Thursday, June 30, 2022

Microaggression Example


Insisting that you understand exactly what another brain is feeling is microaggression. No one ever completely understands what another person is going through. Period. All perceptions are unique to each individual brain because each human brain is different. Similar experiences? Maybe. Identical? Think again. If appropriate you might say that you do not understand what they are feeling and would be willing to listen to if they are comfortable sharing. However, that presupposes that you are able to listen nonjudgmentally and refrain from launching into your own story, or saying that what they are feeling is ridiculous, or telling them what they need to do. If you are unable to avoid such behaviors, it is better to say nothing or something like, “I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you.” My little French grandmother used to say, “It is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Microaggression Types

According to Psychologist Derald Wing Sue, PhD, there are three main microaggression types (

 Microassaults: Racist jokes that may not have been intended to be offensive but were told because the person thought they were so funny—followed by the comment, “I was just joking.” Following an individual through a store for fear they might steal something.

Microinsults: Insensitive comments that subtly or not so subtly disrespect a person’s racial heritage or identity or gender and that are intentionally or unintentionally demeaning or discriminatory. For example, saying to a black person who has just been appointed to a prestigious position, “Your people must be very proud of you.”

Microinvalidations: A person who is not black or a person of color tells someone who is, “Racism really doesn’t exist anymore in today’s society—at least not where I live (or work).” That blatantly ignores systemic racism and belittles the person’s level of intelligence.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Microaggressions Nomenclature

According to, the term was coined around 1970 by psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce, MD. He used it to describe subtle insults and put-downs regularly experienced by black people in his environment. The term has been expanded to include this type of behavior directed toward any marginalized group. What is a marginalize group? Individuals or populations living at the margins of mainstream society who are discriminated against and excluded by structures of power and the people within them. A person may experience microaggressions due to race, gender, culture, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, food preferences, clothing or hair styles, and type of illness, et cetera. Microaggressions may be committed unknowingly as the perpetrators may be complexly oblivious and unaware that their behavior is hurtful.

Monday, June 27, 2022


Yesterday for the first time I heard the term “microaggression.” Do you have any idea what that means and where it come?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines aggression as a forceful action or procedure (such as an unprovoked attack) especially when intended to dominate or master. That might trigger thoughts of Hitler’s actions against the Jews, gays, and the mentally ill, or of Putin’s actions against the Ukraine. A microaggression is a verbal comment or nonverbal action that subtly and often unconsciously or even unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude that negatively impacts an individual who might identify as being from a marginalized or nonmainstream group. Microaggressions can occur based on almost anything: race, culture, sex, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, food, religion, politics, personal biases, weight, talent, beauty, education, income, music, beliefs, bigotry, bullying, ad infinitum. More tomorrow.

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Friday, June 24, 2022

English - 1

A physician friend just sent me a series of humorous takes on the English language. Here is the first five of twenty.

1. If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented?

2. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?

3. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

4. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

5. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

A new audio podcast is posted every Saturday morning

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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Pregnancy and Offspring

Researchers found that infants of mothers who smoked marijuana at least once a week or more during gestation showed increased hyperactivity, impulsivity, memory dysfunction, lowered IQ scores, and delinquent behavior in childhood. During adolescence and young adulthood symptoms included memory problems, lack of concentration, higher rates of drug use, hyperactivity, as well depression, psychotic, and schizophrenic-like symptoms. Several other studies involving thousands of children will have data to report, as well. Earlier longitudinal studies have shown that use of marijuana as well as use of tobacco are more than twice as likely in adulthood compared with those whose mother did not use marijuana during gestation. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Pregnancy and Pot

In my brain’s opinion it is less what you like and much more appropriately about the impact your actions will have on your developing fetus. An article in The Scientist reported on three large longitudinal studies following the offspring of women who smoked marijuana at least once a week or more during gestation. The active ingredients in marijuana that is smoked or eaten during gestation, enter the blood stream and have been found to pass easily to the fetus through the placenta. The researchers followed the offspring from birth through young adulthood. The results showed remarkably consistent outcomes in not only infants but also in young adults. More tomorrow.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Juneteenth Holiday

Canadian education taught about US President Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863. We did not learn that the practice of slavery did not cease everywhere on that date. Years later having relocated to the US, I heard about Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PhD, and his research. It was a surprise to discover that apparently some parts of this developing country either did not get the word about Lincoln’s Proclamation—or disregarded it for some reason or other. It was June nineteen, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger informed portions of Texas of what had occurred two and 1a half years previously [General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston]. Now we likely have the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States: Juneteenth (short for June nineteenth). Currently a holiday in many states, it has not yet to become a federal holiday. Let’s get on with it!

Monday, June 20, 2022


I was born in the second-largest country on Planet Earth after Russia. Canada sprawls over 3.8 million sq mi (9.9 million sq km). About 40 United Kingdoms could fit into Canada. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, and the Atlantic ocean, it boasts coastlines totaling 151,473 mi (243,772 km.) One little girl in a population of about 10 million (nearly four times that now). There was somewhat limited access to the world in some ways—no television or internet, radios and party-line telephones where they existed. Slavery in Canada predated the arrival of Europeans, as some indigenous peoples enslaved prisoners taken in war. History taught that Upper Canada passed the Act Against Slavery in 1793, one of the earliest anti-slavery acts in the world. Lower Canada soon followed suite. History also taught that the Slave Trade Act of 1807 abolished the slave trade in the British Empire. The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 abolished the institution of slavery itself in Canada in 1833, and by decree through the British Empire in 1834. I never recall any annual celebration, however. More tomorrow.

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Friday, June 17, 2022

Brain Housekeeping Chores, 3


Opens up spaces between neurons so glial cells can  help flush

       out toxic molecules including beta-amyloid proteins (plaques of

       Alzheimer’s Disease)

    Collects (reuptake) norepinephrine and serotonin from the

       synapse (synaptic gap) so they can be reused

    Prepares food for the neurons (neurotrophins)

    Increases production of oligodendrocyte glial cells that form the myelin

       sheath to wrap neuronal axons

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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Brain Housekeeping Chores, 2

Housekeeping Chores, 2

    Increases the blood supply to muscle cells

    Releases hormones for growth and development

    Reduces brain-body temperature and level of metabolic energy to

       save energy to use in growing and repairing cells

    Synthesizes new chemicals for the brain and immune system

    Generates and repairs immune system cells

    Repairs brain cells

    Removes waste products from the brain

More tomorrow 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Brain Housekeeping Chores

Housekeeping chores in the brain? Makes no sense to me. What are they?

 Here is a list of some of those housekeeping chores.

   Helps maintain homeostasis including energy balance

    Processes the previous 24 hours through dreaming during REM

    Creates electrical stimulation to help with learning, memory, decision-

       making, and cognitive performance when awake

    Consolidates information processed during the day and moves

       it from short-term into long-term memory

    Repairs cells in the hippocampus, your brain’s search engine

       so it can locate stored information and help you recall it

    Helps regulate appetite, mood, and libido

More tomorrow

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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Sleep-time Chores

Perhaps one of the reasons for going to sleep a couple of hours before midnight relates to the circadian rhythm clock located deep in the brain. It’s natural timing rhythm is reset every morning when the sun comes up over the horizon. When you go to bed late at night—or early in the morning hours—the circadian rhythm clock still want to reset itself when the sun comes up and wake you up. If you have to be to work or school early in the morning, you will likely set an alarm clock to make sure you get where you are going on time. You get up and get going on the day’s activities, and all the housekeeping chores the brain must do every night while you sleep could not be finished. Keep up the same schedule and the brain never catches up with its housekeeping chores. Estimates are that losing just one hour of sleep per night and it will shorten your life. This is one reason that sleep is said to be independently linked with longevity.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Sleep Before Midnight

What is the big deal about sleep before midnight being better for you? I say sleep is sleep. I’m correct, right?

You are definitely not the only person who thinks that ‘sleep is sleep.’ According to recent studies, the sleep you get before midnight is better for your brain and for restoring your body. Estimates are that it is so much better for restoring cells in your brain and body that each hour of sleep you get before midnight is worth three times as much as the hours you get after midnight. Insufficient sleep causes the level of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, to increase. Lack of sleep also causes the level of leptin, the stop eating hormone, to decrease. These two changes alone can lead to unwanted weight gain. 

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Friday, June 10, 2022

Impress Your Brain

Studies have shown that one’s thinking becomes more abstract when they use formal, polite language. A similar thing happens when one wears formal clothing. Findings from a study led by Michael L. Slepian of Columbia University reported that the type of clothing worn influences the brain’s cognitive (thinking) processing style, which can alter how objects, people, and events are perceived. Abstract thinking tends to facilitate the pursuit of long-term over short-term gains (e.g., saving versus spending). Study participants wearing formal attire scored 5.04 on a 1-to-10 scale of a type of thought process that measures abstract thinking, versus 3.99 for those wearing casual clothing. My brain’s opinion is that this is just another example of the way in which ‘everything starts in the brain.’ It’s not only the brains of others that are impacted by your appearance, so is your own brain. Thinking about how you are impressing your own brain may be a new concept. It may be one you want to consider carefully—seeing as it can impact even the way your brain thinks.

A new AUDIO podcast is posted every Saturday morning

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Thursday, June 9, 2022

Use Your Eyes

When you look directly at another person’s eyes, your energy and openness are communicated. If you’re not skilled at doing this, just train yourself to look directly at their eyes and note the eye color. Their brain will sense your brain’s attitude through electromagnetic or Em waves, so decide in advance the attitude you want to project—negative or positive, insecure or confident, disaffirming or affirming, powerless or powerful, bored or interesting, incompetent or competent. Status and power are nonverbally conveyed by the use of height and space. Standing tall (even if you’re short), pulling your shoulders back, and holding your head up are signals of confidence and competence. Remember, you have 1/10th of a second in which to make an initial impression—likely reinforced in the next 6/10th to 9/10th seconds. If you know what you are doing, 1/10th of a second is all you need to make a positive and memorable impression.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Nonverbal Touch

In this time of new or unusual infectious diseases, "To shake or not to shake", that is my question.

good question. Studies have shown that the fastest and most effective way to establish rapport is to shake hands. Studies have shown that it can take an average of three hours of continuous interaction to achieve the same level of rapport you can get with a handshake. What to do? Some people are moving to the ‘fist bump.’ Most brains quickly pick up on that move and respond. You may want to carry a little bottle of hand disinfectant or some wipes with you. After a spate of handshaking or fist bumping a little hand disinfectant and you are good to go. Leaning in slightly while you shake or bump can indicate that you are engaged or interested in the connection—as long as you respect the other person’s personal space. The generally recognized average comfortable ‘space’ zone is about two (2) feet. I prefer fist bumps to elbow bumps, as a fist bump is more likely to avoid invading personal space. 

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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Selling Body Language

Body language is all about selling yourself. What are you are selling? Hiring choices in companies are often made based on body language. Nonverbal cues are estimated to have over four times the impact of verbal cues on the impression you make. The impression you make on others can have ramifications for years to come. The ‘universal sign’ of acknowledgement is said to be the ‘eyebrow flash.’ You can raise an eyebrow slightly or open your eyes a bit more than normal to simulate the ‘eyebrow flash.’ No surprise, smiling is another positive nonverbal. A genuine smile indicates friendliness, approachability, and an invitation to converse. Naturally, raising an eyebrow or offering a genuine smile is predicated on whether or not one’s face lift or Botox injection permits that much facial movement. If not, you’ll need to rely more on how you dress and other nonverbals such as the amount of warmth in your tone of voice, position of arms and legs, or the quality of your handshake or fist bump. 

A new AUDIO podcast is posted every Saturday morning

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Monday, June 6, 2022

“Nose” Body Language

Body language starts in the brain, of course, and can reveal a variety of things about you when others are watching. According to psychologist Michael Cunningham, a professor of communication at the University of Louisville, your blood pressure tends to rise when you are telling a lie. Tiny blood vessels in your nose known as capillaries tend to dilate as your blood pressure rises, allowing more blood to flow through them. Lying can also trigger an adrenalin rush that dilates nose capillaries. Increased blood flow can make your nose feel itchy, which prompts you to touch it. (Typically, you rub your nose more vigorously when you have a genuine nose itch unrelated to lying.) If the person you are talking with knows this piece of brain trivia and you are touching your nose often, it might suggest deception. An exception might be a sociopath whose brain fails to register truth from fiction, so blood pressure might not rise or there may be no adrenalin rush.

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Friday, June 3, 2022

Pay Attention to Body Language

Why is body language so important if people tend to look at faces first?

Think about what you notice when first looking at someone’s face. Your peripheral vision takes in more than just the face. The eyes also take in body language. The type of body language that makes a better impression can be learned. The type you choose even can change your body chemistry. Closed body language i.e., crossed arms, crossed legs at the knee, tends to be viewed as defensive. (Perhaps that’s one reason portraits of Royal Women such as Queen Elizabeth II never show crossed legs at the knee.) A slumped compact position at a desk appears unempowering and uninterested. The opposite styes are empowering. Gesturing with palms up appears open and friendly; palms down suggests dominance. Standing with legs slightly apart suggests self-confidence. According to Amy Cuddy, Our nonverbals govern how other people think and feel about us.” She suggests practicing empowering body language and “Fake it until you become it.”

A new audio podcast is posted every Saturday morning

A new video podcast is posted every Saturday morning

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Learned or Innate


Can you give me an example of innate body language?

Body language does appear to be innate. If heathy, all infants exhibit the “startle reflex” if they suddenly feel as if they might fall or be dropped. It seems to be built into the emotional expression systems of both brain the body, although not all brains exhibit emotions the same. For example, some brains tear up at the drop of a hat. Some almost never shed tears. Studies done by researchers from British Columbia observed athletes at the Paralympics. Picture two athletes, side-be-side, one with visual sight and one congenitally blind. After winning, both athletes automatically exhibited the same body language to express pleasure at winning, the sighted and the non-sighted.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Second Impression

Is it true you never get a second chance to make a good first impression?

Do the math. There is only one “first” of anything. What impression are you wanting to make about yourself? Think about what your brain tells you when you first meet others? How does their appearance factor into your 1st impression? The same may be true for others who are seeing you for the first time. For example, I never go out with my hair uncombed or in rollers. I am not particularly “casual” in my dress so you would never see me in jeans and a T-shirt. I usually wear makeup to define my pale skin. When meeting someone, I typically smile. The brain tends to make a different assessment when a face is smiling rather than angry, grim, or even stoic. Hand-shaking may becoming a thing of the past. However, I am very comfortable with a fist pump. A willingness to “touch” suggests openness and affirmation.

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