Mon Mar 3 14:08:07 PST 2003

> Andrew Lias wrote:
> > Just out of curiosity, where are you from?  I'm genuinely curious 
> > because I've never heard of anyone who wasn't familiar with the gesture.


> I'm not sure whether my upbringing has anything to do with my perception 
> of the shrug, especially since I was an Air Force brat and grew up all 
> over the world. 

That could have something to do with it.

Hypothesis A) Shrugging is not "universally human" but is linked with
english-speaking cultures.

Hypothesis B) Shrugging is a fairly advanced and nuanced form of non-verbal 
communication, so being exposed to many different cultures (and to no
single culture for very long during formative years), you never picked
up on it.

>Although, when my dad left the Air Force, I spent about 
> six years living in Texas (where I was born), and then moved to Oregon, 
> where I've lived ever since. If there was any regional influence, I'd 
> guess it would have come from my parents, who were Texans.

Hypothesis C) Your parents didn't shrug (possibly linked to being Texans,
possibly not).  Since they were the most stable influence in your
developmental years, you don't shrug either.

> Hmm. It would be interesting to learn where the rest of you are from. I 
> wonder if we could find a pattern here.

I was born in Illinois, but lived most of my life in Massachusetts.  I
shrug, and have never encountered anyone who seemed confused by it.


Alexx Kay
Opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of my employers
alexx at world.std.com
"Do you know him personally?"
   "No, but I've slept with his wife several times."