I have just discovered that the human brain is a truly astonishing organ, and I was already fairly impressed with its capabilities (lest you fear I have finally surrendered to rampant egomania, I speak in general rather than holding my own cerebrum up as any sort of exemplar). Researchers at the University of Glasgow have discovered how we avoid drifting off when listening to the truly boring. This is a topic in which I have some interest given the number of very long meetings at which I have acted as secretary over the years. The coping strategies I used on such occasions are covered in an earlier post, but, as you will be aware, the reporting of a few anecdotes does not satisfy the demands of the scientific method.
The folks in Glasgow used fMRI for their study (a facility I lacked back in my days as a technical secretary) to “scan” the brains of 18 people (a modest sample, perhaps, but still better than hearsay evidence from a single source with a questionable grasp on sanity). They discovered that when presented with a boring speaker, the brain creates its own more exciting internal monologue. It would seem that we really do make our own fun.
Sadly, the study did not cover the written (or typed) word, though one of the authors did note that directly quoted speech is more vivid than indirection quotation. So, it is unclear whether the readership of GofaDM will be augmenting their enjoyment in an analogous way. I would suggest that, from a certain point of view (to quote Obi-Wan Kenobi), this whole blog could be considered directly quoted speech, which helps explain my inability to write (or indeed utter) convincing dialogue – a fact which has rather limited my career as a scriptwriter or playwright. If you are truly providing your own entertainment during the all-too-frequent longueurs in these ramblings, it would certainly take some of the pressure off the author.