Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

The two most dangerous words in the English language today …

August 18, 2017

When it comes to human behavior, “studies show” are becoming “the two most dangerous words in the English language today.”

==========

According to Andy Kessler, writing in the WSJ

Many of the cited studies on human behavior are pure bunk.

For example:

The 270 researchers working under the auspices of the Center for Open Science spent four years trying to reproduce 100 leading psychology experiments.

They successfully replicated only 39 of the 100 psychology experiments.

A survey of 1,576 scientists published in Nature reported that “more than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments … and more than half are unable to reproduce their own experiments.”

image

 

What’s going on?

(more…)

Biases: The “halo effect” … rock on, sister!

September 20, 2016

Since Alicia Keys debuted as a coach on The Voice last night, I have a semi-legitimate excuse for reprising one of my all-time favorite posts … topic is a cognitive bias called the “halo effect”.

=======

I’ll explain the picture later, but first, the back story.

A couple of interesting dots got connected last week.

image

First, I started watching The Voice.

I liked the talent and the bantering among the coaches, but wondered why they used the turning chairs gimmick.  You know, judges can’t see the the performers, they can just hear them.

Became apparent when Usher turned his chair and was surprised to see that the high-pitched soul singer was a big white guy.

Hmmm.

=====

Second, for the course I’m currently teaching, I’ve been reading a book called The Art of Thinking Clearly — a series of short essays on cognitive biases – those sneaky psychological effects that impair our decision-making.

(more…)

How to think like a rich guy …

June 29, 2016

Steve Siebold, author of “How Rich People Think,” spent nearly three decades interviewing millionaires around the world to find out what separates them from everyone else.

“It had little to do with money itself, he told Business Insider. It was about their mentality.”

image

Here are my favorites from his 21 Ways that Rich People Think Differently ….

(more…)

Nums: 94% of profs rate themselves above average … but, don’t we all?

April 29, 2016

According to LiveScience.com

Since psychological studies first began, people have given themselves top marks for most positive traits.

While most people do well at assessing others, they are wildly positive about their own abilities.

The phenomenon is known as illusory superiority.

image

Illusory superiority is everywhere

  • In studies, most people overestimate their IQ. For instance, in a classic 1977 study, 94 percent of professors rated themselves above their peer group average.
  • In another study, 32 percent of the employees of a software company said they performed in the top 5%.
  • Drivers consistently rate themselves as better than average — even when a test of their hazard perception reveals them to be below par.

Ironically, the most incompetent are also the most likely to overestimate their skills, while the ace performers are more likely to underrate themselves.

Psychologists say the illusory superiority happens for several reasons:

(more…)

Biases: The “halo effect” … rock on, sister!

September 24, 2015

Two coinciding events this week: I’m prepping my fall course in business analytics — with some emphasis on decision biases — and, AGT is over (finally) and The Voice’s new season started.

So, it’s time to dust off one of my favorite posts …

======

I’ll explain the picture later, but first, the back story.

A couple of interesting dots got connected last week.

 

image

First, I started watching The Voice.

I liked the talent and the bantering among the coaches, but wondered why they used the turning chairs gimmick.  You know, judges can’t see the the performers, they can just hear them.

Became apparent when Usher turned his chair and was surprised to see that the high-pitched soul singer was a big white guy.

Hmmm.

=====

Second, for the course I’m currently teaching, I’ve been reading a book called The Art of Thinking Clearly — a series of short essays on cognitive biases – those sneaky psychological effects that impair our decision-making.

(more…)

How to think like a rich guy …

August 13, 2015

Steve Siebold, author of “How Rich People Think,” spent nearly three decades interviewing millionaires around the world to find out what separates them from everyone else.

“It had little to do with money itself, he told Business Insider. It was about their mentality.”

image

Here are my favorites from his 21 Ways that Rich People Think Differently:

3. Average people have a lottery mentality. Rich people have an action mentality.

“While the masses are waiting to pick the right numbers and praying for prosperity, the great ones are solving problems”

4. Average people think the road to riches is paved with formal education. Rich people believe in acquiring specific knowledge.

“Many world-class performers have little formal education, and have amassed their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge.”

5. Average people long for the good old days. Rich people dream of the future.

“People who believe their best days are behind them rarely get rich, and often struggle with unhappiness and depression.”

7. Average people earn money doing things they don’t love. Rich people follow their passion.

“To the average person, it looks like the rich are working all the time … But one of the smartest strategies of the world class is doing what you love and finding a way to get paid for it.”

8. Average people set low expectations so they’re never disappointed. Rich people are up for the challenge.

“No one would ever strike it rich and live their dreams without huge expectations.”

12. Average people live beyond their means. Rich people live below theirs.

“The rich live below their means, not because they’re so savvy” … but because they can … and they do!

15. Average people would rather be entertained than educated. Rich people would rather be educated than entertained.

“The rich appreciate the power of learning long after college is over … Walk into a wealthy person’s home and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves on how to become more successful … The middle class reads novels, tabloids and entertainment magazines.”

click for the full list

Thanks to CH for feeding the lead

>> Latest Posts

Why we make mistakes: Winging it, too few constraints, greener grass

June 29, 2015

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Grass look s greener

Today, we finish the list … ending with an old standby: The Grass Looks Greener …

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: We’re all above average (or at least think we are)

June 26, 2015

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Im above average

Today, we add reason #10 to the list. we all think we’re above average

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: Men shoot first, then …

June 25, 2015

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Man shooting gun

Today, we add reason #9 to the list. Men shoot first, then …

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: frame of mind, skimming, tidiness

June 24, 2015

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m  excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Man making mistake

Today, we add reasons 6, 7 and 8 to the list.

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: The myth of multi-tasking

June 23, 2015

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m excerpting the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Mukti-tasking woman

Today, we add reason #5 to the list: the myth of multi-tasking…

(more…)

Why we make mistakes …

June 22, 2015

In this and a couple of subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from a summer read:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Confused man

Today, the first 4 reasons on the list …

(more…)

Biases: The “halo effect” … rock on, sister!

April 12, 2015

We’ve covering the Halo Effect in class this week, so it’s time to dust off one of my favorite posts …

======

I’ll explain the picture later, but first, the back story.

A couple of interesting dots got connected last week.

 

image

First, I started watching The Voice.

I liked the talent and the bantering among the coaches, but wondered why they used the turning chairs gimmick.  You know, judges can’t see the the performers, they can just hear them.

Became apparent when Usher turned his chair and was surprised to see that the high-pitched soul singer was a big white guy.

Hmmm.

=====

Second, for the course I’m currently teaching, I’ve been reading a book called The Art of Thinking Clearly — a series of short essays on cognitive biases – those sneaky psychological effects that impair our decision-making.

(more…)

Nums: 94% of profs rate themselves above average … but, don’t we all?

January 14, 2015

According to LiveScience.com

Since psychological studies first began, people have given themselves top marks for most positive traits.

While most people do well at assessing others, they are wildly positive about their own abilities.

image

The phenomenon is known as illusory superiority. (more…)

Why we make mistakes: We’re all above average (or at least think we are)

September 15, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Im above average

Today, we add reason #10 to the list. we all think we’re above average

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: Winging it, too few constraints, greener grass

September 10, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Grass look s greener

Today, we finish the list … ending with an old standby: The Grass Looks Greener …

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: Men shoot first, then …

September 8, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Man shooting gun

Today, we add reason #9 to the list. Men shoot first, then …

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: frame of mind, skimming, tidiness

September 5, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m  excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Man making mistake

Today, we add reasons 6, 7 and 8 to the list.

(more…)

Why We Make Mistakes: The myth of multi-tasking

September 4, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m excerpting the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Mukti-tasking woman

Today, we add reason #5 to the list: the myth of multi-tasking…

(more…)

Why we make mistakes …

September 3, 2014

In this and a couple of subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from a summer read:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Confused man

Today, the first 4 reasons on the list …

(more…)

Don’t be so paranoid, assume a “positive intent” …

August 8, 2014

I know that Andy Grove of Intel says “only the paranoid survive”.

But, work relationships are sometimes corrupted by negative assumptions that take on a life all their own.

A jabrone speaks out against your idea in a meeting, and you naturally assume that he’s trying to sabotage your or embarrass you in front of the boss.

If this situation happens a couple of times, you might declare war and go on the offensive to neutralize or defeat him.

 

clip_image002

To interrupt this cycle, some organizational leaders urge their employees to “assume positive intent,”

(more…)

Deciding? Check your mindset …

August 1, 2014

In Decisive, the authors (Heath Brothers) observe that people often approach problems from two radically different mindsets: “promotion” and “prevention”.

 

image

The mindset one adopts can bias the way solutions are considered and selected.

(more…)

From The Numerati … the biology of personality

May 27, 2014

Ken’s Take:  Don’t blame me ! My personality is derived from my body chemistry.

DNA Helix

Here’s the scoop …

(more…)

Biases: The “halo effect” … rock on, sister!

March 25, 2014

I’ll explain the picture later, but first, the back story.

A couple of interesting dots got connected last week.

 

image

First, I started watching The Voice.

I liked the talent and the bantering among the coaches, but wondered why they used the turning chairs gimmick.  You know, judges can’t see the the performers, they can just hear them.

Became apparent when Usher turned his chair and was surprised to see that the high-pitched soul singer was a big white guy.

Hmmm.

=====

Second, for the course I’m currently teaching, I’ve been reading a book called The Art of Thinking Clearly — a series of short essays on cognitive biases – those sneaky psychological effects that impair our decision-making.

(more…)

Nums: 94% of profs rate themselves above average … but, don’t we all?

March 20, 2014

According to LiveScience.com

Since psychological studies first began, people have given themselves top marks for most positive traits.

While most people do well at assessing others, they are wildly positive about their own abilities.

The phenomenon is known as illusory superiority.

image

Illusory superiority is everywhere

  • In studies, most people overestimate their IQ. For instance, in a classic 1977 study, 94 percent of professors rated themselves above their peer group average.
  • In another study, 32 percent of the employees of a software company said they performed in the top 5%.
  • Drivers consistently rate themselves as better than average — even when a test of their hazard perception reveals them to be below par.

Ironically, the most incompetent are also the most likely to overestimate their skills, while the ace performers are more likely to underrate themselves.

Psychologists say the illusory superiority happens for several reasons:

  • people don’t usually get honest feedback from others others (who are too polite to say what they really think)
  • incompetent people lack the skills to assess their abilities accurately
  • most positive traits — like being a good driver — are so vaguely defined that there’s plenty of wiggle room
  • self-delusions can actually protect people’s mental health serving as a protective mechanism that shields self-esteem

The remedy for illusory superiority ?

Since people are generally more accurate in assessing other people (than assessing themselves), get — and take to heart — constructive criticism from others.

Yeah, right.

Source: Why We’re All Above Average

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma              >> Latest Posts

Why we make mistakes: Winging it, too few constraints, greener grass

January 28, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Grass look s greener

Today, we finish the list … ending with an old standby: The Grass Looks Greener …

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: We’re all above average (or at least think we are)

January 24, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Im above average

Today, we add reason #10 to the list. we all think we’re above average

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: Men shoot first, then …

January 23, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Man shooting gun

Today, we add reason #9 to the list. Men shoot first, then …

(more…)

Why we make mistakes: frame of mind, skimming, tidiness

January 22, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m  excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Man making mistake

Today, we add reasons 6, 7 and 8 to the list.

(more…)

Why We Make Mistakes: The myth of multi-tasking

January 21, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m excerpting the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Mukti-tasking woman

Today, we add reason #5 to the list: the myth of multi-tasking…

(more…)

Why we make mistakes …

January 20, 2014

In this and a couple of subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Confused man

Today, the first 4 reasons on the list …

(more…)

A setback for E + R = O

January 8, 2014

A couple of week’s ago, I posted  Life: E + R = O

I’ve often told students: “You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can always control the the way you respond to it.”

I didn’t always walk the talk, so I needed a booster shot.

And, I got one from Urban Meyer – Ohio States’s head football coach –   who preaches the E + R = O principle to his players … even has them wear wristbands.

Say, what?

Answer: Event + Response = Outcome

Well, E + R = O was put to a test when Ohio State lost to Clemson in the Orange Bowl

The E was the loss.

The R was …

image

Ouch.

Not a big deal, but doesn’t exactly advance the cause.

Now, there’s a bigger test for Coach Meyer and the  E + R = O philosophy …

(more…)

Nums: 94% of profs rate themselves above average … but, don’t we all?

February 8, 2013

According to LiveScience.com

Since psychological studies first began, people have given themselves top marks for most positive traits.

While most people do well at assessing others, they are wildly positive about their own abilities.

The phenomenon is known as illusory superiority.

image

Illusory superiority is everywhere

  • In studies, most people overestimate their IQ. For instance, in a classic 1977 study, 94 percent of professors rated themselves above their peer group average.
  • In another study, 32 percent of the employees of a software company said they performed in the top 5%.
  • Drivers consistently rate themselves as better than average — even when a test of their hazard perception reveals them to be below par.

Ironically, the most incompetent are also the most likely to overestimate their skills, while the ace performers are more likely to underrate themselves.

Psychologists say the illusory superiority happens for several reasons:

(more…)

Gender bias: Why teachers give girls better grades …

February 7, 2013

Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college.

That’s not fair.

Why does it happen?

image 

Here’s a shocking research finding for you …

(more…)

Gridlock: Why I missed the Hoya’s game

January 9, 2013

Georgetown was gridlocked yesterday.

A troubled dude was threatening to jump from the Key Bridge, so police shut down the bridge, M Street and many of the area’s side streets.

Virtually impossible to get out of G-town heading to the Verizon Center … or any place else.

image
Source

Couple of thoughts:

(more…)

How to think like a rich guy …

September 11, 2012

Steve Siebold, author of “How Rich People Think,” spent nearly three decades interviewing millionaires around the world to find out what separates them from everyone else.

“It had little to do with money itself, he told Business Insider. It was about their mentality.”

image

Here are my favorites from his 21 Ways that Rich People Think Differently:

3. Average people have a lottery mentality. Rich people have an action mentality.

“While the masses are waiting to pick the right numbers and praying for prosperity, the great ones are solving problems”

4. Average people think the road to riches is paved with formal education. Rich people believe in acquiring specific knowledge.

“Many world-class performers have little formal education, and have amassed their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge.”

5. Average people long for the good old days. Rich people dream of the future.

“People who believe their best days are behind them rarely get rich, and often struggle with unhappiness and depression.”

7. Average people earn money doing things they don’t love. Rich people follow their passion.

“To the average person, it looks like the rich are working all the time … But one of the smartest strategies of the world class is doing what you love and finding a way to get paid for it.”

8. Average people set low expectations so they’re never disappointed. Rich people are up for the challenge.

“No one would ever strike it rich and live their dreams without huge expectations.”

12. Average people live beyond their means. Rich people live below theirs.

“The rich live below their means, not because they’re so savvy” … but because they can … and they do!

15. Average people would rather be entertained than educated. Rich people would rather be educated than entertained.

“The rich appreciate the power of learning long after college is over … Walk into a wealthy person’s home and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves on how to become more successful … The middle class reads novels, tabloids and entertainment magazines.”

click for the full list

Thanks to CH for feeding the lead

>> Latest Posts

Psychology is a science … or is it?

July 26, 2012

Gotta be honest, I didn’t know there was a burning question re: whether or not psychology qualifies as a science.

But, there’s been a flurry of editorials and op-eds over the past couple of weeks, set off by a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, who expressed resentment in an L.A. Times Op-Ed over the fact that most scientists don’t consider psychology a real science. He cast scientists as condescending bullies.

“There has long been snobbery in the sciences, with the ‘hard’ ones (physics, chemistry, biology) considering themselves to be more legitimate than the ‘soft’ ones (psychology, sociology).”

In a follow-up piece, also in the L.A. Times, it’s argued:

Psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous:

  1. clearly defined terminology,
  2. quantifiability,
  3. highly controlled experimental conditions,
  4. reproducibility and,
  5. predictability and testability.

The failure to meet the first two requirements of scientific rigor (clear terminology and quantifiability) makes it almost impossible for most psychology research to meet the other three.

How can an experiment be consistently reproducible or provide any useful predictions if the basic terms are vague and unquantifiable?

Making useful predictions is a vital part of the scientific process, but psychology has a dismal record in this regard.

To be fair, psychology research often yields interesting and important insights.

But to claim it is “science” is inaccurate.

Hmmm.

Makes “marketing science” sound a bit oxymoronic.

Not good news for us marketers.

>> Latest Posts

Internet addiction? … Up there with smoking and drinking.

July 26, 2011

Punch line: Online and digital technology is increasingly pervasive, influencing our friendships, the way we communicate, the fabric of our family life, our work lives, our buying habits and our dealings with organizations.’

People deprived of the internet feel ‘upset and lonely’ and find going offline as hard as quitting smoking or drinking.

* * * * *
Reported in the Daily Mail

Researchers at the University of Maryland persuaded hundreds of students at 12 colleges around the world to agree not to use any technological devices including television and radios for 24 hours.

The volunteers had to stay away from all emails, text messages, updates on Facebook and Twitter. All they could have access to was a landline phone and books. The students kept diaries of their feelings during their period of ‘information deprivation’.

The researchers reported the volunteers told of physiological and physical symptoms comparable to addicts trying to quit smoking or drugs.

These included feeling fidgety, anxious and isolated, and even reaching out for their mobile phone, which was no longer there.

Some of those taking part in the experiment – called Unplugged – said they felt like they were undergoing ‘cold turkey’ to break a hard drug habit, while others said it felt like going on a diet.

Ken’s Note: Felt guilty … found this article online, edited it online, and posted it for your edification … online, of course.

>> Latest Posts

We’re all “special” … yeah, right.

February 18, 2011

Our parents told us we were special.

But, we all knew they were just doing their jobs.

These days, “awards proliferation” is picking up where mom and dad left off … confirming that we’re all special.

In “Everyone’s a Winner,” sociologist Joel Best concentrates primarily on America’s self- congratulatory culture.

Everywhere the author turns his gaze—from bumper stickers that boast about “my kid the honor-roll student” to boosterish “employee of the month” awards — Mr. Best sees a proliferation of prizes that seems to arise from a desperate desire to exclude fewer and fewer people from the winner’s podium.

Literary prizes are now given for every kind of category, including 12 different kinds of detective fiction recognized by the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar awards. The nominees for the Best Picture Oscar (nominations themselves are awards) have recently doubled from five to 10, and the number of Grammy awards given out last Sunday night came to more than 100. Valedictorians were once unique; now some high schools have dozens.

The tendency to create social subsets in which we may be recognized for “excellence,” in Mr. Best’s view, is also evident in the explosion of rankings and “best of” lists in recent decades—including everything from colleges and plastic surgeons to car-repair shops and hamburgers.

Such prizes and rankings …  are often self-created and thus abundant.

One question that Mr. Best does not address is whether the many winners among us actually believe our own hype.

Martin Chuzzlewit noted long ago that many of us think we are among “the most remarkable people in America.”

WSJ, Why We’re All Above Average, Feb.16, 2011.

Why we make mistakes: Winging it, too few constraints, greener grass

March 22, 2010

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Today, we finish the list.

* * * * * *

The errors we make can be explained through 13 lessons:

1. We look but don’t always see.

2. We all search for meaning.

3. We connect the dots.

4. We wear rose-colored glasses.

5. We can walk and chew gum — but not much else.

6. We’re in the wrong frame of mind.

7. We skim.

8. We like things tidy.

9. Men shoot first.

10. We all think we’re above average.

* * * * *

11. We’d rather wing it.

Over time, winging it just doesn’t work. Knowledge and deliberate practice do.

When performed correctly, prolonged, deliberate practice produces a large body of specialized knowledge in the mind of the person doing the practice.

Having this large body of knowledge allows an expert to quickly recognize patterns that other people don’t.

12. We don’t constrain ourselves.

One way to reduce errors is by introducing constraints. Essentially, these constraints are simple mental aids that keep us on the right track by limiting our alternatives

13. The grass does look greener.

Researchers have found that when it comes to well-being, neither social states, education, income, marital status, nor religious commitment accounts for more than about 3 percent of the variance in people’s reported levels of well-being.

Nonetheless, it’s human nature to overvalue the unknown and, in the process, chase elusive dreams that turn out to be less fulfilling than what we have.

All done …

Why we make mistakes: We’re all above average (or at least think we are)

March 19, 2010

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Today, we add reason #10 to the list.

* * * * * *

The errors we make can be explained through 13 lessons:

1. We look but don’t always see.

2. We all search for meaning.

3. We connect the dots.

4. We wear rose-colored glasses.

5. We can walk and chew gum — but not much else.

6. We’re in the wrong frame of mind.

7. We skim.

8. We like things tidy.

9. Men shoot first.

* * * * *

10. We all think we’re above average.

Most of us hate to think of ourselves as average. So we walk around with the private conceit that we are above average, and in that conceit lies the seeds of many mistakes.

“Calibration” measures the differences between actual and perceived abilities. If you’re as good as you think you are, then you are said to be well calibrated. If you are not as good as you think you are, then you are said to be poorly calibrated.

Most of us tend to be poorly calibrated when it comes to important skills, like those we need to perform our jobs.

Corrective feedback is a powerful way to shape human behavior. In situations where overconfidence is high.

But, feedback is often low in quantity, in quality, or in both.

* * * * *
Next up: We finish the list …

Why we make mistakes: Men shoot first, then …

March 18, 2010

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Today, we add reason #9 to the list.

* * * * * *

The errors we make can be explained through 13 lessons:

1. We look but don’t always see.

2. We all search for meaning.

3. We connect the dots.

4. We wear rose-colored glasses.

5. We can walk and chew gum — but not much else.

6. We’re in the wrong frame of mind.

7. We skim.

8. We like things tidy.

* * * * *

9. Men shoot first.

Aspects of our personalities predispose many of us toward certain kinds of errors. Overconfidence is a leading source of human error and, across a wide field of endeavors.

Both men and women have been shown to be overconfident. However, men, as a rule, tend to be more overconfident than women are, and this difference explains much about the kinds of mistakes men and women make.

When men and women are asked to estimate their IQs, men, on average, will give higher estimates than women will. However, men aren’t as smart as they think they are; their IQs turn out to be lower than they had guessed. Women, on the other hand, turn out to be smarter than they think they are; their IQs are, on average, higher than their estimates. In other words, men overestimate their IQs and women underestimate theirs.

Throughout their lives, for example, men report having more confidence about their sense of direction than women do — even though there is little evidence that they actually have a better sense of direction.

When it comes to making mistakes, women appear to be harder on themselves than men are.

* * * * *
Next up: We’re all above average … yeah, right.

Why we make mistakes: frame of mind, skimming, tidiness

March 17, 2010

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m  excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Today, we add reasons 6, 7 and 8 to the list.

* * * * * *

The errors we make can be explained through 13 lessons:

1. We look but don’t always see.

2. We all search for meaning.

3. We connect the dots.

4. We wear rose-colored glasses.

5. We can walk and chew gum — but not much else.

* * * * *

6. We’re in the wrong frame of mind.

How we frame an issue can greatly affect our response to it.

In situations where we expect a loss, we are prone to take risks. However, when we are considering gains, we become more conservative; we simply want to hold on to a sure thing. This pattern seems to stem, in part, from the human approach to risk perception.

Many factors can affect the way we frame our decisions. One of the least obvious factors is time. When the consequences of our decisions are far off, we are prone to take bigger gambles. However, when consequences are more immediate, we become more conservative.

7. We skim.

We rely on context to guide our perception of everyday events. The better we are at something, the more likely we are to skim.

However, this ability comes with a trade-off: Accuracy is sacrificed, and details are overlooked. As something becomes familiar, we tend to notice less.

We see things not as they are, but as we assume they ought to be. This ingrained behavior can cause us to overlook not only small things, but some things that are startlingly large.

8. We like things tidy.

The process of retelling a story in our own narrative style places certain constraints on what we recall, and these constraints guide our reconstruction of events.

If we tell a story in a funny way, for example, we’re likely to leave out certain details or maybe even add a few of our own making. In this process, a story doesn’t simply become a vision of the original event, it becomes the event; it is the way we remember it.

* * * * *
Next up: Men shoot first …

Why We Make Mistakes: The myth of multi-tasking

March 16, 2010

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m excerpting the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Today, we add reason #5 to the list.

* * * * * *

The errors we make can be explained through 13 lessons:

1. We look but don’t always see.

2. We all search for meaning.

3. We connect the dots.

4. We wear rose-colored glasses.

* * * * *

5. We can walk and chew gum — but not much else.

Whether we’re on foot or behind the wheel, our attention is continually being divided by the tasks we try to juggle, such as listening to iPods, talking on cell phones, and tapping away on BlackBerrys.

Most of us believe our brains can work in the same way that computers multitask. Although multi-tasking has become a hallmark of the modern workplace, it is also one of the great myths of the modern age. We may think we are focusing on several activities at once, but our attention is actually jumping back and forth between tasks.

Not even a computer, by the way, can multitask; it actually switches back and forth between several tasks several times per second, thus presenting the illusion that all of the tasks are being performed at once.

Our minds provide us with the same illusion.

the gains we think we make by multitasking are often illusory. This is because the brain slows down when it has to juggle tasks.

Switching from task to task also creates other problems. One such problem is that we forget what we are doing — or planned to do. In some cases, the forgetting rate can be as high as 40 percent.

Another cost to multitasking is downtime. When we’re working on one thing and are interrupted, it takes us a while to refocus on what we were originally working on.

Workplace studies have found that it takes up to 15 minutes for us to regain a deep state of concentration after a distraction, such as a phone call.

Divided attention can also produce a dangerous condition known as inattentional blindness. In this condition, it is possible for an individual to look directly at something and still not see it.

One example, driver distraction, is now considered a much more frequent cause of auto accidents than safety officials once believed. When switching from task to task, drivers need downtime to recover.

* * * * *
Next up: Wrong frame of mind …

Why we make mistakes …

March 15, 2010

In this and a couple of subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books 2009

Today, the first 4 reasons on the list

* * * * * *

When it comes to making mistakes, the cause is overwhelmingly attributed to human error.

Whether it’s airplane crashes (70 percent), car crashes (90 percent), or workplace accidents (90 percent), humans are usually to blame.

However, in many cases, our mistakes are not entirely our fault. All of us are afflicted with certain systemic biases in the way we see, remember, and perceive the world around us, and these biases make us prone to commit certain types of errors.

The errors we make can be explained through 13 lessons:

1. We look but don’t always see.

When it comes to human error, this kind of mistake is so common that researchers have given it its own nickname: “a looked but didn’t see” error. When we look at something — or at someone — we think we see all there is to see. But we don’t. Often times, we miss important details, some small and some larger.

2. We all search for meaning.

A recent poll of 3,000 people found that one-fourth of them couldn’t remember their own phone numbers, and two-thirds couldn’t recall the birthdays of more than three friends or family members.

When it comes to hiding places, people also mistakenly believe that the more unusual a hiding place is, the more memorable it will be. However, the opposite is actually true: Unusualness actually makes a hiding place more forgettable. The key to a good hiding place is making a quick connection between the thing being hidden and the place in which it is hidden.

The same holds for passwords.  While associated meanings may make them easier to hack, they’re certainly more memorable if they have personal meaning.

3. We connect the dots (prematurely).

The moment we experience a flicker of recognition, the brain does something similar to connecting the dots that we didn’t know it was connecting. These types of subtle connections are very powerful — and very common. 

Once we “see” a pattern developing we hurry it to its logical conclusion — sometimes erroneously — regardless of contrary indicators that may surface.

4. We wear rose-colored glasses.

Hindsight isn’t 20/20.

In remembering our own actions, we all tend to wear rose-colored glasses. Without intentionally trying to distort the record, we are prone to recalling our own words and deeds ina light that is more favorable than an objective record would show.

In fact, the tendency to see and remember in self-serving ways is so ingrained in us — and so subtle — that we often have no idea that we’re doing it.

* * * * *

Next up: The myth of multi-tasking …

“Damn, I got the silver” … “Yea, I got the bronze”

March 2, 2010

Punch line: Research by three U.S. academics, who analyzed heat-of-the-moment reactions, medal-stand temperament and interviews of Olympians, shows that bronze-medal winners, on average, are happier with their finishes than silver medalists.

* * * * *

Excerpted from USA Today: Analysts: Bronze medal leads to more happiness than silver

Take silver, and you tend to fixate on the near miss.

Score bronze, and you are thankful you were not shut out altogether.

Psychologists described it as counterfactual thinking.

“It’s like a student who gets a B, missing an A by one point. The B’s no longer that good.” 

“Same way when you miss your flight by five minutes. You say, ‘Well, I could have made up five minutes somehow.’ If you get close to it, you think, ‘There are things I could have done.’

“I don’t know whether we learn that type of thinking about what we could have done or if it’s something that’s wired into us.”

Full article:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/vancouver/2010-02-22-bronze-vs-silver_N.htm

Thanks to RSJ and EAH for feeding the lead

Clinically speaking, is Pres. Obama a narcissist ?

January 27, 2010

Anti-Obamanites often characterize the President as a narcissist.  Is he?

Below is one clinician’s criteria for slotting somebody as a narcissist.  All are narcissistic tendencies.

A score of 10 out of 13 slots somebody as an “overt maladaptive narcissist”.  That sounds pretty bad.

If the State of the Union gets boring tonight, pull out the list and score the President along these criteria.
 

image

Source: Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving With the Self-Absorbed by Wendy T. Behary

From The Numerati … the biology of personality

August 4, 2009

Ken’s Take:  Don’t blame me ! My personality is derived from my body chemistry. 

Perhaps, this is how marriage blood tests should be applied …

* * * * * 

From: The Numerati, Stephen Baker, Haughton Mifflin, 2008 

In the late 1990s, researchers began looking into the biology of personality: the genes, neurotransmitters, and specifically, the hormones.

A theory emerged at four different hormones — estrogen, testosterone, dopamine, serotonin – mold personalities.

People with lots of dopamine are likely to be “Explorers” — optimistic risk takers. Explore issues words like excite, spirit, dream, fire, and search. Explorers have a tendency to fly off in different directions the minute they get bored. They get into relationships fast, wonder how they got there, and then try to weasel their way out.

Serotonin breeds “builders” who tend to be calm and organized and work well in groups. Builders have a tendency to talk about law, honor, limits, and honesty. Builders like to keep finances in order, map out vacations, and make sure the cats get their latest battery of rabies shots.

People brimming with testosterone — two thirds of whom are men — our “directors”. They are analytical, logical, and often musical. Directors focused largely on the physical world and over use words like aim, measure, strong, and hard. They also talk a lot about “thinking.”

People high in estrogen are at the “negotiators.” They are verbal and intuitive, and a good people skills. Negotiators talked about links, bonds, love, team, and participation. Negotiators are smooth talking, problem solvers who patched together friendships.

* * * * *

When it comes to relationships,

  • Negotiators gravitate towards directors, and vice versa.
  • Explorers are attracted to negotiators.
  • No-nonsense builders are often drawn to explorers, who helped them “lighten up.”

* * * * *

From The Numerati … the biology of personality

August 4, 2009

Ken’s Take:  Don’t blame me ! My personality is derived from my body chemistry. 

Perhaps, this is how marriage blood tests should be applied …

* * * * * 

From: The Numerati, Stephen Baker, Haughton Mifflin, 2008 

In the late 1990s, researchers began looking into the biology of personality: the genes, neurotransmitters, and specifically, the hormones.

A theory emerged at four different hormones — estrogen, testosterone, dopamine, serotonin – mold personalities.

People with lots of dopamine are likely to be “Explorers” — optimistic risk takers. Explore issues words like excite, spirit, dream, fire, and search. Explorers have a tendency to fly off in different directions the minute they get bored. They get into relationships fast, wonder how they got there, and then try to weasel their way out.

Serotonin breeds “builders” who tend to be calm and organized and work well in groups. Builders have a tendency to talk about law, honor, limits, and honesty. Builders like to keep finances in order, map out vacations, and make sure the cats get their latest battery of rabies shots.

People brimming with testosterone — two thirds of whom are men — our “directors”. They are analytical, logical, and often musical. Directors focused largely on the physical world and over use words like aim, measure, strong, and hard. They also talk a lot about “thinking.”

People high in estrogen are at the “negotiators.” They are verbal and intuitive, and a good people skills. Negotiators talked about links, bonds, love, team, and participation. Negotiators are smooth talking, problem solvers who patched together friendships.

* * * * *

When it comes to relationships,

  • Negotiators gravitate towards directors, and vice versa.
  • Explorers are attracted to negotiators.
  • No-nonsense builders are often drawn to explorers, who helped them “lighten up.”

* * * * *

According to psycho-analysts, what do Obama, Sanford, and Palin have in common?

July 9, 2009

According to some political-psyche pundits and news reports: they’re all narcissists. 

Some have gone a step further and presumptuously diagnose them as having  Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which is also called pathological narcissism.  (Details below)

* * * * *

When I heard the term the second or third time, I got curious.

Initially, I thought that NPD was a made-up talk show slur.  But, I did some digging and discovered that Narcissistic Personality Disorder really does exist as a documented pathology. 

Below are its diagnostic criteria and the “so whats” of the pathology. 

Worth reading …

* * * * *

Pathological Narcissism: How do you know ?

People may be  clinically diagnosed as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder if they exhibit at least 5 of the following attitudes and behaviors:

1. Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance; obsess over appearance and image

2. Are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

3. Believe they are  “special” and can only be understood by other special or high-status people

4. Require excessive admiration; crave the spotlight; expect to be recognized as superior to others.

5. Have a sense of entitlement; expect special treatment and automatic compliance with their wishes

6. Selfishly take advantage of others to achieve their own ends; lie, deceive, and manipulate; believe rules of morality don’t apply to them

7. Lack empathy; fail to recognize or sympathize with other people’s feelings and needs.

8. Are often envious of others and believe that others are envious of them; covet others’ relationships and possessions.

9. “Act out”: present arrogant, patronizing, contemptuous, risky, self-destructive behaviors or attitudes; when caught and confronted, blame bad behavior on other people and burdensome circumstances, show little conscience or true remorse. 

Excerpted from:
http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/dsm-iv.html

* * * * *

Pathological Narcissism: So what ? 

Most people are somewhat narcissistic.

A healthy level of narcissism is a mature, balanced love of oneself coupled with a stable sense of self-worth and self-esteem. A healthy narcissist has a proportionate and realistic appraisal of his achievements and traits, and respects interpersonal boundaries.

Pathological narcissism is marked by an immature or impaired sense of one’s “true self” and situational reality that is exaggerated into a fraudulent, compensatory self-image

Down deep, a  pathological narcissist is usually deficient in self-esteem or self-worth.  He draws esteem and worth from the attention and admiration of others  Hence, the pathological narcissist is in constant pursuit of recognition and adoration, relishes the spotlight, and habitually preys his environment for more dependable admirers

Pathological narcissism is often a reaction to abnormal environments and situations (e.g., abuse, trauma, smothering, etc.), the repression of overwhelming memories and experiences, and the suppression of inordinately strong negative feelings (e.g., hurt, envy, anger, or humiliation).

Pathological narcissism is addictive and dysfunctional.  Pathological narcissists are obsessed by delusions of grandeur, superiority, and perfection – in life and love. As a result, they present themselves as image-obsessed (flawlessness) and very competitive (win at all cost).  They want to be at center stage, and when others might be merely motivated, they are strongly compelled. They are driven, relentless, tireless, and ruthless. They strive and fight and learn and climb and create and think and devise and design and conspire. They need to be in control of their relationships and environments.

Pathological narcissists are prone to self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors. They often abandon their commitments, careers, and relationships in mid-stream – losing interest, giving up, moving on.

Sub-consciously, a pathological narcissist may masochistically frustrate his deepest desires and drives; obstruct his own efforts; alienate his friends and sponsors; provoke figures in authority; actively (but unconsciously) seek, submit and relish mistreatment;  incite anger or rejection; engage in risky and improper behavior — all without conscience or true remorse.

Pathological Narcissism: What’s the prognosis?

While Narcissistic Personality Disorder can sometimes be moderated with psycho-therapy. the “prognosis is generally not good”.  That is, the likelihood of recidivism (i.e. repeat behavior) is very high and progressive (i.e.  it gets worse}. 

Excerpted from:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/narcissistic-personality-disorder/DS00652/DSECTION=symptoms

* * * * *

Best online medical summary of NPD – from the Mayo Clinic:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/narcissistic-personality-disorder/DS00652

* * * * *

Final shots; Obama, Sanford and Palin may be narcissists, but pundits shouldn’t be throwing around the term “Narcissistic Personality Disorder “ lightly.  It’s a real pathology.  Not to be taken lightly.

* * * * *