All posts by Dave Crusoe

OMG iPhone Greeting

The OMG iPhone Greeting

This is a greeting in which the greeter attempts to greet one who is utterly, totally, completely and intensely adsorbed in an iPhone. In an affront to one’s good manners, this greeting may go unreciprocated. Or, the greeted may be sufficiently surprised so as to look up and exclaim, as if blameless: “Eeh?” Your response: OMG iPhone! You think to yourself: at least your friend didn’t walk off cliff or run a train off the tracks… this time!

Let’s explore. Psychologically-speaking, we have a fun combination of the addictive qualities of devices and media, coupled with the detrimental impacts of multi-tasking. At the very least. Let’s poke a bit at distraction.

No matter how many digital things we surround ourselves with, humans have biological limits that researchers trying to understand. Attention is finite. Just et al (2008) coaxed research subjects into an MRI to understand how their brains handled distraction while driving in a simulator. How’d they fare?

OMG predictably! Driving quality suffered. They wrote that “we interpret this diversion of attention as reflecting a capacity limit on the amount of attention or resources that can be distributed across the two tasks. This capacity limit might be thought of as a biological constraint that limits the amount of systematic neural activity that can be distributed across parts of the cortex.” (p. 6)

While we’re talking about this article, one aspect of academic writing that I love is the use of “may”. Here, we can see an example (emphasis added):

“it may be dangerous to mindlessly combine the special human capability of processing spoken language with a more recent skill of controlling a large powerful vehicle that is moving rapidly among other objects.” (p.6)


So… Where does this leave us? Look, when you may want a good conversation, leave that mobile phone behind – in your bag, or if you really want to be sure about it, you may pop it into the friendly blender.

p.s. For a fun experiment, evaluate performance on the Interactive Stroop Effect test.

Just MA, Keller TA, Cynkar J. A Decrease in Brain Activation Associated with Driving When Listening to Someone Speak. Brain research. 2008;1205:70-80. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2007.12.075. Available online.
Drive By Greeting

The Drive-by Greeting

The drive-by greeting is a perfunctory greeting made in passing. It includes no follow-up and indeed, gives little time for the greeted to elicit a response. A response by the greeted will often go unrecognized or noticed. This greeting is, perhaps, an individual’s response to the fast pace of an office environment as it clashes with the desire to socialize with each of those one might pass. 

Writers, workers and cartoonists have long complained about the pace of the workplace vis. its impact on health and personal well-being. In 1875, essayist William Rathbone Greg wrote:

“Beyond doubt, the most salient characteristic of life in the later half of the nineteenth century is its speed-the rate at which we move and the high pressure at which we work… [is this] a good… [and] worth the price we pay for it?” (Greg, 1875).

In 1875, as more recently, researchers and grumbling office workers suspect that pace of life is correlated to such detriments as coronary heart disease (Levine et al., 1999) by way of the impacts of stress (Chandola et al., 2008), including poor diet and sedentarianism (take that, dictionary!). However, an earlier (2003) meta-review conducted by a boisterous, well-credentialed Australian group found that workplace stress had little effect on heart disease; instead, depression and social isolation were predictors (Bunker et al., 2003). Golly! There were 11 authors on that article. Re: re: re: re: that, imagine how stressful that e-mail exchange would have been!

So… what to do? Next time you’re taking a stroll at work, slow down the pace a bit and say “Hey!” with the High Five greeting. It’s a far more positive approach!


Bunker, S. J., Colquhoun, D. M., Esler, M. D., Hickie, I. B., Hunt, D., Jelinek, V. M., … & Tonkin, A. M. (2003). ” Stress” and coronary heart disease: psychosocial risk factors. The Medical Journal of Australia, 178(6), 272-276. Online here.

Chandola, T., Britton, A., Brunner, E., Hemingway, H., Malik, M., Kumari, M., … & Marmot, M. (2008). Work stress and coronary heart disease: what are the mechanisms?. European Heart Journal, 29(5), 640-648. Online here.

Levine, R. V., & Norenzayan, A. (1999). The pace of life in 31 countries.Journal of cross-cultural psychology, 30(2), 178-205. Online here.

Royal Institution of Great Britain (1875). Notices of the Proceedings at the Meetings of the Members of the Royal Institution of Great Britain with Abstracts of the Discourses. W. Nicol, Printer to the Royal Institution. Online here.

High Five Greeting

The Silent High Five

The Silent High Five is a greeting given by physical contact; open palm of greeter to open palm of greeted, struck quickly. It often lacks verbal preemption (but may be followed-up with verbal reinforcement. “Rock on” and “way to go” are common accompaniments.

Ostensibly, we can thank jazz musicians for their invention of the five, or “giving skin“. As King (1968) wrote of the five, it is “… the jive set’s seal of approval, the jazz equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor” (p. 207). So hey, let’s dig a bit.

Touch-being touched by another, or touching another-is an immensely important to human development. Foundational scientific research was conduced in the 1920s. In one work, scientists confined a group of post-operative rat babies to a cup, whilst they provided others with maternal contact. Food and sunlight were kept equal. The experimenters wondered: which rats would recover from their operation? So, what happened? The rats attended by mom did AOK… and ostensibly participated in researchers’ future experiments. What about the rats raised in a cup? Their lives concluded er… decisively.

Despite this (and other) research, humans have interpreted the science variously. In 1928, John B. Watson, a popular (yet radical) psychologist, wrote this choice piece in his seminal parenting book Psychological Care of Infant and Child :

“If you expected a dog to grow up and be useful as a watch-dog… or for anything except a lapdog, you wouldn’t dare treat it the way you treat your child. When I hear a mother say: ‘Bless its little heart’ when it falls down, or stubs its toe… I usually have to go for a little walk to let off steam. Can’t the mother train herself when something happens to the child to look at its hurt without saying anything…?” (p. 74)

And, oh my! Watson wrote this choice piece a few paragraphs later:

“… If you haven’t a nurse and cannot leave the child, put it out in the back-yard a large part of the day. Build a fence around the yard so that you are sure no harm can come to it. Do this from the time it is born… no child should get commendation and notice and petting every time it does something it ought to be doing anyway” (p. 75-76).

Actually, the entire chapter book is worth a read, for it shows how child-rearing philosophies differ across time, place and culture. Watson’s ideas are not entirely without merit. For example, he describes the importance of giving kids materials to make toys, rather than the toys themselves. Interesting! Ultimately, who’s to say which child-rearing approach is best?

Nonetheless, the results of science tell us that touch, and physical interaction, helps development and human experience (Ardiel et al., 2010).  Thus, the High Five greeting is not simply a greeting. It’s a congratulations, a celebration and a fantastic way to help colleagues, friends and others feel wanted, needed and comforted.

Go give someone a #HighFiveGreet today!

King, L.L. (1968). … and Other Dirty Stories. World Publishing Company

Ardiel, E. L., & Rankin, C. H. (2010). The importance of touch in development. Paediatrics & Child Health, 15(3), 153–156. Online here.

Watson, J. B. (1928). Psychological care of infant and child. Online here

The Avoidance Greeting

The Avoidance Greeting is that which is given by a greeter who has been trying, hard, to avoid the greeted. The subtle psychology of the avoidance greeting is such that the greeter is often troubled by something due to the greeted, e.g., overdue work, a failed relationship or really bad prior date.

Hey, the Avoidance Greeting has it all: a bundle of anxiety, an uneven balance power and strength and weakness vis. the relationship. Any one of these instances could read like a tantalizing novel in the ‘cheap thrills’ section of the airport: “Breathlessly, Alice hid behind her coffee-stained cube divider as Bob, her manager known as “The Shark”, prowled in search of someone to give the dreaded quarterly results update. And the quarterly results were worse than the feeling in one’s stomach after a long night of drinking too much cheap vodka and over-eating cheeze-it snacks”.

Liden et al (2000) summarize four dimensions of empowerment in the workplace, including self-determination, impact, competence and choice. The greeted clearly falls short in at least two of these dimensions, including competence (which the greeted clearly lacks) and choice (which the greeted has given up). At least, that’s a nonscientific exploration of the matter.

Liden, R. C., Wayne, S. J., & Sparrowe, R. T. (2000). An examination of the mediating role of psychological empowerment on the relations between the job, interpersonal relationships, and work outcomes. Journal of applied psychology,85(3), 407. Retrieved online here.