Small gestures, big messages? (July 23/Aug. 2)


Small gestures image for web.jpgPhoto by D Sharon Pruitt
A wave, a wink, a certain finger extended in your direction... they're all "small gestures" that can carry a lot of meaning. Why? That's what we're looking at this week.

Read on to find out what's on the show, or click the player below to listen to the podcast. (You can also download it here, or get the enhanced version from iTunes.) (Originally aired Oct. 23, 2010)

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Small gestures can communicate a lot - but they can also drive you crazy. What's the one that bugs you? Sook-Yin heads to the street to find out. (Also heard on Your DNTO)

Darlene Heslop is a nurse who lives in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst. Not long ago, she made a small gesture that got her kicked out of a public meeting. And that little act had a huge impact that she never expected.... she'll tell us what she did, and what the fallout was. (Also heard on Your DNTO)

In the rock n' roll world, it's no small gesture - it a big deal. We're talking here of the rarely-seen, much-feared "double bird." Grant Lawrence tells us what happened when his punk band was "double-birded" by a gang of headbangers - on the California Interstate - and about the ensuing high-speed chaos. (Also heard on Your DNTO)

When it comes to connecting with voters, politicians have many tricks of the trade. They shake hands... slap backs... and kiss babies. But one Canadian politician can't do any of those things: Steven Fletcher is Canada's first quadriplegic Member of Parliament. He'll tell us what he does instead of shaking hands, slapping backs, and kissing babies. (Also heard on Your DNTO)

How many different meanings can one gesture have? Sook-Yin takes to the street to wiggle her eyebrows and find out. (Also heard on Your DNTO)

If you've ever watched a baseball game you've probably noticed a coach or player off to the side wildly gesticulating. He could be tapping his head and then rubbing his nose while tugging on his ear and stamping his left foot. So what's actually going on with all those complicated gestures? Sports writer Ross Bernstein comes by to explain.

If you're a musician , it can be hard to communicate with band members on stage. It's loud, and there's lots going on. Siblings Maygen and SJ Kardash, who make up Violent Kin, will tell us how small gestures become their onstage language. (Also heard on Your DNTO)

There are other ways of saying "I love you" besides saying "I love you." Jane McLean will tell us how her boyfriend was saying "I love you" to her.. and why she didn't know it. (Also heard on Your DNTO)

Try this: tell someone a story. Now tell the same story, without moving your hands at all. Tough, isn't it? So what's going on there? Why do we use emphatic gestures when we're telling a stories? We'll ask "gesture-ologist" and psychology professor Elena Nicoladis.

If you've ever been to India, you've probably noticed a peculiar gesture that almost everyone makes. Specifically, Indians wiggle their head when they talk. It's not really a nod... or a shake. It doesn't even mean they're agreeing... or disagreeing. It's just a common way of making a connection. And that's exactly what happened to Apurva Desai when he visited the country. He'll tell us why. (Also heard on Your DNTO)

What do small gestures - and a very human-like robot - have to do with how much we trust each other? We'll talk with Cornell University's David Pizarro about the research he and his team are doing on gestures and trust (and if you want to see Nexi the robot in action, check her out here).

A pat on the back or a "thumbs up" might be the normal gestures to make a kid feel good. But when he worked with sick kids, Chris Sherwood made one gesture that was a bit more... unorthodox. He'll tell us what he did, and why.


And here's this week's playlist:

The Subtitles - "Actions" (Also heard on Your DNTO)
The Secret Sisters - "I've Got a Feeling"
Johnny Cash - "Folsom Prison Blues" (Also heard on Your DNTO)
The Winks - "Abalone"
Buck 65 - "Way Back When"
The High Dials - "I'm Over You (I Hope It's True)"
Violent Kin - "Wolf" (Also heard on Your DNTO)
Delhi 2 Dublin - "The Happy Track" (Also heard on Your DNTO)
Peter Gabriel - "In Your Eyes"
Harry Connick Jr. - "A Wink and a Smile"
James Struthers - "You, Me, and Optimus Prime"
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