We're Never More Persuasive Than On Our First Day on Earth.
You try and stare a baby out on the metro and you’re on a loser pal.
Dr. Kevin Dutton is the author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. Dutton is a research psychologist at the Calleva Research Centre for Evolution and Human Science, Magdalen College, University of Oxford.
We are never more persuasive than on our very first day on earth. If you think about it on our very first day on earth, as newborn babies, we had to convince those around us, without intention, without consciousness, without any of the techniques of modern linguistic sophistry currently at our disposal, to take care of us, to see us on our way, to subjugate their own interests at the expense of ours. And you know what? We did it, didn’t we? Because otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here this afternoon talking about it.
And how did we do it? Well, it certainly wasn’t through any of our own efforts, that’s for sure. If it had been through our own effort we almost would have definitely blown it. No, instead, natural selection took care of it for us by equipping us with two features fitted as standard, fiendishly calibrated to cut through that ozone layer of vested interests and second-guessing, and to pound breathily up the steps of consciousness to kind of hammer resolutely on the secret in the emotional chambers of our hearts - a bit of Coldplay for you there.
And those two features were a virtually un-ignorable soundtrack that figures at the top of pretty much everyone’s list of aversive acoustic stimuli, and appallingly cute good looks, which appear damn near irresistible to anyone who comes into contact with them. You try and stare a baby out on the metro and you’re on a loser pal. Okay? So we are never more persuasive than on our very first day on the planet.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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