Saturday, January 16, 2010

Is "Thinking" Or "Feeling" More Persuasive?

Identical messages can have different impacts depending on whether they are couched as "I think" or "I feel," says Stanford Graduate School of Business Marketing Professor Zakary Tormala.

Stanford Graduate School of Business  — Suppose someone says, "I think it's the right thing to do." Or "I feel it's the right thing to do." It's the same thing, right?

Well, not exactly. Ask Zakary L. Tormala, a Stanford Graduate School of Business associate professor of marketing, who has found that substantively identical messages can have a different persuasive impact depending on whether they are couched in terms of their source's thoughts or feelings.

"Even without changing your actual arguments, you can make subtle framing changes by saying 'I think' or 'I feel' to make your message more persuasive," said Tormala, who studied volunteers with Nicole D. Mayer of the University of Illinois at Chicago. "We find that people who are emotionally oriented respond more favorably to messages that begin with 'I feel,' whereas cognitively oriented or thinking-oriented individuals respond more favorably to messages that begin with 'I think,' even when everything else that follows is exactly the same."

In one study, after determining whether participants tend to rely more on their emotions or thoughts in making decisions, each person received a message with several arguments in favor of blood donation. These arguments were identical except that they were framed in terms of the source's thoughts or feelings.

For instance, one message, entitled "My Feelings About Blood Donation," started with, "I feel that donating blood is one of the most important contributions I can make to society." It went on to include several more arguments framed in terms of the source's feelings — for example, "I feel that blood donation is the most fantastic thing I can do with 30 minutes of my free time."

In a different condition, the message was entitled "My Thoughts About Blood Donation," and opened with, "I think donating blood is one of the most important contributions I can make to society," and went on to frame the exact same arguments in terms of the source's thoughts — "I think blood donation is the most fantastic thing I can do with 30 minutes of my free time."

Aside from the use of the word "feel" or "think" throughout the message, the content of the arguments was identical, yet those more emotionally oriented were more impressed with (and persuaded by) the "feel" arguments, while those more cognitively oriented liked the "think" arguments better. These are group results, of course; no subject read both the "think" and "feel" arguments.

Tormala and Mayer also found differences between the sexes. "Generally speaking, women tend to self-identify as being more emotionally attuned than do men, and this plays out in persuasion," said Tormala. "In one study, we found that women were more persuaded by an ad for a new movie when it quoted reviews beginning with 'I feel.' Men, however, were more persuaded by the same basic ad when it quoted reviews beginning with 'I think.'" Tormala warned against interpreting these findings as having anything to do with intelligence or intellect. "Our studies simply show that people have different preferences for persuasive arguments that appear to reflect their source's thoughts or feelings."

Ultimately, these "think versus feel framing effects," as Tormala calls them, could be applied to promote different brands or products more effectively. IBM, for example, has long had a slogan of "Think," so consumers might have mostly cognitive or rational associations with the brand. On the other hand, Tormala said, Apple computer ads tend to emphasize creativity, trying to make a more emotional connection with consumers. "Although we didn't test this specific hypothesis, our findings suggest that think and feel messages might be differentially effective in promoting these two brands."

Thanks to Dave Murphy /Stanford Graduate School of Business / 10-2009

What A Paradox

Read & Think

1. When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it? (To be given a thought)

2. If the "black box" flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn't the whole airplane made out of that stuff? (Very good thinking)

3. Who copyrighted the copyright symbol? (Who Knows?)

4. Can you cry under water? (Let me try)

5. Why do people say, "You've been working like a dog" when dogs just sit around all day? (I think they meant something else)

6. Why are the numbers on a calculator and a phone reversed? (God knows)

7. Do fish ever get thirsty? (Let me ask and tell)

8. Can you get cornered in a round room? (By one s eyes)

9. Why do birds not fall out of trees when they sleep? (Tonight I will stay and watch)

10. If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from? (No comments)

11. What should one call a male ladybird? (No comments)

12. If a person suffered from amnesia and then was cured would they remember that they forgot? (Can somebody help)

13. Can you blow a balloon up under water? (Yes u can)

14. Why is it called a "building" when it is already built? (Strange isn't it)

15. If you were traveling at the speed of sound and you turned on your radio would you be! Able to hear it? (Got to think scientifically)

16. If you're traveling at the speed of light and you turn your headlights on, what happens?

17. Why is it called a TV set when there's only one? (Very nice)

18. Why do most cars have speedometers that go up to at least 130 when you legally can't go that fast on any road?

19. If drink & drive is not allowed why the hell they have parking in Bars?

20. Why is the round pizza kept in a square box?

21. If money doesn't grow on trees, why do banks have branches?

22. Why doesn't glue stick on its bottle?


Baccha Kiska?

Scene: Husband and Wife in court getting a divorce.
The problem: who should get custody of the child????

Wife jumped up and said: "Your Honour! I brought the child into this world with pain and labour so it should be in my custody."

The judge turns to Husband and says "What do you have to say in your defence?"

The husband sat for a while contemplating then slowly rose.

"Your Honour. If I put a dollar in a vending machine and a Pepsi comes out, whose Pepsi is it?
the machine's or mine?"

Yeh sunke...Wife replied : "Judge sahab...bartan mera...doodh bhi mera...aur usme dahi jamane ke liye 2 boond daalne se dahi bana to fir wo dahi kiska..? mera ya do boond daalne wale ka"

Husband replied : "Typewriter mein kagaz Maine dala, keys daba kar mehnat Maine ki, fir chithi kiski? typewriter ki ya meri?"

Frustrated Judge (getting mad): "Abay saale agar Tu chithi haath se hi likh leta to yahan par custody 
ki naubat hi na aati."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Finding The Surprising Gaps In Your Self-Knowledge

Are you an independent person? Classic social psychology research suggests some people can't tell.

Why are people so blissfully ignorant of certain aspects of their personalities?

Take an everyday example: there are some infuriating people who are always late for appointments. A few of these people explain it by saying they are 'laid-back', while others seem unaware that they're always late.

For laid-back people, their lateness is a part of their personality, they are aware of it and presumably not worried about appearing unconscientious. For the unaware it's almost as if they don't realize they're always late. How is that possible?

It's probably because they've never noticed or paid attention to the fact that they are always late so they never learn to think of themselves as lacking conscientiousness. Or so suggests a psychological theory describing how we think about ourselves called self-schema theory.

This theory says that we have developed 'schemas', like internal maps of our personalities, which we use to understand and explain our current and future behavior to ourselves, e.g. I'm always on time for meetings so I'm a conscientious person.

Are You An Independent Person?

However schema theory also suggests that these maps have uncharted areas, leaving people with certain blind spots in their self-knowledge. This aspect of self-schemas was investigated in a classic social psychology study by Professor Hazel Markus (Markus, 1977) who examined not conscientiousness but whether people thought they had independent or dependent personalities.

To do this she gave 48 female participants questionnaires which assessed their self-perceived independence. It asked whether they were individualists or conformists and whether they were leaders or followers. From their answers the women were sorted into three groups: independents, dependents and a third group that showed no clear pattern.

This third group that showed no clear pattern was labeled 'aschematic', i.e. having no schema about independence or otherwise — for one reason or another it was a hole in their self-knowledge. Crucially, though, this group was only arrived at after discarding the people who thought the dependence/independence dimension was important but happened to think they were independent in some situations but not in others. Only those who truly didn't care either way were labeled aschematic.

So there were some people who appeared not to notice or even care about their independence (or otherwise) while others did notice it. But Markus wanted to see if people were just saying these things, or whether they actually behaved as though they were true. To find out she invited the same participants back to the lab a few weeks later to give them a few more tests.

This time she flashed up words on a screen, some of which were related to being independent, some dependent and some neither. It emerged that participants who had said they were independent endorsed more words associated with being independent and did so quicker. Dependents did the same with words related to being dependent but those who were aschematic showed no preference either way.

In further tests those who had identified themselves as independent remembered more examples of independent behavior as well as resisting an experimental suggestion that they weren't independent. The same pattern was seen with the dependents. The aschematics, however, could remember few examples demonstrating either dependence or independence and could easily be swayed by experimental suggestion towards believing they were dependent or independent. It seemed they simply hadn't been paying any attention to situations which marked them out as either dependent or independent people.

Building Self-Awareness

What these results confirm is that the three groups of participants did actually think in different ways about the idea of independence. Some believed they were independent, some not and the others didn't know or, apparently, care. In some ways the aschematics are the most fascinating category because they are the people that seemed not to realize whether or not they were independent.

And we all have these aschematic areas in our self-knowledge, traits which are blind spots to us but are perfectly obvious to others. Unfortunately the only way for us to find out is to ask other people, but this may prove difficult or embarrassing. Still, while our hidden traits might be negative, they might also be positive: people are sometimes surprisingly unaware of their charm, warmth or conscientiousness.

Whether or not we pluck up the courage, this research reveals the fascinating and unnerving idea that some aspects of our own personalities may be completely mysterious to us only because we never bothered to take any notice of them.

Thanks to PsyBlog

Get Motivated!

Find the Drive You Need to Succeed


How self-motivated do you feel? And how hard do you push yourself to get things done?

Wanting to do something and motivating yourself to do it are two different things. So, what's the difference between those who never reach their goals, year after year, and those who achieve one goal after another? Often, it's self-motivation.

Self-motivation is the force that keeps pushing us to go on - it's our internal drive to produce, develop, and achieve. When you think you're ready to quit something, or you just don't know how to start, self-motivation is what pushes you forward.


With self-motivation, you'll learn and grow - regardless of the specific situation. That's why it's so fundamentally important for achieving your goals, realizing your dreams, and succeeding.

How To Boost Your Self-Motivation

Self-motivation is complex. It's linked to how much initiative you show in setting challenging goals for yourself; your belief that you have the skills and abilities needed to achieve those goals; and your expectation that if you put in enough hard work, you will succeed (or at least be "in the running", if it's a competitive situation).

Four factors are necessary to build the strongest levels of self-motivation:

  1. Self-confidence and self-efficacy.
  2. Positive thinking.
  3. Focus and strong goals.
  4. A motivating environment.

By working on all of these together, you should quickly improve your self-motivation. Let's look at each of these factors individually.

1. Self-Confidence and Self-Efficacy

Part of being self-motivated is having good levels of self-assurance, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. More on these below!

Being highly self-assured means you set challenging goals for yourself and it also makes you more resilient when you encounter setbacks. If you don't believe in yourself, you'll be much more likely to think, "I knew I couldn't do this" instead of "This one failure isn't going to stop me!"

Albert Bandura, a psychologist from
Stanford University
, defined self-efficacy as a belief in our own ability to succeed, and in our ability to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. This belief has a huge impact on your approach to goal setting and on your choices as you work toward those goals.

According to Bandura's research, people with high self-efficacy tend to view difficult goals as a challenge, whereas people with low self-efficacy are likely to view the same goals as being beyond their abilities, and might not even attempt to achieve them. Self-efficacy also contributes to the amount of effort a person puts into a goal in the first place, and how much he or she perseveres despite setbacks.

By developing a general level of self-confidence in yourself, you will not only believe you can succeed, but you'll also recognize and enjoy the successes you've already had. That, in turn, will inspire you to build on those successes. The momentum created by self-confidence is hard to beat.

Take these steps to build your sense of self-assuredness, self-efficacy and self-confidence:

  • Reflect on the achievements in your life. Take pride in them.
  • Examine your strengths, so that you understand what you can build on.
  • Determine what other people see as your strengths and key capabilities.
  • Set achievable goals for yourself, work to achieve them, and enjoy that achievement.
  • Seek out mentors and other people who display the competencies, skills, and attribute you want to develop, and learn from them.

As you begin to recognize how much you've already achieved - and understand how much potential you have - you'll develop the confidence you need to set goals and achieve the things you desire. The more you look for reasons to believe in yourself, the easier it will be to find ways to motivate yourself.

2. Positive Thinking, and Positive Thinking About the Future

"Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today." - Author Unknown

Positive thinking is closely related to self-confidence as a factor in self-motivation. It's important to look at things positively, especially when things aren't going as planned and you're ready to give up.

If you think that things are going to go wrong, or that you won't succeed, this can influence things in such a way that your predictions come true. This is particularly the case if you need to work hard to achieve success, or if you need to persuade others to support you in order to succeed. In these situations, your thoughts can have a major influence on whether you succeed or fail, so make sure those thoughts are "on your side."

Positive thinking also helps you think about an attractive future that you want to realize. When you expect positive results, your choices will be more positive, and you'll be less likely to leave outcomes to fate or chance. Having a vivid picture of success, combined with positive thinking, helps you bridge the gap between wanting something, and going out to get it.

To apply "the power of positive thinking", do the following:

  • Become aware of your thoughts, positive and negative. Write down these down throughout the day in a diary or log book.
  • Challenge the truth of your negative thoughts, rationally and objectively. Where they're wrong, replace them with positive ones.
  • Create a strong, vivid and enjoyable picture of what it will be like to achieve your goals.
  • Develop affirmations or statements that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day. These statements will remind you of what you want to achieve, and why you will achieve it.
  • Practice positive thinking until you automatically think about yourself and the world in a positive way, every day.

3. Strong Goals, and Focus

As we've said above, a key part of building self-motivation is to set strong goals. These give you focus, a clear sense of direction, and the self-confidence that comes from recognizing your own achievement.

First, determine your direction through effective goal setting.

When you set a goal, you make a promise to yourself. Part of the strength of this is that it gives you a clear direction; part is that you've made this promise to yourself, and you'll want to keep this promise; and part is that it's a challenge, and it's fun to try to meet that challenge!

But don't set just any goal. According to leading researcher Edwin Locke, your goal should have the following characteristics:

  • Clarity - Effective goals are clear, measurable, specific, and based on behavior, not outcomes.
  • Challenge - Goals should be difficult enough to be interesting, but not so difficult that you can't reach them.
  • Commitment - Goals should be attainable, and should be relevant - that is, they should contribute in a significant way to the major objectives you're trying to achieve.
  • Regularity of Feedback - Set your goals in such a way that you can monitor your progress regularly. This helps you maintain your sense of momentum and enthusiasm, and enjoy your progress towards those goals.
  • Sufficient Respect for Complexity - If the goal involves complex work, make sure that you don't over-commit yourself. Complex work can take an unpredictably long time to complete, particularly if you have to learn how to do the task "on the job".

When you have a variety of goals, be sure to schedule your time and resources effectively. You can achieve the "focus" part of self-motivation by prioritizing effectively, and by establishing a schedule that will help you succeed. It doesn't make sense to work until you're exhausted, or to flit from one goal to another without fully achieving any.

By using tools like the Urgent/Important Matrix and the Action Priority Matrix (explained at Mind Tools), you can quickly and easily see how each goal activity fits into the bigger picture of your overall objectives. If you fully understand your priorities, you probably won't feel as pressured to do everything at once. This can reduce stress and help you to concentrate on the most important strategies.

4. Motivating Environment

The final thing to do to maximize motivation is to put yourself into an environment that supports and reinforces success, including surrounding yourself with people and resources that will feed your motivation to succeed. These are external factors - they'll help you get motivated from the outside, which is different from the internal motivation we've discussed so far. However, the more factors you have working for you, the better!

You can't rely on these "environmental" or outside elements alone to motivate you, but you can use them for extra support. Try the following:

  • Look for team work opportunities. Working in a team makes you accountable to others.
  • Ask your boss for specific targets and objectives that will help you measure your success.
  • Ask for assignments that you know you'll find interesting and exciting.
  • Set up some goals that you can easily achieve. Quick wins are great for getting you motivated!
  • Buddy up with people who you trust to be supportive, and ask them to help keep you accountable.

Try not to work by yourself too much. Balance the amount of time you work from home with time spent working with others.


When you start your self-motivation program, you may tend to rely heavily on these external factors. As you get more comfortable and confident with self-motivation, you'll probably use them only as needed, and for a little extra help.

Key Points:

Self-motivation doesn't come naturally to everyone. And even those who are highly self-motivated need some extra help every now and then!

Build your self-motivation by practicing goal-setting skills, and combining these with positive thinking, the creation of powerful visions of success, and the building of high levels of self-efficacy and self-confidence.

The attitude you adopt and your belief about your likelihood of success often predict whether or not you actually succeed. Set goals, and work hard to achieve them. Examine ways to improve your self-motivation, and regularly reassess your motivation levels. After all, if you work actively to keep your internal motivation high, you're much more likely to bring about your ideal future!


A Final Note from James

Thomas Edison, one of America's greatest inventors, famously said that "Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration." So when we aspire to be the very best we can be, what's certain is that we need to keep motivated, and work towards our goals.


Thanks to James Manktelow / mindTools

The Positive Side

"With every ending comes also a new beginning. With every disappointment comes a new opportunity for success. With every mistake comes a new and valuable lesson to be learned. With every setback comes a new position from which to move forward. With every frustration comes the energy to move to a higher level of achievement. With every challenge comes a new strategy for taking action. With every time of darkness comes the chance to make a real difference by shining your own special light. With every sadness comes a deeper appreciation for the joys that life can hold. With every difficulty comes a new level of strength to be gained. With every loss comes an increased determination to win. Though life has many pitfalls and problems, there is a positive side to every one of them. Choose to see and live that positive reality, and no problem will be a problem for long."
By Prof. Moiz Hussain / TIMS (The Institute of Mind Sciences).