Listening Wet and Dry

So it turns out there’s a strong correlation between saliva production and the qualities of listening. In my book, as you no doubt already know, I call these phenomena “wet” and “dry” listening. Just in case my book tour hasn’t reached your town yet, and you aren’t enrolled in my college course [“Aspects of Listening,” Professor Wilbur, Dartmouth College], here’s a summary of my findings:

When you are listening to a dull “dry” lecture, such as one of my own, the listening is intense because you are anxiously preparing for an exam. But although you (somewhat) understand what I tell you. it doesn’t stick, it fades like your chances of graduating. Overall, what this means is that information conveyed to people who believe they need it for practical purposes—rather than want it because of genuine interest—does not last. If you are lucky, enough of it might just stay in your head long enough to scrape through finals.

This dry listening is often accompanied with cotton mouth.

“Wet” listening is less intense, it’s easier for the listener, and what is heard slides comfortably into long-term memory. It occurs when the listener is genuinely interested in and curious about what the speaker is saying. Although rare, especially among males, it has been found to occur during certain critical situations. Wet listening is part of human nature because it has survival value.

Men, for example, listen wetly about violence and sexual exploits, sometimes getting pointers for victories in both areas. The subjects are Darwinianly designed to fascinate them.

What does this all mean for you?

Here’s a few pointers from lectures slides that I use in my course:

  1. Loosen up for wet listening with large quantities of high quality alcohol. This builds enthusiasm for “wet” listening, reducing dread and enhancing merriment. This approach has also been found to be valuable for forgetting.
  2. If you intend to be with your spouse for many years, dry listening is a necessity. Learn to ignore not only your spouse’s words, but also his (or her) many disgusting or thoughtless habits.
  3. Distinguished professors with mustaches who smoke unfiltered cigarettes should be listened to very carefully and obeyed.

This is just a teaser. You really should buy my book or take my course. Sadly, they’re both sold out.