You meet someone on a plane and have a fantastic conversation. You talk about really personal stuff. And it feels just fine. You go to see a financial adviser and you end up putting your money in some fund because the person just seems trustworthy. Mostly your judgements are going to be spot on.

The following is from Michael Shermer writing an article about the book ‘Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell. And Shermer tells us that:

‘Evaluating whether someone is trustworthy or not, or whether someone is lying or telling the truth, is more accurately done by intuitive feel in a brief interaction than by subjecting them to a polygraph test. The best predictor of how well a psychotherapist or marriage counselor will work for you is the impression you have of that person in the first five minutes of the first session. University of Washington psychologist and marriage counselor John Gottman, who has reversed the process, can predict with 95% accuracy whether a marriage will last or not after observing the couple for only one hour. Contempt for one’s spouse, for example, is a powerful predictor of a doomed marriage, and rolling one’s eyes when one’s spouse is speaking, is a proxy for contempt. A lot can be read in the blink of an eye.’

Kind of interesting. Sometimes I do an activity, occasionally in training programs and occasionally with someone who has come to talk with me in my role as mentor or therapist. I ask them to ask me 5 questions…any questions. And to decide from my answers if I am someone they would like to talk to about the intimate details of their life. And whatever people decide, it’s a good choice. Because opening yourself up to someone is important and needs to be done with thought. Or possibly intuition. Possiby speedy thought? Whatever it is, it seems to be real. And worth paying attention to.

Shermer writes that in reading ‘Blink’ he discovered that:

The best predictor of whether a physician will be sued for malpractice is not the doctor’s training, credentials, or track record, but a subjective evaluation by observers of short clips of conversation between doctor and patient. Physicians who seem warm and empathetic traits that can be sensed in a blink are less likely to be sued by their patients, regardless of the number of errors they commit. As one lawyer explained it β€œin all the years I’ve been in this business, I’ve never had a potential client walk in and say, ‘I really like this doctor, and I feel terrible about doing it, but I want to sue him.’”

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