Many people are thinking, well he doesn’t exist. True, but what if even the idea of Santa didn’t exist? How would that holiday season compare to the current one that (technically) lies about his existence ?
Is it even healthy to lie to our children about a mythical man that delivers gifts to “every” child in the world in one evening? Many children do not receive gifts on Christmas or ever, for that matter.
Is American society’s cultural “white lie” about Santa actually damaging our children?
An article by Slate.com purports that the Santa myth can be put in the Good lies opposed to the Bad lies that are mostly used to deflect blame or avoid responsibility – we cannot go to the park because it is closed today.
This type of good lie helps children adopt fantasy play. This form of play may cultivate a set of skills known as “theory of mind,” which helps kids predict and understand other people’s behavior.
Go ahead tell them Santa brought it.
Typically children, by age eight, stop believing in or stumble upon irreversible information that concludes, Santa Claus doesn’t exist anyway.
A 1997 study conducted by Marjorie Taylor, a University of Oregon psychologist, found that 4-year-olds who frequently engage in fantasy play are also better able than other kids to distinguish appearances from reality, understand other people’s expectations and know that perceptions depend on context.
Taylor’s recent study on school aged children with good fantasy lives suggests that they tend to have a better understanding of emotions as well. The study’s findings were that school-age children interact with imaginary companions and impersonate characters as much as preschoolers and overall, 65% of children up to the age of 7 had imaginary companions at some point during their lives.
The study also found that school-age children who did not impersonate scored lower on emotion understanding.
How do I burst the Santa Bubble in a Positive Way ?
Jacqueline Woolley, a psychologist at the University of Texas says to give children the tools to figure it out on their own. Leave the stocking stuffers in a way to obvious hiding place. Write a reply letter from Santa in your own hand writing. If your child asks you point blank, “Is Santa Claus Real?’, she suggests, in true psychologist fashion, to answer back with more questions such as, “What do you think? Are you staring to think he doesn’t? Why?
The article above in Spanish was recently published in A Tu Salud Magazine. A rough English translation of the article is below:
Our gestures often betray us: As much as we try to disguise our intentions or feelings, we project microexpressions: involuntary movements of our face that reveal what we hold deep and try to hide at all costs .
Fractions of a second beyond the human eye, but easily caught by cameras because technology is now able to detect those tiny and quick facial expressions that reveal pursed lips , wide eyes that reflect fear or scrunching of the nose showing disgust.
Thus, some experts have created programs that analyze the 44 facial muscles and are great tools in detecting lies. This software, is so helpful that agents of American law have been involved. “There are programs that are being promoted as useful to capture criminals by reading their faces. [However,] only reading this part of the body can not exhaustively determine who is a criminal, whether or not they committed a crime or are thinking about committing a crime,“ explains Joe Navarro, a former FBI counterintelligence agent specialized in the area of nonverbal communication . “These programs are created to detect stress in the face or concealed emotions, [however] these emotional leaks are not themselves indicators of deception , because there is no single behavior that indicates [that],“ Navarro added .
Meanwhile, Mark Frank, a researcher at the University of Buffalo (USA ), which has worked on the facial expressions of people in pressure situations also notes that “this type of work and the results have influenced the training of law enforcement .“
More than just a behavioral screening tool, they [the experts trained in microexpressions] can determine what to delve into deeper to find out the truth. Therefore it is useful to law enforcement because “It helps them decide which questions are to be asked to get more facts and which can then be compared with other evidence .“
For David Matsumoto , a professor of psychology at San Francisco University of California (USA ) , “the use of nonverbal behavior as a tool to penetrate the personality, motivation and intentions of individuals, especially those with hostile intent or who are lying, can be very useful in all cultures.“ In fact, in his research in nonverbal behavior especially microexpressions has aided the U.S. Department of Defense.
Several programs, such as METT , SETT (developed by the pioneering psychologist in the study of emotions and their relationships with the facial expressions , Paul Ekman ) and MiX Elite/SubX Elite (David Matsumoto ) serve as training for signs of facial expressions of emotion [that flash on and off the face very quickly and are expressed in his stakes situations].
Individuals download a program , showing faces that do not reflect any expression [neutral] and suddenly a snapshot of a particular gesture is displayed for a fraction of a second and the individual must identify emotion was displayed. In the case of METT , if the character is angry, for example, it is reflected across his face (very quickly). The SETT and SubX trainings, are even more complex , they only show the partial expression (i.e. just the eyes, or just
Frank adds that “programs are not catching criminals themselves, but help to better read the signs of subtle emotions on others to better understand and interact well with them and get to the truth.“
WHAT IS YET TO IMPROVE
Navarro, a former FBI agent, however is more skeptical, “this software ignores the rest of the body. It noted that these programs only consider the face, and there , as Navarro points out in his latest work, ” Clues To Deceit ” there are over 200 signals that help us in detecting stress, and most of them are not micro expressions, and they are observed in other parts of the body as well.“
Even Paul Ekman , who coined the term microexpression, affirms in his books that they [microexpressions] are a single behavior that is indicative of deception, but are signs of distress especially hidden emotions.
Matsumoto agrees that “I believe that the behavior does not verbal is one of the best tools. I do not think I have a unique opportunity to catch criminals, but rather a combination of techniques and tests that greatly enhance the research.“
For the former FBI agent, Navarro, the best way to identify and intercept criminals remains the classic “physical observation by a trained professional . Look for signs such as excessive sweating , agitation , facial expressions, heavy smoking , dress , etc.“
A new film about Lance Armstrong and his famous and then infamous career dubbed The Armstrong Lie is soon to be released by Sony Pictures. Alex Gibney, a filmmaker, began making a documentary on Lance back in 2009 on what is ultimately a story about power, not a story about doping.
”I certainly was very confident that I would never be caught.“ Lance admitted.
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Have a Great Holiday!
How would you feel if every time you logged onto your personal accounts from your laptop or phone you were giving away valuable personal information you hold dear?
Scientists at Cambridge University have shown that a person’s facial expressions could give away their security codes via the webcam on their device.
The Inquirer.net noted that with so many people using smart devices that have built in webcams – ipads, ipad minis, iPhones, Androids, Kindles – their personal storage unit security concerns for passwords and bank accounts are at an all time high.
Using an app called “PIN Skimmer”, the research team was able to listen to the sound of taps in relative proximity to a device microphone, and study facial expressions using the webcam’s front facing camera to deduce the unlock codes or patterns of several Android devices with alarming accuracy.
This technology is still in the development stage but if the past growth of technology is any indication this concern can turn into a huge problem within a year or two.
The findings are astonishing: for a four digit PIN, the app was able to detect with 50% accuracy within five attempts and for an eight digit PIN, a 60% success rate was achieved within 10 attempts.
These preliminary tests was were conducted on a Nexus S and Samsung Galaxy S3, are now expected to be widened to other devices.