A few nice guidelines for author etiquette. I do disagree with the point at the end that says that if you think your book is good then therefore it is not. There is a difference between self confidence and arrogance. Believe in yourself, believe in your work while communicating humility and gratitude.
Yesterday I blogged a link to Richard Mann’s Radio Reflections which he not only presented, but produced as well. So it seems fitting that today I should repost a report on some fascinating research, much of it done in the UK, on how our voices reflect social status and power — and perhaps why Margaret Thatcher was able to lead so effectively.
Voice May Reveal Who Has Clout
Being in a position of power can change the sound of your voice, and listeners often pick up on that to figure out who is really in charge, new research finds.
We tend to focus on our words when we want to come across as powerful, but the findings suggest acoustic cues are also important. Markers of more powerful position, for example, may include a higher and louder voice.
“Whether it’s parents attempting to assert authority over unruly children, haggling between a car salesman and customer, or negotiations between heads of states, the sound of the voices involved may profoundly determine the outcome of those interactions,” said lead researcher Sei Jin Ko of San Diego State University in California.
It was former U.K. prime minister Margaret Thatcher who inspired the research. “It was quite well known that Thatcher had gone through extensive voice coaching to exude a more authoritative, powerful persona,” explained Ko. “We wanted to explore how something so fundamental as power might elicit changes in the way a voice sounds, and how these situational vocal changes impact the way listeners perceive and behave toward the speakers.”
Ko, along with Melody Sadler of San Diego State and Adam Galinsky of Columbia Business School, designed two studies to find out. The findings were published Nov. 20 online in the journal Psychological Science.
In a first experiment, the investigators recorded 161 college students reading a passage aloud; this first recording captured their voice before any particular high-or-low power status was evident. The participants were then randomly assigned a high- or low-status role in a negotiation game.
Students assigned to a “high” rank were told to go into the negotiation imagining that they either had a strong alternative offer, valuable inside information, or high status in the workplace, or they were asked to recall an experience in which they had power before the negotiation started. Low-rank students, on the other hand, were told to imagine they had either a weak offer, no inside information, or low workplace status, or they were asked to recall an experience in which they lacked power.
The students then read a second passage aloud, as if they were leading off negotiations with their imaginary adversary, and their voices were recorded. Everyone read the same opening, allowing the researchers to examine acoustics while holding the speech content the same.
The researchers found that the voices of students assigned to high-power roles tended to go up in pitch, become less variable in pitch, and become more variable in loudness than the others’ voices.
“Amazingly, power affected our participants’ voices in almost the exact same way that Thatcher’s voice changed after her vocal training,” said Galinsky.
And the students’ vocal cues didn’t go unnoticed. A second experiment with a separate group of college students revealed that listeners, who had no knowledge of the first experiment, were able to pick up on these power-related vocal cues to determine who did and did not have power: Listeners ranked speakers who had been assigned to the high-rank group as more likely to engage in high-power behaviors, and they were able to categorize whether a speaker had high or low rank with con siderable accuracy.
In line with the vocal changes observed in the first experiments, listeners tended to associate higher pitch and voices that varied in loudness with high-power behaviors. They also associated louder voices with higher power.
“These findings suggest that listeners are quite perceptive to these subtle variations in vocal cues and they use these cues to decide who is in charge,” said Galinsky.
Hello everyone. Happy Hanukkah!
If you follow this blog regularly, you know this year was very special for me as an author, especially after joining Amazon’s audio book publishing platform called ACX in April, right about the time I started really promoting my latest release, Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni. Roughly two months after publication a moment of inspiration told me to post Boudicca to ACX for audio production.
That proved to be one of the best decisions of my life, though I had no way of knowing it at the time. That morning I listened to six or seven potential narrators, ACX messaging about half of them requesting they audition. Richard Mann was the first to respond — and obviously the best. A teleconference the next morning confirmed that choice and that week Boudicca was off and running. On 9th September the book was live on audible to my great delight.
In that time I learned a lot more about the narrator I so casually chose that May morning, discovering a fascinating new world of theatre, music, and performance that re-awakened parts of myself long buried by the harsh criticisms of blood relatives, bullies at school, and failed relationships. That included my passion for live theatre and that secret yearning to try acting a bit, if only for a few minutes of play around friends. In discovering Richard Mann’s work I discovered many things about myself along the way.
This morning a tweet from Mr. Mann, no doubt sent as casually as my initial invitation to him to audition for Boudicca, had a similar and rather profound impact. In the tweet was a link to Radio Reflections which includes a three minute simulated radio segment featuring Richard Mann and others talking about the role radio has played across their lives. Take a listen to it and you are transported in ways that perhaps regular radio listeners find rather mundane but for me has been quite revealing.
I love people to get me really thinking about things; it is not that easy to do, anymore than it is easy for anyone or anything to really impress me or win much praise from me. I am very reserved in that regard. So when I say that these three minutes are worth listening to, they really are.
Any what, pray tell, are my thoughts now I have heard this?
The first thing that really strikes me is the social psychology of the radio. That is to say that my response to the radio has more to do with the people across my life who have loved listening to the radio and how I feel about them and the way they treated me. The first person I knew who loved the radio was John W. Rockefeller, my “father” (I put this in scare quotes because no real father treats any living creature, least of all his own daughter, so viciously and without any regard for basic human morality). The music played to me as a pre-schooler was bad country music.
In the 1980s, my older brother Keith also shaped my interest in the radio, especially as his bullying intensified as teenagers. Mid-1980s pop was quite good and to this day I still love 1980s music — but Keith’s love of the radio, like his love of the American civil war, instilled a rebellious response from me. Why should I listen to the radio when I could practice the piano (acquired thanks to money my mother received during the 1984 divorce) or sing myself?
Indeed recent research into traumatic brain injuries such as the one I suffered at 13 show that music production and music psychotherapy is one of the most effective means for helping the brain heal from TBI. Singing and playing myself helped my brain re-wire and adjust which is perhaps one reason why two years after the accident, my grades surpassed pre-accident levels.
Unlike so many people, I therefore never really grew up around the radio. In university, study consumed my time which grew even more scarce once my remaining sight could no longer keep up with the homework created by three social science and humanities majors and I shifted to taped textbooks played on a special machine from the Nebraska library for the blind. Rather than listening to the radio, audio books came to consume my life as I successfully worked through my studies. The first audio book I listened to for fun was huge — about 40 recorded hours — “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo! And no, the musical (French or English; I’ve heard both) does not do justice to the book!
But for all of this, I do see value to the radio; it was after all a radio program called “TechBytes” that brought me into one of the closest and most healthy friendships of my life. To this day TechBytes host Tim Wilson is the brother that my biological brother should have always been but never chose to be. Tim and his technology radio show has taught me that family is not about blood, but about the heart and spirit.
That is the magic of radio.
Reposted from “Men’s Y Chromosome May Be A Vulnerability”
4th December 2014, World Science Journal
New research suggests the Y chromosome—a repository of genes that only males have—may help explain why men live less long than women, and are more susceptible to smoking-related cancers.
With advancing age, some cells can lose their Y chromosome. Two new studies suggest this loss may increase cancer risk—and that smoking may exacerbate the chromosome loss. Both projects came from the same group of researchers, and while they did not prove cause-and-effect relationships, they found associations between the events in question.
The earlier study, published in the research journal Nature Genetics online April 28, “demonstrated an association between loss of the Y chromosome in blood and greater risk for cancer,” said Lars Forsberg of Uppsala University in Sweden, one of the investigators.
For the second project, published in the Dec. 4 issue of the research journal Science, he added that the group tested “if there were any lifestyle- or clinical factors that could be linked to loss of the Y chromosome.”
The result: “Out of a large number of factors that were studied, such as age, blood pressure, diabetes, alcohol intake and smoking, we found that loss of the Y chromosome in a fraction of the blood cells was more common in smokers than in non-smokers.”
Y chromosome loss is “the most common human mutation” to begin with, added Jan Dumanski, a co-researcher at Uppsala. The new work “may in part explain why men in general have a shorter life span than women, and why smoking is more dangerous for men.”
Smoking is a risk factor for various diseases, not only lung cancer, the researchers noted; male smokers have shown a greater risk of developing non-respiratory-tract cancers than female smokers.
The investigators found the association between smoking and Y chromosome loss to be “dose dependent”—heavy smokers had more widespread losses. But ex-smokers who had quit showed normal levels of Y chromosome loss. So “this process might be reversible,” which “could be very persuasive for motivating smokers to quit,” said Forsberg.
How the smoking-induced Y chromosome loss in blood cells is linked to cancer remains unclear. Perhaps immune cells in blood, bereft of Y chromosomes, are less able to fight cancer cells, the scientists speculated.
Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska and attending Temple Baptist Church, I grew up with the same beliefs that many Evangelical Christians hold towards Israel: Israel is the promised land of the descendants of Abraham. When I read in the books of Joshua and Judges about the legendary conquest of Palestine by the Hebrews after their 40 years wandering in the wilderness, no one seemed to even notice that these military campaigns of conquest amounted to GENOCIDE where civilians, including and especially women and children, were put to the sword so the Hebrews could come in and take their land. This was GOD’S WILL and therefore it was okay. If God wants it, the killing is moral and just, right?
In my 20 years in the Church, no one ever questioned this doctrine. No one ever said “hey, wait, these are war crimes.” Instead since it was divinely mandated, it must be right — and historically true, of course.
This sentiment is echoed in temples, both reform and orthodox, especially at Hanukkah and Passover. Israel belongs to the Jews as a right forged in an ancient covenant with God. Jews are the Chosen People.
Being the “Chosen People” of God carries a lot of weight. Being chosen means you are granted a measure of special grace from God, the right to do certain things without consequences. You can kill as you please because God wants you to.
Now before anyone gets in a huff and calls me anti-Jewish, let me be very clear: I love Jewish culture, food, tradition, and especially my many Jewish friends and acquaintances. I lived for over four years in a orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York as not only a gentile, but one of the Old Religion of Britain and Ireland who strives to honour and embrace the British-Irish part of my heritage in my day-t0-day life.
As a historian who often favours being the outsider because of the objectivity this offers me for learning and study, I was able to listen, learn, and observe without the social-psychological chains that often blurs most people’s perspective. I have no agenda except discovering the truth. This is why my writing is so powerful and my books are to be believed. I’m not a slick politician or sales person trying to sell something to you; just an honest researcher looking for truth.
The Bible of course covers ancient history — legendary or literal is a matter of debate. Yet in Christian churches and in many Jewish congregations as well this doctrine that Israel is the God-given promised land of the Hebrews/Jews persists.
This Zionist idea that Israel rightfully belongs to Jews transcends denominational differences and enters the realm of politics. Israel has certain rights to behave in whatever is perceived as its own interests. To gainsay Israel’s decisions is to be anti-Jewish. I am here to say that nothing could be further from the truth.
Last week I found the above video in a facebook feed exploring the modern state of Israel’s history. In it and you discover that Israel is hardly this innocent and moral God-blessed nation who can do no wrong. Far from it. Objectively speaking, the Israelis are guilty of genocide and war crimes such as the West typically condemns when done by any other nation — except Israel.
Indeed anyone from any country who even remotely questions what Israel does is quickly labelled as anti-Jewish, especially politicians. It would seem that to be pro-Jewish means not noticing Israel’s faults — or its war crimes.
I stand here asking you to now question that dogma. Take a step back towards objectivity. When Iraqis do this to its peoples, when Syrians do this in its civil war, when Russia treats a minority group this way, DO WE NOT CALL THEM WAR CRIMES and CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?
Perhaps it is time to abolish this whole “chosen people” propaganda and instead look at all human beings as humans. No one is expendable. Life is life! Every single human in this world deserves a decent and safe home, clean and nourishing food and water, the best possible education, decent clothing, safety from harm, and the chance to live a satisfying life. Anyone who steals any of these things from anyone else needs to be sanctioned and dealt with. Everyone has the right to live. Everyone.
Series the character belongs to (if any): First book in the True Colors series
Parents names (if known): Dr. Tony and Laine (Dombrowski) Albright
Place of Birth (if known): Chicago, Illinois
Book(s) appearing in: True Colors, True Colors 2: Best Friends…Forever?
Profile: Landry is an eighth grader who loves her English lit class with Mrs. Kharrazzi and enjoys reading. She is a very loyal friend, but is currently dealing with the friendship fall out from advancing in the American Ingénue reality show modeling competition. She is on a never-ending quest for a hair product that will end her bad hair days and ways to up her math grade that don’t involve intense tutoring.
Ideal actor or actress to play in a film adaptation: Over the years I’ve pictured Landry as Ashlee Simpson when Ashlee was doing her reality show. Now I’d say Elle Fanning could play her.
Character name: Christina Ciccone
Parents names: Helen and Salvatore Ciccone
Character’s Date of Birth: 1996
Place of Birth: Struthers, Ohio
Book appearing in: The Last Vestal Virgin
Profile: Christina hails from an Italian –American family. She is eighteen, tall with long brown highlighted-hair. Her hazel eyes are brilliant with flecks of gold. She has modeled for several fashion shoots. She has known to turn many heads. She is passionate for World History and plans on being a history major while attending Youngstown State University.
Ideal actor or actress to play in a film adaptation: Selena Gomez.