Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Initial Attitudes

Remuneration isn't the only thing that makes people happy. Research by Elizabeth Dunn and Mike Norton, for example, shows that companies can make their employees happier by letting them decide which charity receives corporate philanthropy. This is not achievable with a gaslighter. They know that confusion disrupts and weakens people, so they continuously do things to uproot your feelings of stability. At the end of the day, you have no choice but to turn to them for the stability you want. One thing that is particularly interesting about gaslighters is that they will go to any length to convince you that someone else is a liar. By convincing you that someone you love is a liar, they are making you question your reality. After all, why would they call the person a liar if that weren't the case? Well, they can because they are a liar. Telling you other people are liars is a manipulation technique that makes you turn to them for the truth. They become the only one you have to turn to for correct information--which is really their correct information that is wrong. The more familiar you are with the techniques used by gaslighters to gain control and dominance over their victims, the faster you will fish them out in a group of people so that you do not fall victim to their trap. It is understandable that many people in our society do not want to get old because they do not have large families who can care for them when they are unable to attend to their own needs. It is not very enjoyable to spend the last years of your life in a nursing home. You can empathize with your mother and try to think now of what you would do if she reaches an old age. If you hear your mother's wishes now while she can still think clearly and while you can talk about it at a rather lengthy distance from her anticipated death, things will be much easier later on. Special Forms of Communication It is relatively easy to work with patients who can verbalize their needs, wishes, and feelings. We have, however, an increasing number of patients on respirators who are unable to speak. With the ever-increasing number of old people we will also be faced with more stroke patients, who survive but are unable to write a note or express their needs verbally.

Those are the patients who need our very special attention. We will have to remember that they are often able to hear, feel a touch, and that they can also give us cues and signals which we have to receive and comprehend, if we are to maintain a meaningful and not just a mechanical relationship with them. And if you want to motivate people to save more, you should remind them often and set goals, along with making participation in company retirement programs the default. Capturing the ambition behind all of these efforts, Prasad Setty, who leads the people analytics group within People Operations at Google, said: We make thousands of people decisions every day--who we should hire, how much we should pay them, who we should promote, who we should let go of. What we try to do is bring the same level of rigor to people decisions that we do to engineering decisions. Our mission is to have all people decisions be informed by data. Organizations should follow in Google's footsteps. But this is easier said than done. A high-level partner in one company I worked with told me that his organization could never use the word experiment. Doing so, he said, would suggest managers didn't know what they were doing. That, I told him, was exactly the point! People think they know what they are doing--based on a mixture of intuition, best practice, tradition, and industry norms. Lying is part of human nature. Everyone has told at least one lie in their lifetime. Remember that time you lied to your friends to get out of a hangout that had been planned and agreed on eons ago? Some people lie to get out of situations they do not want to be in. Others lie to get in a situation they want to be in. The point is that people lie all the time. In fact, some people lie more than others. While some people lie with malicious intent, some tell lies to avoid hurting another person's feelings.

For instance, if your best friend of many years suddenly confesses love for you, you may feel inclined to tell them that you share their feelings even if you don't. However, lying can be detrimental to your relationships, so it is best not to lie at all. There are many languages the patient can use in communicating his needs to us. The very young ones talk to us in a nonverbal symbolic language, eg, through drawings and in play. If a young patient shoots his very ill roommates down with an imagined pistol--while desperately waiting for a cadaver kidney for a transplant--he may express his urgent desire that his roommate hurry up and die so he may be the recipient of one of his kidneys. Perhaps the neediest group--usually older children and adolescents, but also adults who are afraid to die--use a symbolic verbal language. If a young terminally ill child, alone in a hospital room, inside an oxygen tent, asks her nurse, What is going to happen when I am inside this oxygen tent and a fire breaks out? It is imperative that we train hospital personnel in these communications. The patient's awareness of his body processes, sensed consciously or unconsciously, is very important. To give an example, a man who subsequently died on an operating room table of a brain tumor, when on Rorschach testing, showed repetitive percepts of smoldering, burning coal, and snow. This was his expression of his symbolic language. I think it is important that we learn the symbolic language of our critically ill, terminally ill, and handicapped patients because they tell us a lot about the patient's own concepts of death and about his own awareness of what is happening in his body. But only evidence can tell. Randomized controlled trials are the gold standard of evidence in medicine, the sciences, and increasingly in economics, sociology, and psychology (which has been employing the experimental technique in the laboratory for a long time). We all are thankful that the drugs we take to combat a migraine or lower our blood pressure have been tested in clinical trials, with treatment and control groups. Not only can organizations avail themselves of the same techniques, allowing them to fine-tune what works and design processes that lead to better people decisions, it is increasingly damning when they don't bother. The power of data was jarringly brought to my attention by the students at Harvard Kennedy School. One day, I came to my academic dean's office to find a group of them camped out in front of my door. They needed to see me urgently, they said. They were concerned about the lack of women faculty.

This was not a new concern, but given how much of my recent research had focused on how to equalize the playing field I found myself in an odd position. Even as I explained the progress we had made, I felt defensive. Lies can vary in severity. Some are little white lies, some are serious, and some are sinister. Surprisingly, many people are bad at detecting when they are being lied to. After hundreds of studies on deception researchers found that the average person can only effectively detect lying 54 percent of the time. At first consideration, this may seem pretty impressive. But it becomes less impressive when you realize that 50 percent of the detection rate occurs by happenstance. Plus, if people lie a lot, how do you know when you are being lied to by someone you know or possibly trust? Unless you are naturally psychic or have some magical power, there is no outright way to tell when you are being lied to. Obviously, it is difficult to measure and distinguish behavioral differences between liars and honest individuals. Research has been conducted to try to uncover different ways one can detect a lie. The best example perhaps is drawings by children which sometimes show ahead of time when metastases begin to develop and we have to learn to read and interpret these drawings in order to be able to communicate to them. How do you handle the patient who is near dying, but is unable to talk due to a stroke? I try to talk to him anyway and give him symbols or signals for yes and no answers. If he is able to write, I let him write out his answers. There are many people who can learn to write with a pencil in their mouth or who can at least read with a talking article when they are no longer able to communicate verbally. All these tools have to be used with patients who are unable to verbalize normally. How good is the psychological impact of nonverbal symbolic language on the dying patient? When do you know just how much to involve the family members in the patient's nonverbal symbolic language?

If a family is willing to learn the communications of the dying patient, especially the nonverbal symbolic language, I will give them all my time and attention teaching them how to read the patient and how to be better able to communicate. How can you help an aphasic patient who is dying? By statistical necessity, I explained, change was slow: we only hired about five new faculty members a year on average. I remember running impromptu calculations during the meeting, figuring out how long it would take to reach gender parity if we hired only women. A long time. So I dug deeper. Much to my surprise, I realized that it was not primarily the number of female faculty or some abstract concept of gender equality among our faculty that concerned these students. Rather, it was the lack of role models for female students. They did not care that much about faculty statistics, but they wanted to see more women leaders--in the classroom, in seminars, at conferences, on panels, behind the podium, teaching, speaking, researching, tutoring, and advising. It turns out we had never paid attention to the gender breakdown of the people visiting the Kennedy School. On any given day, there are a multitude of talks and discussions taking place across campus, typically with a lead speaker or lead panelists. These experts--political, civil society, business, and academic leaders from around the world--were invited by different individuals, research centers, programs, institutes, and study groups. While there is no definitive sign to look out for, many helpful indicators of lying have been discovered by researchers. Fortunately, though, paying attention to body language while someone is talking may give you some very helpful insight. Even if you cannot figure out what it is that they are lying about, at the very least, you will detect that they are telling a lie. Ultimately, detecting a lie boils down to trusting your instincts. By knowing the signs to look out for, you may master the art of spotting falsehoods. You can't rely on their body language alone because some people don't give it off at all, so you will need to look at other things that serve as indicators of lying. Change in usual body language If you are analyzing a person's body language to figure out if they are lying to you, first make sure that you know their normal body mannerisms.

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