Hairy Men Even-Keeled

Beards are making a come-back these days, but did you know that they also serve to bolster the agility of the grower?

New research from the Follicle Analysis Collective of Tasmania (FACT), a collective of like minded scientists that collate and analyse scientific data pertaining to hair, shows that sporting a beard, moustache, goatee or side-burns actively improves a man’s balance.

“In a way similar to cat’s whiskers, having facial hair allows the Grower – we use the term Grower because it could be male or female – to receive extra-sensory data from the surroundings. Small deviations in air currents move the hairs which, in turn, trigger signals to the brain that are interpreted as a shift in the attitude of the head,” says Dr. Grace Potenza, “In layman’s terms, the hairs of a beard act as thousands of tiny fingers that ‘feel’ the air for movement. If the Grower moves to the left or right, for example, the sensation of that movement is more fine-tuned than a clean shaven person, or non-Grower.”

The find is of particular interest to the field of sports. A loose correlation between hair and sporting ability has already been established, with grants applied in a bid to formalise that finding. From the outset, it appears that those who sport a solid crop can expect an average of 15% better agility.

All manner of chin, lip and cheek hair will do but a light facial fuzz isn’t going to help much.

“We can see that any kind of solid facial hair, like a beard or a moustache or even sideburns or mutton chops, will help however the length of the hair must be sufficiently long, at least a centimeter exposure before we start to see any effects,” she says.

Dr. Potenza wishes to expand her studies to see if the Grower’s extra-sensory perception can aid in altered environments. Of particular interest is the apparent tolerance to alcohol, exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Another field is in low visibility environments like darkened rooms, fog and smoke.

“Who knows? We might find that as a recommendation all Fire-fighters be required to have a minimum beard length.”ChesterLogoSmall

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Shop Whisperers

In a bid to increase sales and move targeted items, a supermarket chain in Florida have used human behavioural experts to devise a new way to encourage shoppers to choose their brands – Shop Whisperers.

“We found that our campaigns to bring people into the store were working well, but once they got in, we could not accurately direct them to the products we wished to sell,” says Director of Marketing Lopez D’Arouge, “It may be a local phenomenon, but the usual arsenal just couldn’t come up with the goods. Product positioning and signage just wasn’t getting the yield that we needed, so we had to try something completely different.”

Enter the Shop Whisperer, an employee trained to blend in as a shopper and make comments and gestures about particular products.

“Studies have shown that peer recommendation is one of the most powerful influencers. It can be a mother talking to her daughter, for example, saying, ‘Now that’s a good price. Normally these are way more expensive. I’ll get two!’ or a guy dressed in a suit muttering, ‘I hope they haven’t run out of X, because that’s what works.'” says D’Arouge, “It has to be contextual and unforced. Of course, we cannot get just anyone to do this.”

As a consequence, D’Arouge has budgeted for professional actors to play the part and the results are already telling. Based on a one month trial with three full time Shop Whisperers he has seen a ‘marked increase’ in the sales of targeted brands and items.

“Time will tell whether this is a permanent thing,” he says, “And I love the fact that we’re giving back to the community by hiring local actors who would otherwise be out of work. Who knows? If this takes off, we could see this as a legitimate career in not just supermarkets, but departments stores and specialty stores as well!”

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