My marriage is better

See that small dot on the left side of the bell curve?

That's me.

As a distinctly selective listener, I hear what I perceive to be useful, valuable and interesting. This plays to my advantage as I write to you. My brain screens out and ignores the sound around me so I can put the full weight of my attention on writing; what neuroscientists call wallpaper.

This comes at a cost. "Robert, your coffee is ready. Robert? Robert?.."

By contrast, my wife is a distinctly active listener (the small dot on the right side of the bell curve). She hears just about everything. Hearing a pin drop is a literal experience for her and she can hold her attention to the spoken word for longer than nearly everyone.

This advantage comes at a cost, as well. Writing in a bustling coffee shop will be distracting.

These differences can seem trivial, but consider the social implications:

My wife shares something important, but my brain dismisses it. Now I'm accused of not listening. By contrast, I begin munching on a bag of chips, my wife's attention drifts away from her book. I accuse her of being over-sensitive.

These adorable quirks can morph into conflicts, but they don't have to.

At this point, my wife and I laugh at our cognitive preferences and I think you should too. You can start by adding your loved ones to your report in the friends module. Who know's what you may learn to love, maybe it's the way they munch on a bag of chips! Probably not.

Cheers to understanding humans better.

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