Social Media, where control is replaced with influence?

And I replied:

Wow! Great Question. Very perceptive. Truly.
Also quite easy to answer: No. Not really. At least not easily. Definitely no for the majority of American males. Probably also no for lots of British Commonwealth males. Asian males most easily. Southern EU males probably. Northern EU males yes and only with a little work. South American males yes and with some fascinating variations.
This is a really good question. How much time do we have for me to explain the easy answer? I had complete grad courses, master classes and post-docs that dealt with the roots of this question.

Now let me share the intriguing piece; there’s a whole class of American males that will be able to make this move without hesitation.

This is one of those questions with a core that touches so much of what’s going on today. Why are GM, Ford, etc., losing business and closing plants? See the above. Why are EU based car companies (even the ones that are subsidiaries of US companies) surviving? See the above. Why do Americans donate organs at 28% and the French at 99.9%? See the above. Why is determining proper marketing resources allocation so difficult? See the above.

I know I wrote a minor thesis in answer to the previous question. This question is much richer and really deserves a full day to explain in detail why the “easy answer” is what it is.

If anybody’s interested, let me know.

I wasn’t satisfied with my answer to Dave Evans’ question. I believe my answer was accurate and verifiable, what it lacked was actionability and the thread of understanding that I so love weaving into my explanations. People who’ve seen my presentations and such would agree (I hope) that I provide take-aways, things participants can do to get real results (actionability). One of the things I hold myself to is providing both theory and application in an explanation. Also, I tie lots of disparate things together so that they make sense. One student wrote an evaluation of a seminar I gave and included “…you’ve got to hang in there until the punch line. Some other things that Carrabis comes up with can seem absolutely dotty in the beginning. You may have the urge to throw up your hands, walk out and find somebody who makes sense. Some of the folks in the last class did that. They managed to miss some of the most mind blowing educational experiences they could have had.”

Whether due to jet lag, a chocolate-beer-wine high (I wrote that response while I was in Brussels on business) or whatever, my response to Dave wasn’t a completely satisfying one to me and I’m notoriously hard to please.

So please allow me to provide a follow-up response to Dave’s question. It’s going to pull from a bunch of different disciplines (I am Joseph Carrabis after all. If I answer a question without involving half a dozen disciplines people will think it’s not really me responding) but how else can it be thorough?

Let’s start with the idea that men and women think differently. If you disagree with that premise you can stop reading now. The question becomes how do men and women think differently and how does that difference affect things like cognitive, behavioral/effective and motivational (“{C,B/e,M}” for short) demonstrations and methodologies.

Males in our society and up to about the mid-1990s pretty much dominated the “hard” sciences. The reason for this goes back to the cultural cues we gave boys and girls up until the last quarter of the last century. These cultural cues can best be summed up in a couple of simple statements; boys usually had to “prove” things, girls didn’t.

This “proof” took the form of what behaviorists call “dominance games” and it’s why boys got into fights more often than girls (with all due respect to the recent YouTube girlfight videos phenomena). The {C,B/e,M} reinforced by dominance games was something already well prevalent in western society and is demonstrated by the majority of governments and very definitely in US courts — the adversarial system. Someone is “right” because they have the most money, most influence, most votes, etc. This may seem like Dave’s “influence” proposition and I offer that this is not the case. What is happening is what’s called “coherence”, not influence.

The difference is critical to answering Dave’s question and the surrogate questions that fall from it. Coherence is a logical construct. Things cohere because the mutual benefit is increased control (using Dave’s term) of the whole and recognition of individual control elements (we know who to blame when things mung up). Pieces stuck together allows action on one piece to control direction, acceleration, velocity, etc., of all pieces via that one piece unless sufficient social or mechanical force is applied to break the “control” piece off. Coherence is lost in these cases. Examples of this kind of decoherence are well known in the be-all and end-all of boy’s dominance games — military science. The extreme hierarchical system of control and coherence — the “chain of command” — means that by taking out individuals closer and closer to the top of the hierarchy greater and greater decoherence occurs.

Note that there is not influence as I understand Dave’s use of the term. Influence recognizes that one or more pieces might go in completely different directions than the “control” piece because the relationships between the pieces are tenuous (from a physical mechanics perspective) and based on mutually beneficial relationships (from a social perspective).

Women have traditionally been taught to use a different strategy called (surprise!) “correspondence”. The principle difference between the two is that coherence is a logical construct, correspondence is an ecological construct.

Correspondence (surprise! part 2) gains its power via its ability to influence change (and this is what I think Dave means by his use of the term) rather than create or direct change (the coherence methodology).

Ecological constructs may have hierarchies inside them (food chains, for example) and even when they do there’s a much higher degree of balance (think of a wind mobile) involved. Food chains can’t have pieces of the hierarchy removed because ecological/environmental destruction ensues (think of the over-fishing of the oceans, destruction of the rain-forests, increasing rates of species extinction, …). A wind mobile with a single element removed just clatters in the breeze, the balance that created the sensoral harmony is gone.

And if you’ve intuited that this ecological construct, correspondence, is based on, uses and creates relationships, you’ve already figured things out. For the rest of you, please hang in there. We’re getting close to the punch line.

Each strategy is useful in certain arenas. Correspondence allows for distributed action, mutual acceptance, group loyalty, … — the things that traditional women’s societies are best known for. Coherence allows for quicker action, surgical action, directed response, … — the things that traditional men’s societies are best known for.

With this informational foundation we can really get interesting. Ecological constructs are highly adaptive. This is the “Life will out” syndrome. Given enough time, life will return to any environment regardless of how much destruction has taken place. In many cases, life will adapt itself to thrive on the destruction to bring the environment back to some kind of recognizable ecological balance. These highly adaptive systems are highly adaptive because they rely on heuristic calculations rather than statistical calculations (what? You thought I wouldn’t get math involved somehow?). (Not a plug coming up, just part of the explanation) NextStage’s Evolution Technology does what it does by using statistical methods when there’s enough data, otherwise use heuristic methods.

What’s the difference? Statistical methods will determine an optimal solution, heuristic methods will determine a best outcome given the existing data. Optimal solutions are only optimal when well defined outcomes exist. Heuristic solutions are the best possible outcomes for everyone/everything involved in the process.

The biggest problem with statistical methods is the gi-normous amount of data necessary to truly determine optimal solutions. Very few companies/agencies/individuals have enough data to determine optimal solutions yet they still use traditional statistical methods and fail as often (or close to as often) as they succeed. Very few organizations use heuristic methods (I’m not even sure organizations know these tools exist).

What’s amusing about this is that a traditional scientific axiom — Occam’s Razor — is actually a heuristic. Occam’s Razor instructs us to go with the simplest solution when in doubt. This is a restatement of the “fluency heuristic” that instructs us to go with what we know rather than what we don’t. Our minds are wired to accept as simple those things we already know or have in consciousness.

What comes to the surface in all this is that women are allowed to use heuristics and men are not. Women can say “I felt like it” or “I thought it was right” and have it accepted as a reasonably response both by other women and by men. Men usually do not have this luxury because their cultural training is coherence, not correspondence.

Correspondence, by the way, along with the heuristics that power it, are what is sometimes referred to as “intuition” or in this case what Dave calls “female intuition”.

So will the majority of men be able to move into relationship marketing? Not unless they’re ready, willing and able to consider heuristic business models and up until about 1990 our society didn’t allow for it. Are there any males in business that can make the switch to relationship marketing? Yes. Quite specifically those who ascended a business hierarchy by “going with their gut”, ie, intuition.

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