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We are behavior scientists and psychologists, specialized in personality assessment of people applying for advanced positions or training possibilities.

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And very welcome to “walk around” on this site!

Humans and horses and musicality

Some people seem to have it, others do not.
I am thinking of general musicality, the ability not only to listen, but to, in a deeper sense, read and understand music. And among those who could be named musical there are wide differences between those who are very musical indeed, and those who belong to a normal sector: they could sing a song, but they do not play any music instrument, they like to dance and to listen to the ordinary sortiment of daily pop tunes, but they are not that very interested in going to the opera house and listen to Wagner or Verdi or other classical hit makers.

And then we have the bunch of people that have almost no ability at all concerning music. They could not fall into a proper rhythm and they are not able forming their vocal cords into any precise musical threads.

There are several interesting questions about musicality: what forms it, which parts of the brain is occupied transforming motor physiological activities into tunes and complete music pieces, and why have some people an ease for this complex matter while others have absolutely nothing of it; some are in fact completely tone deaf.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) belongs to the giant European composers, so very loved by so many all over the world. He started to learn how to play the violin and the piano already when he was three years of age, composing his first small pieces of music when he was four.At the end of his life he had composed around 600 pieces including 22 operas.

What qualifications are needed for such great success?
It is hard to tell.
Researchers within this area are pointing at general perceptual ability as one major factor, and a deeper comprehension of musical patterns and structures in combination with how certain humans experience specific movements in different tunes. Some neurologists have also found that the right part of the brain have centra for pure music, tunes, while the left part of the brain has centra for experiencing rhythm. Most musical people seem also to have a greater ability to rather quickly learn different languages than those who are not that musical.

And now to horses and the interaction between horse and man. As within the fields of music there are wide differences between those people that have a natural talent in communicating with horses (and probably also other animals) and those who have absolutely no talents at all for that kind of interaction. By communicating with horses I am not thinking of primarily verbal try-outs, but more of how you as a rider on the horseback almost make the man and the horse to one, a unity, where the horse is responding direct and fast seems to “read” the rider’s intentions, not so easily visible for the spectator. The communication “flows” through the rider’s body, focusing her or his buttocks, legs and feet. The horse transforms this body talk directly to the small but important horse brain. But it looks like some people have no or rather small abilities to smoothly communicate in this sense with horses, or with dogs or cats or birds or any other animal. It seems as if horses can not “read” some people and the ride becomes just a mess.

Summing up: I think that sensitivity is the correct word if you want to discriminate in between those who have it and those who lack this kind of human ability. We humans are not equal in our internal mechanisms.
I will be back with some more reflections regarding this matter.

Memories or micro collapses?

Many people are acquainted with the following phenomenon: You travel to a place you have never been before. You get off the train or out of the car and start walking along the road. The small houses stand in a row with their neat, well-tended gardens. There’s a flag hanging dejectedly on its flagpole in the mild breeze. Suddenly, like an inner flash of lightening, you get a strange feeling: I recognise this place! I must have passed this way before. Look over there at the peculiar roof on that yellow house. And there, those oddly shaped oak trees. I must have been here before. This is where the memory browser takes over. When was I here? Who was I with? How did I get here? What exactly did I do here?

No matter how I try, I just can’t find any sensible answers. I look around and try to get some clear mental images to confirm that I have actually been here before. But no, nothing springs to light. The place must remind me of somewhere else I’ve been. That must be the explanation. But a gnawing feeling tells me that’s not right either. There can’t be two yellow houses with a roof like that, or two oddly shaped oaks like that. But I know I’ve never been here before, not even as a child. It is in situations like this that people start considering reincarnation as a possibility. We’ve all thought about ‘the previous life.’ Perhaps I passed this way forty years ago despite only being in my 37th year at the time.

But reincarnation has no place in the domains of psychological science, or any other science for that matter. It belongs in the mythological scriptures of certain religions like Buddhism and Hinduism and new age movements. It has also sprung up in the disreputable Scientology and in Christianity where Jesus proclaims that believers will be resurrected. Psychologically it is about our refusal to give up on the day of reckoning. “We’ll meet again on the other side” is an expression that reflects grief and tragedy.

The most common explanation for the “reliving something” phenomenon (or déjà vu as it is usually called from the French meaning, roughly, “already seen”) stems from neurology. Despite not being particularly tired I can still suffer a neurological micro collapse: I could actually lose consciousness for a split second. It all happens so quickly that I don’t notice, and the rest of the body’s functions are too sluggish to keep up so everything continues as though nothing has happened. But something has happened, namely a lightning-quick disconnection of some of the brain’s cognitive functions; a temporary short circuit in the neurons’ task of shaping images of everything we experience. A circle is completed and a new one begins somewhere in the brain’s cell connections and suddenly the completed circle informs us that we have seen this before, namely a few seconds ago! We all get such micro collapses, sometimes several times a day without being aware of it. This convinces some people that they are clairvoyant and in contact with something extra-terrestrial, a holy person, perhaps, or a spirit that seems to be speaking in the voice of a dead person.

One specific scientific approach: reductionism

If I aim to make a relevant assessment of you as a Human Being I have to consider and take into account several complexities within and around you. I have to dig deep in order to investigate and understand different layers in your personality, not only the superficial part that you, yourself, prefer to show when meeting others. And I have to find out not only what kind of mental resources you have developed during your lifetime so far, but how you use them in different, more or less straining situations. And, perhaps most important of all, I have to look upon you as a part in quite a giant social network, and I have to discover as much as possible of how this network has affected you so far and how it still affects you, and how you are responding to all these influences.

So, it means that this assessment program is a hard job. Now, speaking about influences, it is very evident that many psychologists of today are struggling to find an easy way out of this complex assessment area. And the east way out is insisting that transforming all the complex data into numbers and statistics and curves and other kind of graphic illustrations is the real scientific thing, which is even more reliable and more trustworthy than any other examining methods, resulting in several pages of written words. And people that are receiving the real scientific thing are sometimes not academically so well trained so they are quite easy victims who believe that this thing is much better than the full report.

But they are mostly fooled. This kind of reducing complex data into numbers and curves and graphics is definitely not raising any scientific reliability or validity. On the contrary – it weakens the portrait of the individual.

Psychology is not physics and not chemistry and not physiology. Assessments based primarily on test instruments only are not increasing the level of scientific effect. On the contrary – it makes the assessment uncertain and weak.