“Men should not rely on non -verbal agreement”


“This girl definitely flirts with me,” you think, looking at a pleasant stranger in the subway. You are sure that her smile means flirting and is intended for you? Or you give out what you want? Psychologist Lisa Feldman-Barrett tells what a cruel joke can play with us.

Being a woman, I am skeptical of the assertion that men do not see the difference between consent and coercion in sex. This is too simple excuse. Reading terrible details in stories by tag #Metoo (Per. “Me too”), you see that sometimes the lack of consent is obvious. For example, in the case of Bill Cosby, when women were given drugs before sex.

But everything can be more complicated, as in the case of Governor Missouri Eric Gritens, when sex began by agreement, but supposedly ended with coercion and violence. Eric Schneiderman, who left the post of Prosecutor General of New York after accusations of sexual violence, claimed that his intimate contacts with several partners, whom he spanked and strangled, were based on voluntary harmony. The women accused him did not agree.

However, since I am engaged in neuronaucu, I am forced to consider an alternative option, however unpleasant it is. The brain is arranged so that people see what they believe in. In many cases, in the absence of verbal consent, the brain of different people can perceive the same events in absolutely different. As a result, people experience different situations.

The brain is constantly busy with assumptions. At every moment, he tries to guess what will happen in the next second – this process is called an active incorporate. The brain pretends how much salt and water your body needs to stay alive and healthy. He analyzes that rustling in the grass is a wild animal or just wind? He also tries to guess what the facial expressions and gestures of people around mean.

Since the brain always makes assumptions, facial expressions – a bad indicator to judge the consent, refusal and emotions in general. A smile may mean

Article 20.1 “Petit hooliganisme, c’est-à-dire une violation de l’ordre public, exprimant un manque de respect explicite pour la société, accompagné d’anomalies obscènes dans les lieux publics, une attaque cialis sans ordonnance contre les citoyens, ainsi que la destruction ou les dommages causés à la propriété de quelqu’un d’autre – implique la imposition d’une amende administrative dans le montant de cinq cents à mille roubles ou une arrestation administrative jusqu’à quinze jours. “

“I am glad” or “I agree”, but at the same time – “I am embarrassed”, “I am thinking of terrible revenge” or “You are much stronger, so I will not better resist”. This is true for the language of gestures. Even when you shake your head, implying the obvious “no”, this can be perceived as “I am confused”, “well, you have a joke” or “something dizzy”.

Any experience and action begin with existing beliefs of the brain. When you see a sign in the smile of another person, an inclination of the head, ajar lips, this is because the brain deciphered them on the basis of its ideas about the truth. In this regard, men do not differ from women or biological differences have not received scientific confirmation here. We all have moments when desires affect what they saw or heard. Such is the human nature. If men stumble on the issue of consent more often than women, then perhaps because the request for sex more often sounds from their side. But, of course, this is not an excuse.

The results of continuous guesses can be made far. People often see things that are not. The brain makes the wrong guess, and you see a smile of a person with a neutral expression on his face. Ideally, the brain should automatically take into account new information and correct the error, but sometimes this does not happen, and you still see a smile.

In a famous experiment with the “Invisible Gorilla”, which was conducted by Cognitive psychologists Dan Simons and Christopher Shabri, the volunteers asked to watch a video in which people transfer each other a basketball, and count the shots. Doing this, the audience missed the gorilla, who had crossed the field in front of everyone in their eyes. They saw what was supposed to happen from their point of view, and not what really unfolded in front of them.


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