Thursday, November 02, 2006


Now we all have a legitimate, physiological and scientific excuse for those moments when we blurt out those inappropriate things.

Comments such as:

“Off to a fancy dress party, are you?”

“Good Lord! What have you done to your hair?”

“Are you pregnant or just putting on weight, dear?”

Now, as you watch the face of your targets crumple and their eyes tear up, you can point to your brain and say brightly, “Oh dear! Sorry about that. My frontal lobe isn’t quite working today.”

There is one little drawback I must warn you about.

If your targets know anything about the functioning of the brain or they have read the same article as I have just done, then they will know that you really DID mean what you said but couldn’t stop yourself from blurting it out.

However, I am sure that most people are quite unaware of the intricate functioning of the brain and they will immediately forget about their recently hurt feelings and begin to worry about you and your lazy frontal lobe.

I will give you a layperson’s view of the science behind this hypothesis but check this link if you wish to explore the research further.

The hypothesis is that, as the brain deteriorates, people become less able to inhibit themselves from saying inappropriate things. And the researcher states that there is evidence that this bluntness is due to the decline in frontal lobe functioning.

Normally, when you look into a pram and you see the world’s ugliest baby, your frontal lobe will inhibit you from stating this fact. You will be able to take a breath and tell the proud parents, “He is the image of his father, isn’t he?”

Because aging slows down our brain processing, bluntness is seen more in older people. Hence the research has been criticised as an attack on the over 65s.

It seems that there is no credence in our previous assumption that old people had earned the right to be blunt and that they are vessels of wisdom and we should just grin and bear it when they say something insulting to us. In fact, it is just that their frontal lobes are letting them down.

The researcher rightly defends his research and he dismisses the idea that it is age-ist. He points out that it is a health issue for the over 65s as their bluntness and their socially inappropriate questions can mean that these old people will lose their friends and thus they can suffer social consequences.

I am not over 65 but I intend to continue to use my frontal lobe to help me in times of inappropriate bluntness. If I am challenged by someone, I am simply going to say that I have had a blow to my head causing damage to my frontal lobe which will make me say socially inappropriate things from time to time.

Hopefully, sympathy for my plight will excuse my rudeness.

I will forge a doctor’s certificate confirming that my frontal lobe is dodgy if need be.


kyknoord said...

Ah, now this is something that's just aching to be exploited.

Michelle said...

Ah yes kyknoord,

I intend to exploit it.

When I mentioned this research to my adult daughter she said that she can become quite blunt after a couple of strawberry Daiquiris. But surely it is more dignified to attribute your rudeness to a frontal lobe problem rather than your inability to handle alcohol!

Bye for now, Michelle