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Who Is Best In Ducking The Shoe?

By Staff

This is the age of shoe showers for politicians. Some politicians are experts in ducking the shoes while some are not. For instance when an Iraqi reporter flung his shoes toward former U.S. President George W. Bush during a Baghdad news conference, he dodged to avoid being hit, while Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was standing next to him, did not!

Well, here is a scientific reason for the difference between the two men's reaction to the shoe attack. While someone throws something at you, one system guides your actions and the other guides your perception. The 'action' system allows the brain to 'see' things your eyes do not perceive.

Just take the example of two balls thrown at you. They may look the same to your perceptual system, but your brain can automatically calculate which one is more threatening. That will trigger a dodging motion before you've even realized what has happened.

The above action happened with U.S. President George W. Bush during and Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Prime Minister's brain has already categorized the shoe as non-threatening, which does not require evasive action. But Bush's brain has categorized the shoe as threatening and triggers an evasive dodge, all within a fraction of a second.

Jeffrey Lin, the University of Washington psychology doctoral student and lead author of a paper appearing in the journal Current Biology conducted the study.

Story first published: Monday, June 22, 2009, 11:27 [IST]
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