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Are you a lark or an owl?

If you are reading this article over your breakfast table, then you may well be a “lark” or morning type of person. “Owls, ” or evening types, tend not to spend much time over breakfast. They have little appetite then and, as they are usually late risers, they are probably running short of time anyway. The time of day at which one is most alert and mentally at one’s best has been studied by those interested in the circadian rhythms.

Around half of the adult population are morning or evening types, the rest fall somewhere in the middle. There can be up to a twelve-hour difference in the time of day when the two types are at their peak. Larks tend to reach this point in the late morning, owls reach it at around 10.00 p.m.

Such contrasting times are due to more than just a difference in sleep habits. Larks and owls take similar amounts of sleep, although, as one might expect, larks tend to be “early to bed early to rise,” and owls the opposite. But there is seldom more than a three-hour lag in sleeping times between the two, especially for those who go out to work.

Although the time of peak alertness differs considerably from lark to owl, the circadian rhythms of other body functions, especially that of body temperature, do not differ by more than an hour or so between the two types. In both larks and owls, body temperature reaches its daily peak around 7.00-9.00 p.m. and a trough at about 4.00 a.m.

In the 1930s it was thought (wrongly) that the predisposing factor for being one or other of the types was a dominance of either the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system. In the 1940s, Professor William Sheldon, renowned for his classification of body build, turned his attention to temperaments. His “somatotonic” persons (active, assertive and aggressive people) were claimed to be clear cut morning types, whereas “cerebrotonics” (restrained, inhibited and withdrawn from social contact) were evening types.

More recently, psychologists have considered owls to be mainly extroverts and larks introverts. One explanation for this seeming contradiction is that extroverts are more inclined to enjoy socialising and nightlife, and therefore they are more likely to be owls.

But our work at Loughborough has shown that this is not the case: there is no correlation between introversion-extroversion and momingness-eveningness. One can easily find the extroverted morning type who is the life and soul of the breakfast table, and the introverted evening type who reads well into the night. There is, in fact, little by way of obvious personality differences between the two types.

(from Helen Naylor and Stuart Hagger)

Dialogue 3-1 My Working Day. Monday Morning

Read the dialogues and compare David’s and Sue’s lives with Mrs.

Cornelia’s life.

David: What’s the matter, honey?

Sue: Oh, I don’t know.

David: Come on, something’s the matter. What is it?

Sue: It’s just life. It’s too boring!

David: It’s not that bad. You have the children.

Sue: But Kim will be at school and John’s only a baby! You’ll leave in five minutes, but I’ll be here all day. You won’t be home till seven!

David: One of us has to work, honey.

Sue: Yes, dear, but your day will be interesting. My day will be the same as every other day.

David: My work isn’t always interesting.

Sue: I know, but you travel around, you meet different people, and you do different things. Whom will I meet today? What will 1 do? Huh? Oh, I’ll do the dishes, feed the baby, wash the clothes, clean the house, give the baby a bath, walk the dog...

David: But... but... honey...

Sue: Then I’ll feed the baby again and put the kids to bed. What a life? Today, tomorrow, this week, next week, this month, next month, next year — forever!

David: It’s just Monday morning, honey. You’ll feel O.K. to­morrow.

Sue: Will I?




David’s Monday Sue’s Monday
David Shaw, television news re­ Sue Shaw, housewife.
8:30 — catch the train. 8:15 — drive David to the train
9:30 — arrive at MBS studio.   station.
10:00 — take an interview with 8:45 — wash the dishes.
  Miss Universe. 10:00 — feed the baby.
12:00 — have lunch with movie 10:30 — do the wash.
  producer. 12:00 — clean the house.
3:00 — interview Paul McCart­ 2:30 — go to the supermarket.
  ney at Kennedy Air­ 3:00 — pick Kim up at school.
  port. 4:00 — make dinner.


5:00 — meet Walter for drinks. 6:45 — meet David at the sta­
6:00 — catch the train.   tion.
7:30 — have dinner. 7:30 — have dinner.
8:30 — watch TV. 8:30 — wash the dishes.
9:30 — walk the dog. 9:00 — feed the baby.
11:00 — go to bed. 10:15 — go to bed.


5:00 — meet Walter for drinks. 6:45 — meet David at the sta­
6:00 — catch the train.   tion.
7:30 — have dinner. 7:30 — have dinner.
8:30 — watch TV. 8:30 — wash the dishes.
9:30 — walk the dog. 9:00 — feed the baby.
11:00 — go to bed. 10:15 — go to bed.

Dialogue 3-2

An Interview

Arnold Rivera, the TV news reporter, is interviewing Mrs. Cor­nelia Vandergift for the programme Real People.

Arnold: Well, Mrs. Vandergift, please tell our viewers about an ordinary day in your life.

Cornelia: Well, I wake up at eight o’clock.

Arnold: Really? Do you get up then?

Cornelia: No. of course 1 don’t get up at that time. 1 have breakfast in bed, and 1 read the “New York Times”.

Arnold: What time do you get up?

Cornelia: J get up at ten.

Arnold: What do you do then?

Cornelia: I read my letters and dictate the answers to my secretary. Arnold: And then?

Cornelia: At eleven I take a walk with Jimmy.

Arnold: Jimmy? Who’s Jimmy?

Cornelia: Jimmy’s my dog.

Arnold: Oh, what time do you have lunch?

Cornelia: I have lunch at twelve thirty. I eat alone.

Arnold: Oh, I see. Well, what do you do after lunch?

Cornelia: Oh, I rest until six o’clock.

Arnold: And at six? What do you do at six?

Cornelia: I get dressed for dinner. 1 have dinner at seven o’clock. Arnold: Yes, well, what do you do after dinner?

Cornelia: I read or watch TV. I take a bath at nine-thirty, and go to bed at ten.

Arnold: Thank you, Mrs. Vandergift. You certainly have a busy and interesting life.

Cornelia: You’re welcome.

(from “/itnerican Streamline ” by Bernard Bartley and Peter Viney,

Oxford Anierican English)

Dialogue 3-3 A Typical Working Day

Casey Lord of BBC talked to Arthur Hailey, one of the most commercially successful living novelists. His works are available in 30 languages. The titles of Arthur Hailey’s books — Wheels, Hotel, Airport indicate that he writes mainly about modern life in factories and big cities.

Lord: Can you tell us what would be for you a typical working day? How do you go about your work?

Hailey: I go about my work in that I take three years for a book, the first year I do nothing but research into the background. About sue months of planning after that, and then the hardest work of all, the actual writing; and when i get to the writing stage I’m usually at my desk about half past eight or nine in the morning. I work through the day with a break for lunch, and finish at about five... I work an ordinary day just like anyone does at any occupation.

Lord: Your method of working is systematic to the Nth degree, do you enjoy w'riting a book?

Hailey: It’s a love-hate relationship — at least that’s how my wife describes it. I tell people that I enjoy the research because that in­volves going to places and meeting people. And there comes a time when you can put off the writing no longer. People say to me some­times “Are there days when you don’t feel like writing?” — and I say, “1 never feel like writing!”

Lord: Are you going on for the rest of your life writing, or are you going to do other things, are there other ambitions that you want to fulfil?

Hailey: No, writing is the only thing, though as for going on, I’m not too sure. I did say that after the book I’ve almost completed now I wasn’t going to do any more, now I’ve decided to do another one, and perhaps there’ll be another one after that. There’s a problem: doing a book is total involvement for three years and shutting olT from a lot of other tilings, and yet I really don’t know the answer to your question.

(from “Moscow News ")

Date: 2015-04-20; view: 2554

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