May 14th, 2016| Topic: RaMbLeS | 2


If you want to get folks to carefully and thoughtfully consider answers to a weighty matter, then you might do well to make the weighty matter actually weigh something significant.

A few years ago, Psychological Science published “Weight as an Embodiment of Importance,” by researchers from the University of Amsterdam.

Subjects were asked to respond to questions on either a light clipboard (1.45 lbs) or a heavier one (2.29 lbs). Guess what, the folks holding the latter thought more thoroughly about the issues and esteemed them higher than did those with the former.

For instance, participants were asked to estimate the value of six unfamiliar foreign currencies. Those carrying the heavier clipboard deemed the cash to be worth more. In a another study from Harvard, Yale, and MIT, resumes were evaluated by the subjects. Those with heavier clipboards judged candidate resumes as better qualified and more serious for the position, than did subjects with lighter clipboards.

In short, the clipboard matters!

Researchers Nils B. Jostmann, Daniël Lakens, and Thomas W. Schubert report:

Holding a heavy clipboard increased judgments of monetary value … and made participants consider fair decision-making procedures to be more important …. It also caused more elaborate thinking, as indicated by higher consistency between related judgments … and by greater polarization of agreement ratings for strong versus weak arguments ….”

No, no one’s affiliation or likings or attitudes changed simply because the clipboard was heavier. But they gave “weightier” consideration to all the questions asked.

Hmmm …. How did “weight” get linked to “important”?

And this is true in many languages, not just English. In Hebrew, “heavy” and “honor/glory” are the same word, kavod.

When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell off the seat backward beside the gate,
and his neck was broken and he died, for he was old and heavy [kaved].
1 Samuel 4:18

This “heaviness” is also a synonym for “wealth.”

Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying,
“Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s,
and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth [kavod].”
Genesis 31:1

Apparently, this is not just a linguistic artifact, but an increasingly studied and recognized issue in the vast field called “embodied cognition.” Perhaps the association of weight and importance is embodied in us since childhood: heavy objects, we were taught, needed to be handled with greater care.

So much so, the liver—considered in biblical times the heaviest organ of the body (BTW, it is not! Guess what is?)—was given the same word as a label.

“You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver [kaved],
and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and offer them up in smoke on the altar.”
Exodus 29:13

In the 60s, the word “heavy” was used to describe something profound or important. So also today when we describe something as being “substantial”—it has substance, mass, weight = it is important!

In line with “embodied cognition,” it appears that just as weight makes us invest more physical effort in dealing with weighty objects, we also invest more cognitive effort in dealing with weighty matters.

And that brings us to God’s glory ….

The heavens are telling of the glory [kavod] of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Psalm 19:1

He alone is “heavy,” glorious, The Most Important!

“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.”
Isaiah 42:8

Therefore …

… ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name.
1 Chronicles 16:29


  1. rodney May 16, 2016 at 8:06 am

    “Guess what is” …: the skin?

    And “heavy” was still being used in the 80’s.
    Back to the Future quote …
    Marty McFly: “Whoa. This is heavy.”
    Dr. Emmett Brown: “There’s that word again.’Heavy.’ Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?”


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