The Village Effect
How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier
Psychologist and award-winning author Susan Pinker is a seasoned observer of modern communication and social contact. Whether writing on gender differences, as in The Sexual Paradox, or on why face-to-face contact should be a priority, as in The Village Effect, Pinker’s evidence-based insights help us improve the ways we work, play, and relate to each other.
Susan Pinker, a psychologist, journalist, and best-selling author, writes about the social sciences with sophistication and lucidity. Her first book, The Sexual Paradox, is an engrossing read on the differences between the sexes: how they think, how they behave, what will sway them, and how each defines success. The book caused an international sensation, was published in 17 countries, and received the prestigious William James Book Award given by the American Psychological Association.
Her latest book, The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter, is about the impact of face-to-face contact on health, lifespan, education, romance, and business (ideas she shared on the TED2017 mainstage). Publishers Weekly calls it “a hopeful, warm guide to living more intimately in an disconnected era.” Charles Duhigg wrote, “Susan Pinker’s delightful book shows why face-to-face interaction at home, school and work makes us healthier, smarter and most successful.”
“Drawing on scores of psychological and sociological studies, Pinker suggests that living as our ancestors did, steeped in face-to-face contact and physical proximity, is the key to health, while loneliness is less an exalted existential state than a public health risk; ... smart readers will take the book out to a park to enjoy in the company of others.”— The Boston Globe
Pinker currently writes about fresh finds in behavioral science for The Wall Street Journal’s Mind and Matter column. She wrote The Business Brain and Problem Solving columns for The Globe and Mail, which applied the latest evidence from the fields of neuroscience, behavioral economics, and sports psychology to the world of business. She regularly writes opinions and feature articles on psychology, public policy, education, behavioral economics, and business for the international press. Her ideas have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Fast Company, MacLean’s, The Times of London, Psychology Today, and Oprah Magazine. She spent over two decades in clinical practice and taught Educational Psychology at McGill University.
“I wanted to personally thank you for participating in Concordia University’s Thinking Out Loud conversation series last week ... I heard wonderful reviews. Making time for face-to-face contact in our decidedly digital world is a challenge that so many can clearly relate to. Thank you for sharing your expertise and ideas, and for taking part in this project. We at Concordia hope to see you again soon!”Concordia University
In this new talk, Susan Pinker shows how face-to-face contact is crucial for learning, happiness, resilience, and longevity. From birth to death, human beings are hard-wired to connect to other human beings. Face to face contact matters: tight bonds of friendship and love heal us, help children learn, extend our lives and make us happy. Looser in-person bonds matter, too, combining with our close relationships to form a personal “village” around us, one that exerts unique effects. And not just any social networks will do: we need the real, face-to-face, in-the-flesh encounters that tie human families, groups of friends and communities together. We need close social bonds and uninterrupted face-time with our friends and families in order to thrive—even to survive. Creating our own “village effect” can make us happier. It can also save our lives.
Professionals of all stripes must often speak to the press, or to large audiences unacquainted with their core message. When this happens, disaster often strikes—in our eagerness to tell the truth of our research or experience, we forget to cater our message to different recipients: groups with emotional relationships to taboo subject matters, each with their own sets of triggers, ‘sacred cows’, cultural values, and aversions. These divides happen along cultural, political, religious, and generational lines—but they can also cause confusion and misrepresentation across professional partitions when scientists speak to journalists, and vice versa.
In this talk, Susan Pinker gives an informative session on matching message with audience. She explores how taboo, often emotional subjects can sabotage attempts at communication, unless diligent care is taken. She then gives practical advice for anyone confronted with journalists, or the press: giving tips on leading the dance of an interview or conference, avoiding pitfalls and triggers, and always being sensitive to individual differences. With Pinker’s help, we can transform data into a compelling narrative, and properly avoid (or address!) the elephant in the room.
Why is there still a shortage of women in business, politics, engineering and science? Why do many male high school drop-outs earn more than the ambitious girls they sat beside in school? In this entertaining and accessible talk, Susan Pinker answers provocative questions deeply relevant to business leaders: Why do companies have a hard time retaining women at upper level positions? Why do many gifted girls opt out of successful careers as they near the top? Why do men and women make different career choices, how does each define success, and how can you leverage this knowledge—this empirical data—to your advantage? Pinker looks at the roots of sex differences, showing us how the genders solve problems, make decisions and prioritize differently. How are verbal skills, empathy, aggression and competition different in males and females? Drawing on neuroscience, genetics, economics and pop culture, Pinker gives an invaluable talk, showing you how to react to, anticipate and cater to the intrinsic traits of each gender.
A perfect talk for HR groups, managers, and anyone interested in how to understand, attract and retain the workforce of the future, which will look radically different than the workforce of today. How will work evolve over the next decade? In the last year, 80% of recession-related job losses were experienced by men. Compared to the retraction in finance, manufacturing, and agriculture, the education, medical and service sectors are expanding, and the higher percentage of female university graduates will bring more women to higher levels of management and the professions. Companies will need to adjust their cultures—in work-life balance, autonomy and social responsibility—if they want to survive the influx of women, younger workers, and offshore employees, all groups with differing views of loyalty and career-building. Pinker shows you what’s relevant, and what’s not, looking at how these trends affect your work environment today and how to prepare for the next wave of employees.