Tag Archives: Gender Stereotypes

Scientific evidence confirms that Ikea furniture has no personality – a previously undescribed form of synaesthesia?

Some, possibly all, of my offspring, spanning most of the genders, report experiences that are consistent with synaesthesia, which suggests to me that my own synesthesia could be the result of a double-helping of synaesthesia genetics (homozygosity). Just the other day one of ours (female adolescent) unexpectedly explained that most of the large objects in our kitchen/living room, in which we all spend a lot of time, have genders and personalities, as is well-known in the ordinal-linguistic personification synaesthesia (personified numbers and letters) which we share, along with grapheme-colour synaesthesia. She told me that this goes back to her early childhood and has perhaps faded in time, but still operates.

Like my own OLP for numbers and letters, her Furniture Personification Synaesthesia is dominated by males. Maybe this could be related to the fact that we are both “tomboys”, with the usual orientations but personalities that reflect characteristics that are associated with maleness in our culture. Maybe it is simply a reflection of the dominance of males in society or the predominance of males as major fictional characters. Maybe it is the solidity of furniture objects that makes then seem (mostly) male. I only hope this doesn’t develop into that unfortunate mental phenomenon in which people (mostly women) “fall in love” with large buildings and structures, which they generally personify as male. That wouldn’t be fun. I don’t want a traffic bridge as a son-in-law.

Here’s the details of this type of personification syn that I’ve never before heard of:

TV = male

Refrigerator = female

Piano = male, nice (of course, what kind of piano is NOT nice?)

Oven = male, nice, cheeky

Airconditioner = male (everyone’s best mate on a hot summer’s day)

Brown drawers = male, cheeky

Rocking chair = male, nice

Rangehood = male

Ikea shelf = neither

Speakers = male

Merry Christmas readers, and please be kind to your loved ones, be they human, animal or otherwise.

Influence of cross-race effect and anxiety on face recognition in Australian study

A pity this science news article does not include a link to the study, as the results sound interesting.

I wonder how a super-recognizer might have fared as a study subject in this study? Would supers have the self-confidence to avoid the impairment in performance that comes with anxiety, while not being so over-confident that they fail to take the extra care to see through racial bias while memorizing and recalling foreign faces? Are metacognitive skills an element of super-recognition? Could this be a clue to why face memory is a cognitive ability that peaks in performance at a remarkably late age in human development? (Please remember, readers in academia, that if you use without acknowledgement original ideas that you have read at this blog, I will not be pleased at all.)

Payne, Rob Anxiety increases error, but not bias, in facial recognition. Science Network. November 20th 2015.



Personifying moving objects by decorating with gendered features – cute cars with curled eyelashes and boy-bits dangling at the back of utes

car with eyelashes

Car decorated with cute eyelashes

Ordinal-linguistic personification is a type of synaesthesia in which concepts such as letters and/or numbers are involuntarily thought of as having individual characteristics usually associated with people, such as genders and ages and personalities. One the face of it this might seem pretty odd, but the linking of personal characteristics with non-living things is certainly not limited to the arena of obscure psychological phenomena. In our shared culture ships are often ascribed with a female gender, and cyclones are given personal names. One very effective make of vacuum cleaner has a cute face on it and is named Henry. It appears that moving objects are especially likely to be associated with human-like characteristics, possibly because their mobility and agency causes the more primitve and instinctual parts of our brains to “read” them as people or intelligent animals.

The car in the photograph above was spotted recently in an outer suburb of Perth, Western Australia. I’m not sure whether the personification of an inanimate object or the creation of a gender identify statement was the insipration for this quaint bit of motor vehicle decoration. Another odd type of motor vehicle decoration that I’ve seen recently is like the male version of this idea. It is a thing that looks like a nutsack draped over a towing assembly at the back of a motor vehicle,  generally seen on the back of utes which tend to be associated with male drivers. They appear to be made out of an empty plastic balloon and two tennis balls. The car eyelashes appear to be an accessory that does not come with the car but can be purchased through the internet, should you require a more cute-looking mode of transport than your standard car.

Tyler, Alison Blinking madness! Car lashes are the most patronising ‘female-friendly’ gimmick of the lot. MailOnline. 6 September 2010. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1309380/Blinking-madness-Car-lashes-patronising-female-friendly-gimmick-lot.html#ixzz1pRfWtTGU

BullsNuts. YouTube. uploaded Jun 7, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwz4zCMwA54   (an advertisement for truck decoration accessories that appear to be sold by an Australian business)