NOTICING OTHERS’ FEELINGS
helps me know what to expect
PREVIOUS: For Protection
REMINDER: Use Acronyms Page for abbrevs.
2. INDIVIDUAL NEEDS – cont.
d. To PREDICT BEHAVIOR
• Psychological research has shown that Emotion shapes behavior, perhaps because strong Es reinforce experiences. Knowing how someone feels will help us evaluate how they will act.
From AREK: We all have a chronic or habitual emotional state that determines our fundamental & relatively constant behavior patterns. When we experience success or failure in our activities, emotional levels move up or down accordingly, but eventually re-balance, returning to our personal base line
AREK’s site includes an emotions chart which reflects the same viewpoint as in the ‘What about Emotions, #2’ post. Here he numerically grades each E. by intensity, from -0- at the bottom of the Unhappiness Domain to -4.0- at the top of the Happiness Domain. While no chart can ever be complete, this type can be used as a general guide to understand & predict human behavior in all it’s complexity, so we can make better choices in our relationships
ATTITUDES (Att) are someone’s consistent evaluation of people, objects, & ideas, based on TEA: T – cognitive, E – affective or A – behavioral. Explicit Att are opinions that people consciously endorse & can be easily described, whereas implicit Att are involuntary, usually unconscious & so uncontrollable. Att can predict behavior if we know which of these 2 categories someone is coming from in a given situation
T.O.M. –Theory of Mind– acknowledges our natural capacity to understand internal states such as beliefs, feelings, desires, hope & intentions. We can create a mental picture of our own Es & reactions, which helps us understand that other people’s behavior is caused by their inner feelings, beliefs or intentions. This allows us to anticipate & predict some of what to expect from them
• We know that whatever goes on in the mind of
others is not visible, so our images remain a “theory” that we create. T.O.M. is not a form of mind-reading but more like putting oneself in someone else’s shoes. EXP: Even as a kid, you ‘understood’ that your sister would be sad, furious & frustrated with you IF you tore up her favorite dress! And you could also predict how she’d react – yell, hit you, tell your parents, get back at you later – depending on her personality
CHILDREN: A group of Child Psychologists made a systematic examination of emotions & story themes in children’s play to see if the combination could provide useful information about their bad behavior (acting-out). In play scenarios made up by 4 & 5-year-olds, expressions of emotional distress & destruction (aggression, personal injury, unusually negative responses for their age…) correlated with their actual behavior problems, as rated by parents & teachers.
SALES: Marketing studies have used emotional measurements to see if they could link people’s purchasing decisions & capacity for persuasion with emotional experience. They concluded that combining the knowledge of people’s emotional responses with other key measures gives a fuller understanding of consumers’ true basis for their choices, providing companies with an effectively tool for connecting with customers. Es play a vital role in behavioral decisions & can account for 70% of the respondents’ purchasing intentions
ACoAs: Again, the type of Predicting referred to here is NOT mind-reading, which is based on our assumptions, projections & wishes. Rather, it is the ability to observe what others are telling us about themselves – which they do all the time – AND recognizing what our emotions are telling us about them.
• As we get to know someone we can make general but legitimate assumptions about how they’re going to react when they’re in various emotional states & social situations. It’s up to us to stay awake.
Children figure out how to do this at an early age by watching their parents & others around them, so they know what’s expected of them, how to respond & how to protect themselves. BUT we were taught to not trust those observations – so we ignore what we know, to our detriment!
• Not only do ACoAs try to mind-read, but we also make the mistake of ‘predicting behavior’ based mainly on the way our parents treated us & each other – instead of responding to who someone actually is in the present. EXP:
— If we were constantly neglected as kids we expect everyone will ignore us now
— If we were always scapegoated in the family, we keep ‘seeing’ ways others marginalize us
— If we were usually punished for getting angry, we assume everyone else will also reject us when we express our anger….
➼ Yes, we can easily find people who are just like our family, often choosing & then staying with them because we can act out the Negative Prediction of always & inevitably being abandoned.
However, these are not the only possibilities. There are respectful, caring people in the world as well. We have a right to be with them – so believe in that right & keep looking!
✶ Relations are like fish – it’s up to us to pick the ones with the least bones!
NEXT: Purpose – Decisions