Manic Monday: Close Talkers

It’s just another Manic Monday!

As a child growing up in the 90s, the TV show Seinfeld was a huge part of my youth. Even though a lot of the jokes went over my head due to the sometimes overly adult topics, I still soaked up a lot of life lessons from Jerry and his comedic crew. Like George’s suggestion as to how to keep yourself looking like you’re busy at work even when you’re doing absolutely nothing. {Not that I would ever do that. ;)} I learned things to avoid, like bath houses and payayayour friends mom who prepares too much payaya. The most important lesson that I learned from Seinfeld was to stay away from and to not be a close talker. We all have that one friend. The one who you can feel his breath when he talks to you face-to-face. The old lady at church who has to be touching your arm and talking into your ear just to tell you something that isn’t that important.

close talkerOn the episode of Seinfeld, Elaine’s boyfriend (played by Judge Reinhold) invades the space of everyone around him. “He’s a real close talker!”   I remember watching this guy and thinking that he must have been something off in his brain. Well a recent study from The California Institute of Technology (aka Caltech) has revealed that I was probably right. Caltech have pinpointed the part of the brain that is responsible for our personal sense of space. This discovery has offered a lot of insight into the world of autism and other disorders where ‘personal space’ could be an issue. The research centered around a womanamygdala who had a lesion on her amygdala (no Waterboy we’re not talking about the medulla oblongata, Caligula, or Abdullah the Butcher). The amygdala are two almond-shaped nuclei located deep in the temporal lobes of your brain. In humans and other mammals, the amygdala is said to control our fear and pleasure responses.

The researchers believe that distancing ourself during a one-on-one conversation isn’t something that we consciously think about but rather we know the situational norms that need to be followed at that time. If you are talking to your lover, you’re going to lean in closer in an intimate manner. If you’re talking to a fellow co-worker, you will stand at an appropriate distance. So autism, being a neuro-developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to properly interact and communicate with others, research is jumping leaps and bounds due to close talkers.

close talker 2I by no means am saying that the sweet old lady at church has autism…maybe she just really loves you and feels comfortable enough to be near you. I am not saying that Judge Reinholds character from Seinfeld was portraying an autistic man because of his close talking…but by this I am saying that sometimes close talkers just can’t help it. Maybe they’re just a little too loving. Maybe that’s the problem, they just love too much. Don’t hate me because I’m a little more lenient on a close talker than I am someone who chews with their mouth open.

 

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