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Malcolm Gladwell Suggests idea of 'thin-slicing' - making decisions based on very small amounts of information. But to do it, you need a lot of experience on the subject - a lot of time thinking/worrying about it.

So parents of 18 year old children tend to be very good at it; 18 year old drivers tend to be very bad at it

Job interviews a very bad way to pick candidate - most people greatly over-estimate their ability to successfully predict someone's suitability for a job (and so they usually end up picking the candidate most like themselves)

John Gottman's Love Lab in Seattle as an example of how complex situations can be understood with rapid concentrated inspection. Predicting divorce is based on pattern recognition - specifically a pattern of negative emotions logged in an hour of video gives 95% success at predicting whether marriage will end in divorce - even 15 minutes enough for 90% success.

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Gottman himself claimed he could get a good sense of the state of a relationship just by overhearing restaurant conversations - by focusing on what he calls the Four Horsemen: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism and contempt. Contempt being the most destructive because it attempts to put the other person on a lower level than you.

A marriage has an identifiable and stable pattern. Predicting divorce is pattern recognition. Gottman said people are in one of two states: they are either in positive sentiment override, which is when you see things in best possible light "Oh she's just irritable bc she's had a tough day"; or in negative sentiment override, when they draw lasting conclusions about the other. Even when spouse does something positive, it's seen as a selfish person doing something good for manipulative purposes. Once couples start on that course, ninety four per cent continue going down: they can't correct it.

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A related study looked at newlyweds and then later checked which ones had failed - what happened most often was that when one partner asked for credit, the other would refuse to give it. Whereas the happier couples, the spouse would hear the request and say "You're right" or some other sign of support

One study gave students 3 10 second videos of a teacher - with the sound turned off - and they had no trouble rating the teacher. Even when the clips were cut to 2 seconds the ratings stayed the same. And when they compared the snap judgements of teacher effectiveness with the evaluations given by students of the same teachers after a full semester, the evaluations were essentially the same

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Surveyed doctors who got sued for malpractice - turned out to have very little to do with how many mistakes a doctor makes, and much more to do with how they're treated, on a personal level, by their doctor. The 'good' doctors spent a 3 minutes (on average) more time with their patients, but the main difference was way they spoke to them. The 'dominant' doctors who talked down to their patients, were the ones who got sued.

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Priming: scrambled sentence test where unscramble 5 word sentences. But each sentence includes a word referring to elderly. After the 'test' told to walk down hall. Those who had been 'primed' with old people words, walked slower down the hall. Pioneered by psychologist John Bargh. Other examples he devised included words associated with aggression or politeness, and then tested how long they would wait to interrupt someone they'd been told to talk to (but who was chatting to someone else). The aggressive primed waited average 5 minutes; the polite primed never interrupted at all, even if 'chat' lasted 15 minutes. Other priming included asking people to imagine they were professor or rubbish collector before taking IQ test; getting Asian-Am girls to sit maths test after reminding one half that Asians good at maths, and the other half that girls can't do math.

More books on Mind and Memory

These expts suggest that what we think of as free will is largely an illusion. Most of the time we operate on auto pilot, and what we think or do is a lot more susceptible to outside influence than we realize.

Our attitudes to race and gender operate on two levels. We have conscious attitudes: what we choose to believe. And we have uncs attitudes, which we are often unaware of. Our uncs brain silently absorbs and processes all the data we have from experience - people we've met, films we've seen, books and mags we've read etc, and it forms an opinion. And that opinion can be opposite of our stated cs values. 50,000 African Ams have taken test which measures this (called Race IAT Test). Half of them have stronger positive opinions of white people than with blacks. Not because they're self-hating, but bc they're surrounded every day with cultural messages linking white with good.

Turns out that you can influence your uncs mind here. A student tested himself on the IAT every day, then one day suddenly found his white bias had shifted to favouring blacks. Turned out he was an athlete, and he'd spent the morning watching the sprints on the Olympic Games. Can achieve same thing by reading about Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela before you sit test.

Executive choice: a tall man is invariably chosen - we have a sense of what a leader is supposed to look like, and height is so impt that when someone fits that, we simply become blind to other considerations. Measurable: recent study compared 6 foot men with 5 foot 5 inch but with identical qualifications, and found $5000 pa wage gap, which, if you compound that over a 40 year career, works out to millions of dollars advantage. And, it also helps explain why so many mediocre men find way to top.

More books on Work

Car salesmen as ultimate thin-slicers (well, successful car salesmen anyway). Like anyone, they can't help but make a first judgement when someone walks in the door. But they have to over-ride that simply bc so many potential customers are not what they seem. The scruffy looking farmer may be 'all cashed up' and ready to buy from someone who treats him with respect.

Hospital emergency room trying to deal with people with severe chest pains who might be having a heart attack. Analysts overwhelmed bc trying to take into account all possible risk factors. But it turned out there were only things that were actually relevant then and there ECG reading + fluid in lungs + low blood pressure. All other risk factors like smoking, lack exercise, over 60, overweight were relevant as long term risks, but not immediate.

Jam sample stall - if gave people choice of 6 different jams, 30% bought one; if given 24 to choose from, only 3% will buy - too much choice paralyses

Packaging affects taste - if you take a can of 7-Up and change label to add 15% more yellow to the green, people will report that it tastes of lemon or lime












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Reputation Control .............................................................................Client William Flew