Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Oxytocin Factor

SideLines, March 2007

A recent article in the Observer reports that College (University) graduates who are really smiling and happy at graduation are likely to live longer, and have more successful marriages. The article links their happiness with the measurable surge in oxytocin, the 'bonding' hormone, that occurs when kindnesses are given and received.

In other words, close physical proximity can help people develop happy and trusting relationships. This does not bode well for writers, editors and translators who work far apart and depend on long-distance communications.

Perhaps there are optimum distances and optimum frequencies of direct personal contact for every kind of human relationship, including those strange relationships where we trust others with the results of our deepest, inner intellectual efforts.

The present Research Cooperative is designed to be international in scope, but at the same time, we should also encourage at least occasional direct contact between research writers, editors, and translators - at the local and regional levels - so that happier and more fruitful working relationships can be established.

The equivalent of a trusting handshake is not easy to accomplish by words alone.

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