According to Reader's Digest (March, 2010) Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, United Kingdom have demonstrated that cows that have names give more milk than cows that are nameless.
It is tempting to stop with that opening statement and just see what comments are made. But if you know me or read here often (and apparently some of you do), then you know it is not my tendency be parsimonious. So, what do you think are the ramifications of this study? Do you think large scale dairies will begin to name and pet their cows to increase production? Nah, I doubt it, too. Why do you think this effect is true? Do you think there are human applications?
I remember a case study from my undergraduate classes in management where a large factory increased the lighting to see if it would affect productivity. It did, positively. A number of preliminary deductions were made. Then the company reduce the lighting to see if the productivity would return to the pre-existing state. Actually, it increased again. That seemed very odd and illogical--until someone suggested that perhaps ANY attention at all caused employees to feel that what they were doing was important.
So, yes, there probably IS an application to human relationships. Perhaps just acknowledging a relationship (like remembering a name) has a positive effect. Certainly we all desire to feel that whatever we are doing makes a difference and that somebody notices. What would happen if each of became the "noticer" instead of waiting to be noticed? In honor of Elsie, maybe we could buy someone an ice cream cone to say "I appreciate you."
What flavor would you like?