Texting vs Face-to-Face Interaction
Since I opened my first bank account at the age of eleven, I have loved to go into my bank to make my deposits and withdrawals.I love the face-to-face interaction; I still do not use bank machines. I want a chance to share a smile, not just my bank account number. For over 20 years, I knew all the cashiers at my bank by name and they knew mine. When I came in, we would visit for a minute and they would ask me how my last trip was, and I would ask about their day and their family. Now that my bank has been bought and sold a few times, I know only one teller by name, and she always smiles and I smile back and we laugh about the fact that the two of us are always in a good mood. It makes my day.
I am a body language expert. Human interaction feeds us. It is sustenance. The smile, the eye contact of recognition, the light touch of hands across the counter, insures us we are seen, are known, that we exists. Each face-to-face interaction makes our lives rich. It also feeds the brain. If you have been reading my blogs or getting my newsletter, you know that I love neuroscience and often talk about the brain body connection. Recently, I found a great article on the research on face-to-face interaction of Dr. Thomas Lewis at Headrush@typeface.com.Dr. Lewis discovered that the immediate response and clear facial feedback in interaction is crucial. In his still-face effectexperiments, he showed that if mothers maintain a still face and don’t show an immediate facial feedback response to their babies, that the infants become immediately distressed. Even a small delayed response in the feedback/interaction/responsiveness, distressed the babies. The article went on to share that Dr. Lewis said that even as adults we have the same neurochemistry. We need immediate facial feedback. So how does this affect our texting, twittering, facebook world?Dr. Lewis explained that, "….no matter how much we practice communicating through text, the brain still finds it stressful…" It’s a problem because we do not get that immediate facial feedback.
Of course, shy people find texting less stressful. (That would be introverts on the Myers Briggs personality inventory or Get it Rights and Get Alongs on the DISC) Dr. Lewis said that in the brains of shy people, a stranger’s face triggers a fear or anxiety response in the amygdale. As you have experienced reading 355 emails each day a strangers, text doesn’t cause fear. Maybe frustrations when you reach email 200, but not fear. Of course, you can always video chat, where you get all those wonderful nonverbal cues, the facial expression and the voice/paralanguage, but he cautions it still can cause feedback/interaction AND you don’t get real time responsiveness. So what does that mean? Well something, you know I will always recommend... Get out of the car go into the bank and say hi. It is a great way to feed your brain and not a bad way to feed your life.