Did you ever get an uneasy feeling about someone after just a glimpse of them? There is a reason that this happens. Don’t ignore your brain, it’s pretty smart! In Malcolm Gladwells’ book Blink, he talks about this very phenomenon. Our brain is like a supercomputer, it picks up on things that we don’t consciously see or realize. We often get bad feelings and don’t know why so we ignore them, sometimes to our peril. He talks about an example of a statue that was supposedly thousands of years old and worth millions of dollars. The tests all showed that it was really that old, was from the area of the world that was claimed, etc. Three different experts took one glimpse at it and said that it was a fake. When asked why they thought that they said that they didn’t know, they just had a gut feeling. These experts were ignored because the “scientific” research said that it was real and a museum bought it for millions. It ended up being fake. The expert’s brain knew something that they didn’t even know that they knew!
Another thought that Gladwell talks about in his book is that our brain sees “thin slices”. He believes that things that can actually happen so quickly that they can’t be picked up by our conscious can still be seen by our brain. An example that he uses is a video of a married couple talking about their relationship. It sounds like they are very positive and have a good relationship when the video is only listened to. When it is watched he and others who were studying with him had a feeling that the couple was in trouble. They ended up divorcing shortly afterward. When Gladwell played the video in slow motion and looked at it frame by frame he saw negative body language….rolling eyes here, looks of disdain there. He was fascinated that these things that happened too fast to notice were actually picked up on by the brain.
One of my own students had a great but horrifying illustration of this happening to him. As he was opening up his shop he saw two guys pass by the window. He thought “if I had to describe those two to the police, what would I say”? He didn’t have any idea why he would have thought such a thing. Sure enough, a few minutes later they were in his shop and had a gun to his head.
Ladies, this is exactly what “women’s intuition” is. Listen to it every time. For example, a guy gets on an elevator with us when we are alone. Something doesn’t feel right but we know that if we get off before the door closes he’ll be offended. Who cares? He is a stranger who, even if he is offended, will have forgotten about it five minutes later. If we stay on and were right we will regret it for much longer than five minutes. Men know they make women uncomfortable. If a guy gets on an elevator and there is a woman there by herself he will automatically go as far to the opposite side of the elevator as possible. We may never have consciously thought about this but this is why if he gets closer the “women’s intuition” kicks in. The same thing is true with walking down a street. If a man is approaching a woman from behind (because he is walking faster) he will automatically go as far over to the curb as he can if she is on the inside, or he will go to the inside if she is by the curb. He will do this at a great distance away and not wait until he is up on her. If the bad guy doesn’t do this, the old intuition may try to tell us that something isn’t right. We must listen to our brain!!
There are reasons for uneasy feelings, bad feelings about someone, or for being “creeped out” by someone. Our brains are noticing everything and compute the data for us in split seconds. Listen to these gut feelings and stay out of trouble. BE SAFE!