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"Amplification": The Clever Method Women in the White House Use to Be Heard
Female political aides in the White House have banded together and are using a combo-technique of amplification and 'shine theory' to make sure their voices are counted.
The White House is a tough environment for anyone to work in, but it's arguably more difficult if you're a woman. From the long hours and rapid pace to the fact that men are three times more likely to interrupt women while speaking than men, females in the White House have to fight to make themselves heard.
And they do. The women in President Obama’s administration banded together and used what they called “amplification” to ensure that they had equal say in every conversation. As Quartz reports, “When a woman made a good point, another woman would repeat it, and give credit to the originator. This made the idea harder to ignore, or to steal.” A former Obama aide told The Washington Post: “We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing.” Obama reportedly noticed, and began calling more frequently on women and junior aides.
The amplification technique is also known as shine theory. It works like this: befriend and support successful people in order to promote both of you. New York Magazine puts it more simply: “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” Writer Ann Friedman elaborates: “When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.”
Not only are female White House staffers setting a great example, they’re reinforcing the benefits of repetition. Research out of Cornell University states that “spaced repetition… uses periodic review of content to improve long-term [memory] retention.” That means that by repeating a woman’s idea, it becomes more valid simply through the act of being repeated. If that sounds a bit far fetched, here’s persuasion expert Dan Pink explaining why:
Repetition has such strong benefits in conversation because it’s a mirroring technique. Mirroring is the act of consciously or subconsciously copying the speech patterns, body language, and even enthusiasm of a conversation partner. Former FBI crisis negotiator Chris Voss told Big Think that “when a person is mirroring who they talk to, mimicking their body language and enthusiasm, it is a signal that the two people are at ease with each other and have taken a similar point of view.” That technique gives credence to both participants in the conversation and leads to better overall expression of ideas, as Voss explains here:
As helpful and useful as these strategies are, they’re not a magic bullet for workplace equality. As Sheryl Sandberg famously explains in Lean In: “In the days of tokenism, women looked around the room and instead of bonding against an unfair system, they often viewed one another as competition… women wound up being ignored, undermined, and in some cases even sabotaged by other women.” Kerry Rubin and Lia Macko, authors of Midlife Crisis at 30, put it even more bleakly:
"What we discovered in our research is that while the empowerment part of the equation has been loudly celebrated, there has been very little honest discussion among women of our age about the real barriers and flaws that still exist in the system despite the opportunities we inherited."
Those flaws need to be addressed in order for true gender parity in the workplace. But in the meantime, the women of President Obama’s staff are certainly doing their part to make it happen.
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A study looks at the ingredients of a good scare.
Catching fear in a bottle<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyNzg1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTQwMTcyMn0.WtpJ1E_dhK2o09fBpKARynj4_p5NXeklgsXsbd7xr9w/img.jpg?width=980" id="8ff51" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f10dd9188b173f4a36e85e9325507c6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Photo Boards/Unsplash<p>Previous studies have tracked physiological signs of fear arousal, but none have established a one-to-one correlation between that arousal and specific, actual fear events.</p><p>Andersen says that much of the research has been conducted in lab settings with weak fear stimuli, observing subjects as they experience things like scary videos. Scares in these situations tend to be weak and difficult to measure. Even harder to track in these situations is the link between enjoyment and fear. </p>
Eyes everywhere<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/109695164" width="100%" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="267ba87cfb8591ed5830499574d2272a"></iframe><p>Andersen and his colleagues conducted their experiments at <a href="https://dystopia.dk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dystopia</a> Haunted House, a commercial attraction in Vejle, Denmark constructed in an old, run-down factory. The Recreational Fear Lab has a long-standing partnership with the spook shack.</p><p>They outfitted 100 volunteers with heart monitors and sent them on their terrifying way through the 50-room horror mansion. The facility incorporates a number of fright mechanisms including frequent jump scares in which a sudden threat takes a visitor by surprise.</p><p>Researchers surreptitiously observed their participants on closed-circuit video as they made their way through the attraction. They tracked each individual's scares, scoring them for intensity according to their visible reactions. After exiting the attraction, individuals self-reported their experiences in the haunted house.</p><p>Combining these self-reports with observer notes and each participant's heart-rate data gave the researchers subjective, behavioral, and physiological insights into the ways in which fear is experienced, and when it's a good thing or not.</p>
A pair of inverted U-shapes<p>In analyzing their data, the researchers saw two separate inverted u-shape curves. One depicted participants' enjoyment based on their self-reports and observed behavior. A similar u-curve was detected in their heart rates showing that just the right amount of heartbeat acceleration is associated with fun, but too much is too much. It's the terror Goldilocks zone.</p><p>Says Andersen, "If people are not very scared, they do not enjoy the attraction as much, and the same happens if they are too scared. Instead, it seems to be the case that a 'just-right' amount of fear is central for maximizing enjoyment."</p><p>The research suggests that being scared is enjoyable when it represents just a quick minor physiological deviation from one's normal state. When it goes on too long, however, or triggers too severe a physiological change, it becomes disturbing. Game over.</p><p>Andersen notes that this is not dissimilar to the factors known to make interpersonal play enjoyable: just the right amount of uncertainty and surprise. These are, maybe not coincidentally, also the ingredients of a successful joke.</p>
A meteorite that smashed into a frozen lake in Michigan may explain the origins of life on Earth, finds study.
- A new paper reveals a meteorite that crashed in Michigan in 2018 contained organic matter.
- The findings support the panspermia theory and could explain the origins of life on Earth.
- The organic compounds on the meteorite were well-preserved.
Meteor streaks through Michigan sky<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80b7f30820153b35fc515592d7475f53"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPu2qnqMYBo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The meteorite that smashed into Strawberry Lake carried pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds.
Credit: Field Museum