This follows up on Frank Forencich's talk about communcation. He believes (and basic hunter-gatherer history shows) that people have evolved for face-to-face communication. Frank talked about how people can pick up on very small nonverbal gestures during communication for example.
This got me to thinking about how all of the electronic communication of today may be affecting people. Frank said that without in-person communication, a person's level of empathy may drop, as they are not communicating in the way humans evolved to do.
From that, I would then propose a hierarchy of sorts as to what is the most beneficial types of communication in terms of health:
- In-person talking
- Video chat
- Talking on the telephone
As you move down the scale, you need less and less of your perceptive abilities when communicating.
This also helped me to connect to an earlier post I did on teens waiting longer and longer to get their drivers licenses today. They seem less motivated to go out and physically interact with others. Instead, they communicate electronically. Or as one researcher put it, "they satisfy their basic human desire to connect through electronic means".
Now I can legitimately question whether they are satisfying their needs in this area. Just as a person can satisfy their desire for food by eating junk food (which obviously isn't healthy), they can, in a similar way, satisfy their need to belong by using "junk food communication".
Talking to live people is what we are designed to do!