Fascinating article: You may wish to read the entire article particularly about social networks and happiness. http://www.wired.com/images/multimedia/magazine/1710/Wired_1710_Christakis.pdf
THE DESIRE TO FEEL GOOD So I hope I have persuaded you that there is such a thing as happiness, as Bentham believed. But Bentham also believed that happiness matters because it is what people want. Indeed he argued that in the end all actions are driven by the desire to feel good. So what does modern psychology say? Most psychologists believe two things about this. First they believe that we are always, often unconsciously, evaluating our situation and the elements in it. Second, we are attracted to the favorable elements and seek to have them or to prolong them; and we are repelled by the unfavorable elements and seek to avoid them or try to bring them to an end. Psychologists call this “approach and avoidance”. For operational purposes we often find that the difference between positive and negative feelings, whether measured by self-report or readings on the brain, is the best measure of happiness – on the basis of its correlation with other measures of happiness, or with behavior, or with physical health. It is easy to see why evolution would have selected beings who behaved like this. First we like what is good for our survival. We then seek what we like. And so it follows that we survive. The two psychological propositions are illustrated by two ingenious experiments of John Bargh. 11 His technique is to flash up good or bad words on a screen and observe how people respond. In one experiment he flashed the words subliminally and recorded the impact on the subject’s mood. The good words improved mood and the bad ones worsened mood – showing the passive nature of the evaluation process. He next examined approach and avoidance behavior by making the words on the screen legible but asking the subject to remove them with a lever. For group A the words were to be removed in the natural way by pulling for the good words and pushing for the bad. But group B had to pull for the bad words and push for the good which is unnatural. They did the job much more slowly. So there is an evaluative faculty in all of us which tells us how happy we are and then directs our actions towards improving our happiness. From the various possibilities open to us, we choose whichever combination of activities will make us feel best. This is not a vacuous statement, as is sometimes alleged. It means quite specifically that if a person likes A and B, and the cost of A in terms of B rises, the person will choose less A. This so-called law of demand has been confirmed throughout human life and among rats. 12 It is not uniquely human but probably applies to most living things, all of which have a tendency to pursue their own good as best they can. In lower animals the process is unconscious, and even in humans it is mostly so, since the conscious brain could not possibly handle the whole of this huge problem. However we do have a massive frontal cortex which other mammals lack, and that is where the conscious part of the balancing operation is performed. Bargh and Chartrand (1999). Shizgal and Conover (1996).
The way you process information may affect the way you “listen” and “respond”. Understanding your style of learning and responding may be key to developing enhanced communication skills. We are seeking to develop a “ golden brain ”. That is, a brain that is balanced and self-aware of its strengths and limitations.
http://www.ewu.edu/groups/studentlife/Active_Listeners%20.pdf Active Listening Techniques When engaging in active listening, or in any form of communication, it is important to remember that there is more to it than just the spoken part. There are many non-verbal behaviors to listening and communicating. Table adapted from The Poynter Institue, 2002. Type of Action Purpose of Action Implement Action Examples Encouraging 1. To convey interest in what the speaker is discussing 2. To keep the person talking Don’t agree or disagree. Use noncommittal words with positive tone of voice 1. “I see…” 2. “Yes…” Restating or Clarification 1. To show that you are listening and understand 2. To check the listeners perception of the speaker’s message Restate the other’s basic ideas, emphasizing the facts. 1. “If I understand, your idea is…” 2. “In other words, this is…” Reflecting or paraphrasing 1. To show that you are listening and understand 2. To show your understanding of their feelings Restate the other’s basic feelings 1. “You feel that…” 2. “You must feel angry that…” Summarizing 1. To pull important ideas, facts, etc. together. 2. To establish a basis for further discussion 3. To review progress Restate, reflect, and summarize major ideas and feelings 1. “These seem to be the key ideas…” 2. “If I understand you, you feel that…”
Chapter 5: Listening & Responding Skills
Why listen? To spread joy!! Other-directed communication = personal happiness
Does brain dominance affect the way we communicate? Take the quiz below and self-assess your dominant side. http://www.web-us.com/BRAIN/braindominance.htm
Listening versus hearing <ul><li>Have you ever heard of the expression, “He’s all talk?” </li></ul><ul><li>How many fights have you had wherein a significant person claims that you don’t know how to listen? Sometimes, you need to talk less and listen more. </li></ul><ul><li>Try it out for the shock value! </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine just how surprised people will be when you choose to listen to them this time around. </li></ul>
How to be an Active Listener Come in from the dark ! <ul><li>D on’t interrupt – average is 12 seconds. </li></ul><ul><li>A sk questions ( but don’t overdo it) and acknowledge </li></ul><ul><li>the other “ Aha”, “I see”, “I understand.” </li></ul><ul><li>R espect the other by genuine interest and Repeat it! </li></ul><ul><li>“ Did I understand you to say?” </li></ul><ul><li>K eep eye contact. </li></ul>
“ Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. In those transparent ,moments we know other peoples joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own.” ~ Fritz Williams
Active Listening Activity http://www.ewu.edu/groups/studentlife/Active_Listeners%20.pdf