Asch had people seated in a room, with a leader at the front. Six of the seven people sitting down were in on the experiment (“confederates”). Only one of them, number 7, was the “experimental variable.” There were cards with lines drawn on them, and the people were asked to identify the relative lengths of the lines.
When the subject was allowed to make his/her own decisions about the length of the lines, they were 99% accurate. When the other people (the confederates) were allowed to answer about the lengths of the lines first (incorrectly…as in, “A is shorter than B,” when it is not), the subject would conform to their answer 35% of the time.
In Milgram’s experiment, someone in a position of authority (a confederate) dressed in a lab coat, instructed the subject to ask questions to an unseen person in the room next door via a microphone/speaker system. Also, the subject was to administer electric shocks to that person if they gave incorrect answers.
The subjects would deliver “450 volt shocks” (there were no actual shocks administered, the screams and pleading of the person in the room next door were acted) 65% of the time.
Milgram said that part of the results were due to the conformity effect Asch noticed. But also, that part of it was due to “the agentic state theory, wherein, per Milgram, the essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view himself as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and he therefore no longer sees himself as responsible for his actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow.”
One of his later experiments combined conformity and obedience, and noticed significantly greater compliance in the subject.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward with Chuck Wolf
On Saturday, I attended a conference put on by the WAC Academy and the University of San Francisco, featuring Chuck Wolf, on the topic of “how the muscles and actions of the foot affect the hip, gluteal complex, and spine. By changing body angles, utilizing reaches, understanding how the foot functions, and applying the concepts from the Flexibility Highways, the fitness professional will come away with methods to enhance traditional exercises into a truly three dimensional chain reaction movement.”
Chuck was a really nice guy, and has a long history in post-rehab athletic conditioning. He walked around and said hello to everyone before the conference started, introducing himself and getting to know folks.
You know how they say that women often look at a man’s shoes to learn more about him? I do that too…for everyone. When I looked at Chuck’s, I was shocked. He had large, Adidas, what looked like motion-control sneakers on. What Mick Dodge would call “flower pots,” and Tom Brown would call “foot-coffins.”
I began to wonder what Chuck was going to tell us about the foot and ankle.
Been There, Done That
I’ve been in this industry long enough, and been to enough of these seminars, to know not to expect too much. Most of the time, the information you get is rehashed, recycled stuff from the PT world. Chuck, as it happens, works in a PT clinic in Orlando. He hangs with those guys. That’s his social crowd…uh…social conformity…hint…hint…
Starting out, he talked about the structure of the foot. The bony structure. We didn’t get into musculature, except for the gross musculature of the shin – gastroc/soleus, anterior tibialis.
Chuck actually said that “the control of the ankle comes from the shin.” While I agree with him to a point, I strongly disagree with him in every other way.
There are something like 25 muscles in the foot, and three layers of musculature within the foot itself. The bottom of the foot is laced with muscles. So, if you want to talk about things “from the ground up,” you need to start there. On the bottom of the foot.
I’ll admit that I quickly tuned out. The other trainers there were doing some sort of social-conformity thing. They were very interested in speaking in PT lingo – “pronate, supinate, evert, invert, abduct, adduct.”
These last two, by the way, are apparently defined in certain circles, opposite to the normal understanding – that is, by judging whether a limb or body part is ab/adducting by the motion of the distal portion (furthest from the trunk of the body) of the limb to the proximal portion. I learned that abduction is when you move the limb or body part away from the midline, and adduction the opposite. And I’m not clear on the reasoning for the new definition. If you can enlighten me, please do!
Anyway, they wanted to “dig deep,” but only into what he was presenting. Not into the topic itself. Which I guess is fair. I guess.
Chuck said that flat footed people have a greater incidence of ACL tear. That may be, but why is that the case? He didn’t say. Actually, a few studies (here’s one) have shown that people with flat feet have lower risk of ankle injury than those with high arches.
Yes, I know the ACL is in the knee, not the ankle. So you’re saying the strain isn’t transferred to the ankle, but instead, goes up the chain to the knee. I guess I can understand that, to a point. But usually, soft tissues change structure to match kinetic patterns. So the argument that a person with flat feet automatically has pre-stressed ACL’s is suspect to me. If they had flat feet their whole life, wouldn’t the ACL conform?
Is it flat feet that cause ACL tears, or is it poor motor patterns?
Haile Gebrselassie hasn’t had any problem being one of the world’s greatest long-distance runners for years in spite of gross over-pronation:
The point of this section, though, is what gets missed when you skip over the bottom of the foot, and move straight to the calf and ankle.
Or, also, what gets missed when you skip over the most basic reflex patterns that stem from the stimulation of the bottom of the (bare) foot? See this paper for ideas about that.
Where’s My Cookie?
Look, I can see the multitude of perspectives there are on the human body. I can smell them and taste them too. I’ve touched those perspectives with my own hands. Trust me.
I have two problems with what happened to me on Saturday:
1. The body is not that complicated.
2. The way of addressing it in these complicated (and contradictory) terms, only causes confusion and dismay. And,
3. People seem to have turned off their brains…they’re just following anyone who stands up and says “follow me.”
I’ll explain the way I look at the body in another post…so STAY TUNED!!!
Sorry for the rant…hahaha…