Saturday, December 27, 2014

End-year Special: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens(6)

What message does an MJ goodbye mean or make you do?
Source:Wikimedia Commons.
Some of the implications of the EASI model are:

  1. Emotions can be used to regulate human social life.
  2. Based on the perception of the observer and the interpreted or responded to emotion, people can adaptively respond to the signals of their environment, to fight or flight, and to send signals about their intentions to their immediate environment.

  3. Emotions can be used to coordinate one’s social life.
  4. If you believe a partner is committed to a relationship because he is attentive to your demands, then you’d want to be yourself.

  5. Emotions can ensure human survival.
  6. A society without the mechanism of language would have to rely on non-verbal cues for communication. But that would serve as a disadvantage when danger lurks and such danger is of immediate or spontaneous concern.

  7. Emotions can be used to change the destiny of others.
  8. Followers react to their leaders anger and are happy when he is happy. Nations go to war on the say-so of their President. When a lover feels loved, he wants to love in return.

  9. Emotions are influencing tools.
  10. People respond readily to emotions of trust and want to reply in like. Most persons dislike treachery and are disgusted to hear accounts of such.

  11. Emotions are signals of intentions and desires.
  12. By watching a deaf-and-dumb sign, you can deduce sometimes if they are angry, happy, sad or annoyed. When other methods that serve as vehicles of communication fail, people often resort to emotional cues.

  13. Emotions can be used to shape behavior.
  14. People can decode emotional signals differently. Persons with high information processing abilities react to a leader’s anger while those with low information processing abilities believe the leader is insensitive, dislikes them etc when he expresses the emotion of anger. The accuracy to decode the message transmitted by an emotion and the degree of emotional expressivity can greatly shape other’s behavior.

  15. Emotions are tied to cultures.
  16. Remember display rules? Also, traditions and customs can greatly shape one’s emotions. I can particularly testify to that this year when I went to the village to attend my grandmother’s burial. I even blogged about it.

    So, the EASI model can be a good tool in understanding, regulating and coordination our social life using emotions interpretation and responses.

The EASI model is a groundbreaking work by Van Kleef. You can read the full textual explanation here. The six series of blog articles that are focused on this theme are:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

End-year Special: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions(5)

Response and interpretation of emotions also depends on the peculiarities and characteristics of the social environment of the observer. A case in point is competitive and cooperative behavior. Inferential processes are more dominant in situations of competition and conflict than cooperation, while affective or emotional response processes are more dominant in cooperative settings.

Some cultures have specific rules on how, when and where one can express emotions. This is referred to as display rules in psychology. Some examples from the Psychlopedia are:
  • In Islamic culture, females are not to disagree because it is seen as a sign of disrespect.
  • Children in Asian cultures are often taught to mask their emotions (especially negative ones), whereas American children are generally advised to express them.
  • In other countries, the middle finger is meaningless, where as here, it's very impolite and generally a sign of anger or hate.
  • Sticking out your tongue in America usually signifies disgust, where as in China it can express surprise.
  • Slurping your soup in America is viewed as socially unacceptable, while in Japan and Hong Kong it is seen as a sign of approval of the cook and appreciation of the food.
  • In American culture, it is disrespectful to not make eye contact when talking to people, where as in many African cultures it is considered a sign of respect to look down when speaking to someone, particularly elders.
  • In America, holding up your middle finger and index finger conveys the message of peace; however, in England and Australia, this is known as an obscene way of telling someone off.
  • In Italy, biting your thumb is a way of showing disrespect or insulting someone, while in other cultures it doesn't mean anything.
  • In Japanese culture it is known that burping after a meal shows politeness and enjoyment of the food, but in American culture, after burping, you must say "excuse me" as to be ashamed for burping.
  • In America it is considered socially unacceptable for men to display their emotions.
The last blog article in the series, Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens, will discuss the way forward when using the EASI model to make sense of our social milieu.

The rest of the series:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

End-year Special: Information processing of emotional signals(4)

When an observer perceives an emotion, how he interprets it and his reaction to it depends on his motivation and ability to process the information conveyed by that emotion. By processing that information, the observer seeks to understand it and to relate it to himself whether for good or bad.

Let’s take an example. When one is forced to find answers to ambiguities such as racism and authority, his response, whether he is affected by the question and reacts emotionally to it or avails himself of every means to find suitable answers depends on if he seeks immediate answers or wants deeply probed and meditated answers. Psychologists refer to this as the need for closure. Persons with a high need for closure, or for immediate answers, have shallow information processing motivation. They tend to accept the status quo, are averse to diversity and diverse opinions, are influenced more by emotions and react to it, resist change, adopt conservative views and are easily law abiding. They usually have reduced creativity. Generally, individuals with high need for closure have low powers of processing emotional information and tend to react to rather than make inferences from perceived emotions.

A related study on persuasion and need for closure found that persons who were low on the need for closure were easily persuaded and receptive to divergent opinions because they had high information processing abilities.

In the area of leadership, followers with high information processing abilities are better able to interpret the negative emotions, like anger, of their leader and infer that they had to work harder while followers with low information processing abilities are more receptive to happiness or positive emotions. If the leader becomes angry, they become annoyed and then dislike the leader.

Power also reduces an individual’s ability to correctly process information and draw inferences from emotional expressions. People with low power can easily make inferences and more objective than those who have power.

The next blog article, Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions, will examine how cultural norms shape our reaction and interpretation of emotions.

The rest of the series:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

End-year special: How emotions play a part in decision making(3)

An inference is a conclusion drawn from evidence or reasoning. In this case, the evidence and reasoning are responses to an initial perceived emotion.

We can make inferences about others feelings, we interpret what messages is conveyed by the nod of a head, a gentle smile, a stolen kiss, which influence us, the observers. The inferences could be wrong or right depending on the circumstances. An example could be taken from culture shock, the impact you feel when you enter a culture very different from your own. An example is that Asians consider it rude to meet gazes too long (longer than a second), however, it is just the opposite in some western countries. So when a westerner meets an Asian, the Asian thinks the westerner is rude, the westerner thinks the Asian is sneaky. Some more examples from the website:
In Argentina, the usual way of greeting among friends and family is a kiss on the cheek…

Don't ever kiss an Indian.... There is no such provision for kissing a person to greet him or her. It is considered as a sexual act.
Inferences drawn from observed emotions shape our behavior. Some persons interpret guilt as a need for approval, that the expresser wants the relationship to continue while others perceive guilt as emotional blackmailand would completely reject such emotions. Non-verbal cues can be used to express the emotions of power and dominance. In rounds of negotiations, the emotions expressed by an opponent can lead negotiators to discover win-win agreements that satisfies all concerns. Emotional intelligencecan impact on a leader’s ability to be effective and can be used by followers in a business environment to draw inferences about their performance levels.

Students in school are particularly keen in observing the emotions of their lecturers. A smile or a nod of the head is all the encouragement a student needs sometimes to outperform others in group-based learning.

Therefore, by eliciting a second emotional response or helping the observer to make inferences based on how they read the emotions, emotions do help in decision making.

That brings us to the fourth blog article in the series, Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.

The rest of the series:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

End-year special: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response(2)

A child sees his mother smoking and is soon found with a twig in his mouth, copying the way she holds and inhales from a cigarette. A sociable imitation of another person’s behavior is termed mimicry. A woman crying on the streets sometimes makes one shed a tear. The sensation of crying was carried to the brain and fed back to your senses as pity that you’d want to share with.

The two examples above demonstrate that emotions can influence others. Emotions can spread like gangrene. Happiness spreads faster than anger. Patriotism is contagious. Anger makes others to like you less and to feel dissatisfied with your company.

The contagious effect of the emotions is particularly noticeable in group settings. We all love inviting gregarious and charming Sandra to our parties but allow introverted Alex to his lonely musings. An angry member of a group can spoil the group climate and create an atmosphere of negativity. Teams that were coached by a leader in a positive mood developed one.

When anger is directed at you, you can use the tools of effective listening to defuse the anger or fuel it by responding in kind.

All these are a second emotional response which are reactions to an observed emotion.

As humans, we register emotions in the brain, process them and decide to react emotionally or make other interpretations of these registers.

The next blog article,Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making, describes emotions role in shaping decisions.

The rest of the series:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

Friday, December 26, 2014

End-year special: How emotions can function as message bearers (1)

Emotions are our responses to internal or external events. A woman having a headache demonstrates it by either touching her hands to her head or saying it out that she has a headache. When we see a crime being committed on the street, our faces register signs of dismay and shock. On my face, your face, by body movements, by choice of words, by a silent whisper, a nod of the head, a smile of approval, a loving kiss, a hateful glance, emotions are expressed in countless ways that the senses can perceive and receive a message.

Some emotions are spontaneous. In my middle high school classes, it amazes me how the children sometimes begin drumming on the desks or exclaiming in alarm in reaction to some information in the lecture or to an answer to a question. Some are also premeditated.

Whatever the case may be, emotions are message bearers in that they convey to the observer the feelings, goals, needs, desires and social intentions of the creator of the emotion. Whether love at first sight exists or not, the reaction expressed by an observer to sex or other visual stimuli, was as a result of a emotion produced.

If happiness is appraised as a favorable and benign emotion that we all are attracted to, then what is anger? An expressive emotion that translates into a frustrated goal and taking the blame out on others.

Emotions surely convey messages and not just few, but lots of messages. Emotions then are worth studying and understanding if we want to build healthy social relationships.

The next blog article, Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response, describes the influential role of emotions in social life.

The rest of the series:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

End-of-Year special: How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction)

MJ captivated thousands with his emotional music.
Source:Wikimedia Commons.
If you watch any video of Michael Jackson, you’d be amazed at how he creatively uses his emotions – his voice, face, hands and body movements – to convey messages that are meant to influence you. Emotions are not only meant to influence others in social relations, it also determines our reactions and personal feelings. Take for example a man who sees a snake on his path. He feels the emotion of fear and decides either to run or look for a stick to kill it. Emotions regulate and coordinate humans and their relationship with others. Emotions could trigger a fight or a flight response.

A nation could go to war riding on the wave of emotions.

Understanding how our emotions determine our existence and using them to human advantage both at an intrapersonal and interpersonal level is then important. This end-of-year special series of blog articles will describe a model developed by Van Kleef that was developed towards this end, but on the interpersonal level. The model is named Emotions As Social Information (EASI) model.

The EASI describes human emotions as signals from one’s face, voice, bodily posture, choice of words etc that were expressed to influence the observer and trigger either an emotional response or trigger his brain to make deductions on what message(s) the emotion was meant to convey based on his information processing ability and social context.

The six series of blog articles that are focused on this theme are:

  1. How to use emotions to Human Advantage (Introduction).
  2. Series 1: How emotions can function as message bearers.
  3. Series 2: Why emotions can drive a second emotional response.
  4. Series 3: How emotions play a part in decision making.
  5. Series 4: Information processing of emotional signals.
  6. Series 5: The social context in responding and interpreting emotions.
  7. Series 6: Implications of using emotions as social information tokens.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Puzzle: Can you make out what is X?

Can you solve the puzzle below, for x?
What is X?
Hint: You can change the angle of view - 90, 180 degrees, turn it upside down, whatever, to make out a different series.

I can't wait for the first correct answer!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How negative emotions like sadness could turn out to be a force for good

It is not always possible to suppress emotions like anger or sadness during a crisis. When corporate image is at stake, it is rather that conventional wisdom be rethought. For the sake of the public image, to motivate the workforce, and for so many other seemingly positive reasons, demonstrating negative emotions was perceived as against the corporate good. Does it mean that all negative emotions are bad? When angry employees voice their opinions are they rebels who should be shoved out the door? Positive management leads to positive leadership.

Sometimes, the prevailing attitudes do not reflect desired positive outcomes (pdf). Sometimes, the status quo could be wrong although there are exceptions to every rule.

Bereavement could build social connections. Source: Wikimedia Commons
When, could expressions of negative emotions at the corporate arena be a force for positive results or positive changes? Management should evaluate these facts when making a decision.

  • Every situation is unique:

  • Sometimes, workers should be encouraged to express negative emotions. Managers should ensure that such negative demonstrations are constructive and for the “common good. Even positive emotions like compassion, a positive emotion, when taken to extremes, can lead to what is termed “compassion fatigue,” which has been shown to induce stress in perfectionists and overly conscientious individuals. No two situations can be the same.
  • Political nature of the situation:

  • When workers perceive injustice or unfairness, they usually have channels for lodging complaints. When these channels become unfair or inefficient, employees organize themselves. The consequences for doing so could be grave or positive; the outcomes depend on the individuals involved, their corporate political ambitions, the genesis of the negative emotion as well as other factors.
  • Organizational leadership style:

  • When management is ineffective, would it be wrong for workers to voice their complaints with a view of eliciting change? A company whose personnel department is inefficient could be recruiting workers who are unfit for the roles employed. It has been found that when followers in the organization highly agree with the top management leadership style, staff response to negative emotions turn out most times to be more positive than negative.
  • How the emotion is directed:

  • Some emotions like sadness motivates the positive behavior of building social connections when motivated by social loss rather than status loss. Corporate workers want to appear in control of their emotions so they’d rather do away with negative emotions. Yet, when a loss is shared with others, whether positive or negative, it offers an opportunity for openness and intimacy, for expanding personal corporate social circles.
  • Status associated with the job function:

  • Some workers like teachers and helpline workers are looked down upon in the society. These are negative emotions directed maybe to them as individuals and/or to their job functions. People do not want to be associated with those “kinds of jobs”. Helpline workers who deal with isolated, upset, abusive or suicidal individuals are perceived as carrying social “dirt” and they’d rather not be tainted with it.
  • How the emotion is perceived:

  • Just as every situation is unique, the individuals to which the emotion is directed to are also unique. Everybody reacts differently to anger and happiness. Some show a strong sense of affection for emotions that are directed towards them while others tend to interpret extreme and moderate meanings to emotional situations, depending on their ilk.

Positive corporate leadership desires outcomes to positive and negative emotions that reflect the expected bottom line: motivated employees, agreeable follower-ship, emotionally healthy workforce and profits. It would be conventionally wise then for management to recognize the existence of negative emotions and their place in corporate life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Creative musings with Venn diagrams on R software

These images look archived but I liked them that was why I'm having them on my blog. For sake of the memories. Actually, I was tinkering with R software after a little lull in the Probability and Statistics book I am presently reading: Probability and Statistics for Engineering and The Sciences by Jay L. Devore. Then I chanced on a Venn Diagram Package made for R Software.
Looks like four atoms juxtaposed. 4 sets intersecting actually.Venn Diagram Package, R Software
As the caption says, it looks like atoms falling on themselves like noodles. I just loved it. Hmmm! It is actually four sets intersecting. Very good work! Then the second one, like a spacecraft. Funny, right?
5 sets intersecting, a quintuple, but looks like a spacecraft. Venn Diagram Package, R Software
The graphics might not be state-of-the-art, but I love them.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Will you surf, Talk and watch TV at the same time and lose your brain?

If you simultaneously browse the Web, listen to music, play video games, use e-mail or talk on the phone while watching TV, then you are a victim to media multitasking. By engaging in this practice, you leave yourself open to losing control of cognitive and emotional abilities that are essential for resolving anxieties and depression. This is because media multitasking decreases grey matter in the brain controlling these functions.

MRI. Side of the head. Ranveg
It’s true. A negative relation has been found between media multitasking and grey matter density. To refresh your science, grey matter is in the brain and includes regions involved in muscle control and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making and self-control. By engaging in activities that can decrease your grey matter density, you could lose control of important functions such as enduring stress, ability to maintain your sense of balance under distraction and also make yourself open to much emotional problems.

In a first of its kind study, two researchers have found only a link, and not a causality chain, between grey matter density and media multitasking. A decision on causality has not been reached for two reasons:
  1. Low grey matter density is linked to lose of cognitive and emotional control

  2. Persons with low grey matter are more attracted to media multitasking.

  3. Exposure to multitasking can result in reduced grey matter density.

  4. It’s been found that a high and regular use of several medias do reduce grey matter density by altering the structure of the brain.

So, it’s like the chicken and the egg problem. Which caused which?

This question is particularly pertinent since the use of social media through various channels is on the rise and this is believed to be likely addictive.

If you often media multitask and you cannot help it, take back control of your life. You could be losing your grey matter. You can reclaim it though through various activities that can change the plastic structure of the brain like learning to play music and studying to be a mathematician. In fact, studying mathematics increases grey matter density in the frontal part of the brain if studied for a long time, improving your ability to handle complex problems. Learning to juggle and understanding the maps of a city are also of help in increasing grey matter density.

This calls for discretion in the use of media. Activities like media multitasking that can cause brain structure alterations should be approached with care, otherwise you’d be faced with permanent brain damage.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Probably yes. Your palm is going to be the next credit card.

The list is growing of the number of measurable characteristics for which labeling and description could be applied to you and I – fingerprint, vein scanning, DNA, face recognition, retina, body scent etc. In a unique way, a Swedish engineering student has made biometrics currency.

The innovation, scanning your palm to pay for items in a supermarket, scans the vein pattern on your palms for a payment to go through. Faster, easier and cheaper than a credit card.

Thumbs up to Fredrik Leifland. Your palm can now rest in your purse.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Parents should help their kids map out a boundary between helpful and harmful cellphone use

Are cellphones addictive? If cellphones are addictive, would you take your kids off one? Both questions are controversial and pose serious challenges for parents because teenagers are presently using cellphones more often in school that they seem to be dependent on those devices.

What is addiction?, defines it thus:

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

Parents, you can do more! Source: Wikimedia Commons
So, do cellphones fall into this category? Parents should be on the lookout for telltale signs that cellphone use by their kids are causing problems. Some students have been ingenious in using cellphones to cheat in class. College students have been reported to be agitated when their cellphone is not with them which behavior could result in internal and external conflict in the classroom. Your kids could find themselves unable to face the vagaries of life if they dodge behind a cellphone when challenging and awkward situations arise in school. Parents should be on the lookout for telltale signs.

This conclusion and more were arrived at in an extensive study of the cellphone use of college students in 24 cellphone activities of which 11 were found to be close to being termed addictive. The activities include calling, texting, emailing, banking, taking photos, using apps like iPod, Bible, Google Maps and Pinterest. Texting, sending emails and checking on Facebook took much of the students’ time than necessary.

Parents should help their kids map out a boundary for cellphone use. A useful tool like the cellphone should not turn out to be a device that should disrupt their lives because they lacked self-control. I think this is a call for action.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Want to take notes? Better to use a pen and paper even when a keyboard is handy.

I was surfing the site and found this release which states that for better recall of conceptual facts, it is better to take long notes than transcribe on a laptop. The article might be old but I believe it is useful.

What are the reasons given? In brief:
  • When it concerns remembering conceptual information, taking long notes with your pen or biro triumphs over taking notes using your laptop.
  • As for recalling common knowledge or facts, both methods of transcription were found equally adequate.
  • Your mind tends to process the information it receives while taking long notes; when using a laptop for taking notes, most persons just write out what they hear verbatim without processing them. One more reason why when you’re involved in an important meeting or session, you’d better go for taking long notes with a pen and paper.
  • Lastly, long note takers tend to recall facts jotted down a week or more after the original notes were taken better than persons who typed them out originally using a laptop.

Overall, even where taking notes on a laptop will be the norm, the good old pen and paper still triumphs, especially when that note will be important weeks later.

How much of your High School knowledge can you still retain on entering University - new report

When you were in high school what was more important to you: passing your exams so you can qualify for University education, or understanding in-depth the subjects being taught so you can use them later in life?

To be honest, the latter was more important to me, but on the day of my matriculation at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to study Zoology, I decided University teaching and learning was a whole new ball game. I had to change my orientation in learning from cramming facts to understanding reasons.

I believe I’m not the only guilty party. A recent report from the University of East Anglia’s leading researchers in education and sciences reveals that many university freshers struggle to remember basic concepts from their A-levels.

Is the problem at the doorstep of teachers at the high school levels or the fact that they students have to adjust to a different approach to learning at the university level, or on the motivation of the students themselves, the report doesn’t tell. Yet, the report involved students from the leading UK universities committed to research and outstanding teaching and learning experience, or the Russell Group. These highly motivated students could only remember forty (40%) percent of what they learned at the A-levels.

That calls for concern for all parties involved. Maybe A-level curricula has to be redesigned to reflect our age of iPhones and smart phones, where a considerable number of high school students even use these devices in class, or at the undergraduate level.

Wherever the solution lies, it is instructive to know that the longer it takes you to enter the university after you’re A-levels, the lesser of your A-level knowledge that will be retained. It calls for sober reflections, right?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to prevent sudden death due to heat strokes from sporting activities

Prior to a sporting event detecting persons who could develop cardiovascular diseases or suddenly fall dead from a cardiac arrest is a challenge. Sudden death during sporting events, especially endurance races of 10 to 20km, is likely in a high number of both professional and amateur athletes. Cardiac arrhythmia, often termed irregular heartbeat, has been reported more often than heat stroke as a cause of sudden death during sporting events.

On the other hand, Lior Yankelson, MD, and Pinchas Halpern, MD, are of a different opinion; life-threatening events during endurance races are more likely to be caused by heat stroke than by cardiac arrhythmia, especially in warm climates. The high incidence reported is not limited to sporting or endurance races but is also found in college football players, high school athletes and experienced runners who were thought to be immune.

What then are some ways to prevent heat stroke during sporting events, and other causes of cardiovascular collapse?
  1. Acclimatization to warm climates
  2. It is recommended that athletes give themselves a 10 to 14 days period of environmental acclimatization before engaging in endurance races. Event planners should also acknowledge the need for athlete proper adjustment to the racing environment. Of 10.9 million runners assessed in the United States during a 10 years period, 59 (incidence rate: 0.54 per 100,000 participants) had cardiac arrest.

  3. Recently ill or persons recuperating from a febrile illness should be discouraged from participating in endurance races.
  4. Exercising imposes heat stress on the body and elimination of body heat is necessary for proper adjustment. Fever impairs the ability of the body to do this.

  5. Prompt diagnosis.
  6. When heat stroke is promptly diagnosed, health care providers can immediately initiate cooling therapy. Athlete’s temperatures are usually monitored using rectal or core probes and where necessary, cooling procedures are instantly instituted. It is a challenge though to record core body temperatures during physical activity. A potential solution is an ingestible telemetric body core temperature sensor.

  7. Routine screening.
  8. Mandatory screening of all athletes prior to participation in competitive sports has been recommended where cardiac death is a possibility. For screening to work, the benefits should be higher than the costs, effective tests should be available, and it can be proved that avoidance will prevent the risk. Some events carry out a pre-participation electrocardiogram (ECG) screening. Exercise or cardiac stress testing have also been used. Some events require participants sign a declaration of “good health” which might not be adequate enough.

  9. Don’t forget water.
  10. Ingest adequate amount of water during sporting activities, including endurance races. Also, take electrolyte drinks and have frequent rest breaks.

Since the number of persons participating in endurance races is on the increase, (see statistics), it is important therefore to recognize the risk of sudden death during sporting events as an increased challenge.

The material from this blog piece was inspired by: Life-Threatening Events During Endurance Sports. Is Heat Stroke More Prevalent Than Arrhythmic Death?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

6 Facts I learnt from my Grandma’s Burial Ceremony

My beloved grandma died last month. It was a deeply felt pain for me and other members of our family. I and tens of her grandsons attended the burial which took place at our family compound in Otulu village. From the day I stepped my foot in the village at Otulu, on Wednesday, the 27th of August, to the night of the burial, I have been learning lots of things about customs, traditions and the legacy of grayheadedness.

1. A family is composed of different individuals with different point of views.

A family cannot be controlled by one single person, no matter how rich or influential. A family moves towards a singular direction as if controlled by a single head, as if with a singular purpose but is ready to derail from that direction at every moment – even a second’s notice. If you fail to recognize the rights and responsibilities of even one member in the family, the direction, no matter how noble, how grandiose, can be scuttled and scuttled without interference from any quarter in the world.

2. Your home can be a warzone or a refuge of peace.

Your home can be a bed of roses. A place that is filled with love; peace its lifeblood. Also, your home can be a warzone with historical wounds and fighting. It depends on how you turn the screws. The father, mother, children and extended family members each have their rights and responsibilities which each one of them is jealous of; neglect any and you’ll be creating a home of rancor and bitterness.

3. Customs and traditions are fallible.

True, we cherish our African customs and traditions, but they are fallible. It will be against my conscience to sacrifice cows or goats to bury my grandma. We cannot throw all of them overboard without scrutinizing each and every one of them. These customs were what preserved our Africanhood before the dawn of civilization; they helped our people to survive before education came. I believe we can cherish the joyfulness of understanding these customs and rejecting the ones that are against our humanity; those that were created in the age of ignorance. But the ones that make us unique and great, that bring out the best in us, should never be trampled with.

4. Advanced preparation is a key to safety.

Preparing for an event weeks or months before they come is cheaper and can save lives. Making ad hoc arrangements because you are trying to cut corners or because you are harboring sentiments against other members in the family could be costly and unwise.

5. Marriage is a sacred institution that ensures human survival.

Have you been to an event and realized that singleness is a disadvantage? I discovered this during the burial of my grandma. Singleness is not only a curse, it is the greatest disadvantage a man can give to himself.

6. Money makes things happen.

Money can make things happen but left on its own, money is a useless commodity. With people driven with purpose who are ready to make things possible, money becomes a vehicle that has unprecedented reach. If you have people who are behind you and no money, you’ll all be sitting ducks. If you have money without people behind you, your money is just useless commodity. Join both together, and you can move mountains.

Are there any realities you have discovered from a burial, wedding etcetera that is related to our African customs? Share them on the comment box below.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crowd support matters more when playing at home in football matches.

The tendency of the home team to win more often than the visiting team is termed home advantage. It is widely believed that home advantage is a significant factor in football matches, but the factors at play are not yet conclusive. Three factors, though, have been well acknowledged: a sizable crowd support for the home team, familiarity of the home team to the stadium environment and thirdly, travel fatigue and disruptions in travel arrangements of the visiting team.

Better adjustment to the turf and lower levels of stress are some of the reasons Niels van de Ven suggests gives home teams better advantage than the visiting team. Jet lag and traveling long distances are also significant. In a recent discussion paper, Michela Ponzo and Vincenzo Scoppa believe that crowd support matters more, providing about 60 percentage points while the other two factors contribute 40 percentage points to home advantage.

Ponzo and Scoppa evaluated data from the Italian “Serie A” both for same-stadium derbies and normal matches. You should recall that same-stadium derbies are matches that involve teams that share the same stadium. A good example is Milan and Inter Milan in the “Serie A”. Using data from same-stadium derbies would make travel fatigue and familiarity with the stadium environment neutral factors.

They discovered that home advantage contributes significantly to team performance. Playing at home both for same-stadium derbies and normal matches increases a team’s probability of winning by 23 percentage points (23%). The points earned in the league by the two teams before the match along with their ranking in the league table are also contributory. Taking into consideration points earned by the two teams, the probability of the home team’s winning was found to be twenty-six percentage points (26%) higher than when playing at away.

Also, playing at home and enjoying crowd support tends to make the home team score more goals. This result could probably be traced to either the fact that the players are more encouraged when playing before their home crowd or the crowd support at home tends to influence the referees’ decisions.

Home teams seem to be receiving more favorable treatment in referees’ decisions. Granted, referees try their best to be impartial, but they can be subconsciously influenced by a large crowd in the stadium and they might then react by favoring the home team, thereby awarding more penalties and less disciplinary sanctions to the home team. It was found that referees tend to give more red cards to visiting teams.

When they tried to neutralize the subjective influence of the referees’ decisions on the home team, it could be observed that home crowd support plays a large role in encouraging and motivating the players.

So, when next your favorite team is playing at the local stadium, your support could contribute about 60 percentage points (60%) to its securing a win.

Monday, August 18, 2014

What to do? - A poem on a POW on deathrow

I wrote this poem after watching a documentary on prisoners-of-war (POW)s and genocide. It was some years ago. I found the slip of paper somewhere in my room last week and decided to post it on the Net because I’ve stopped writing poems.

The POW is in anguish, mentally and physically, over the fact that today is the day he has been decreed to die. To be shot at the back of the neck with a pistol. He shares a cell with other POWs which is a dark room but the nails are not in the room, only on his body and his psyche. He knows he’s surely going to die today and there is nothing anybody can do about that. Very sad!

I titled the poem: “What to do.” There is nothing you can do if you are a prisoner awaiting your death. Nothing at all.

What to do.

Ghouls assail me left and right Moaning I beg the heavens to open To accept me after my sudden death For I can bear this burden no longer. Like a walking old man with a sac Defeated by time, war weary, hungry. His legs hairy, forlorn thoughts aplenty. I ask them, comrades avoiding my gaze Smiling like yesterday’s green lawn: “Do you know what it is, this assailing Clubbing my every being with nails?” With long sighs, speaking to the wind Surely earless though with much to say Words that only the gods can hear. The pain, the pain – the scale is rising On the weight where depression sleeps Waiting in vain for an answer that Will never come – this anguish, my secret. The chamber of nails and bars, darkness! With roaches running about like slaves, to A scroll written by two vermin who decreed That I die by a shot of the pistol. Do I break the laws of transport Fight a battle only the heavens can plot? The roaches will know nothing but the chant: “What to do – What to do?” By 12, midnight, the pistol will come silently The roaches before; the scroll read to my death. ---- Nnaemeka David

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Old soldiers never die, they just fade away. - Gen. Douglas MacArthur
The above quote is attributed to Gen. MacArthur. I want to apply it to this blog.

For several months, there has been no activity here. It doesn’t translate to the death of this blog, rather to a state of hiatus of the author. I’m slowly fading away, from blogging and writing. My other blog, make the market your income, is also in the same state as this.

Yet, I believe I’ll fade back to activity soon. I’m reorganizing my schedules and times.

Please, wish me all the best as I continue to feed you relevant and entertaining information in business, living and other trivial I find interesting in solving problems to the ups and downs of this problematic world.


Last week Thursday, I lost my grandmother. She had lived a life well spent; died at 91.

I have been pensive, reflecting on what it means to die after seeing even your great-grandchildren? I think it is a tribute to a life well lived.

I believe we’ll see again after the resurrection; in paradise.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Road gutters are supposed to drain away the waters from rainfall. When you find them keeping waters instead of draining them, you wonder if they’d rather be called “roadside storage containers?”

Indeed, some look like a child’s scrawling on the road with dirty fingers - a guttersnipe. Others seem to suggest that a crater from outer space made a landing on satellite town. I took these pictures to humor myself but decided to share them later on Facebook.

I think you’ll enjoy them as I did.