<p>Don’t want to be a wet blanket but Maslow’s model doesn’t track brain research


Recent comment on Linked In discussion.  We like their group discussions as place to exchange ideas.

How Clients (and all of us) Think (or Not)


These findings come from medical treatment and doctor-patient research.  To borrow a phrase from politics, it’s not the evidence, stupid — it’s the narrative.

Clients easily accept results they like and nitpick the evidence that they don’t.

When clients encounter a finding they don’t like, they have a need to explain it away.

How clients process information — clients process it through their existing beliefs, and it’s hard to override those beliefs.

Naive Realism: Clients have the idea that whatever they believe, they believe it simply because it’s true.

Mental Model: A conceptual framework and mental representation about how something works that helps clients make sense of the world.  Once a mental model is in place, clients force new information to fit within it.

Clients presented with corrective information that runs counter to their pre-existing ideology will not update their beliefs accordingly, and the corrections actually strengthen misperceptions among the most strongly committed clients.

Sometimes it’s better to do less, but that doesn’t sit well with clients; it sounds like a loss of resolve or capitulating to uncomfortable feelings or circumstances.

First, recognize that the facts alone are unlikely to change client’s mind.  Also, clients get defensive when you tell them they’re wrong.

Presenting clients with facts in conflict with their belief spurs them to re-examine all the reasons they’ve held this belief in the first place, and this process of remembering serves to reinforce the initial belief, despite contrary evidence.

Belief is a very difficult thing to overturn, especially when the belief is held by clients with a vested interest in the old message.   Sometimes these investments are monetary, but they can also be personal, family or status related or altruistic.

When the evidence presents a messy, unsatisfying picture, clients are likely to take refuge in a more comforting story, even in the face of evidence that it’s wrong. 

New evidence must be framed in an appealing story, one that acknowledges the existing narrative.  

For truth to win, stakeholders must also have a shared vision of what the problem is, so they can mutually recognize the correct solution once it’s found…that means establishing agreement on what “effective” means.

And then there’s the question of what constitutes evidence.  Proponents of comparative effectiveness research look for answers in large-scale trials, but these studies hinge on statistics about large groups of clients.  Such number crunching rarely has the power of personal anecdote. “Studies have shown that powerful anecdotes trump data; clients see that again and again,”

Science works in data and statistics, but life and investing is made up of stories…they’re the way clients make sense of the evidence.

To take hold, evidence-based messages must also meet the human need for comfort and empowerment. “…uncertainty is very hard, so you need to find a way to reframe it so that you can say, ‘The good thing about this is…,’

Explanations that offer hope and empowerment will always hold more appeal than those that offer uncertainty or bad news, and when new evidence offers messy truths, they must be framed in a positive light if they’re to gain traction.   You can ask clients to give up ineffective interventions, but you must never ask them to abandon hope.



Great recent lecture on cosmology and physics – our favorite hobby science.  This is not busines


Great recent lecture on cosmology and physics – our favorite hobby science.  This is not business related, although there is a theoretical item which may be.  Hint: “frozen accidents.”  Could that describe business evolution now a days?  We were at this lecture and asked the first question on evolution.  His answer is actually quite ill-informed.  Having a Noble Prize in physics does not mean you know evolutionary biology.

Numbers Are Just "Recent" Man-Made Metaphors


edited from blog: Questionable Motives

“In the case of numbers, there is. And neuroscience is leading the way with evidence to back this up.

Does the concept of a quantity we call ‘five’ – a non-changing idea of a quantity greater than four but fewer than six – exist independently of any one person thinking about it, a concept that has been stable over time, across culture, independent of language? 

In other words, do numbers fall into the category of concepts that meet the definition of metaphysics: first principles that do not change over time, a universal notion that can be applied to particulars, and the teleological doctrine of causation that provides us with evidence of design or purpose in nature?

Numbers have often been used as an example of a metaphysical ‘objective reality’ existing beyond or externally to ’subjective experiences’ of this reality. But is this evidence actually true?

To start off with a bang, it appears that numbers are probably no more than about 10,000 years old! How do we know this?

When numbers are spread out evenly on a ruler, the scale is called linear. When numbers get closer as they get larger, the scale is called logarithmic. And it turns out the logarithmic approach is not exclusive to Amazonian Indians – we are all born conceiving numbers this way.

In 2004, Robert Siegler and Julie Booth at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania presented a similar version of the number-line experiment to a group of kindergarten pupils (average age: 5.8 years), first-graders (6.9) and second-graders (7.8). The results showed in slow motion how familiarity with counting moulds our intuitions. The kindergarten pupil, with no formal math education, maps out numbers logarithmically. By the first year at school, when the pupils are being introduced to number words and symbols, the curve is straightening. And by the second year at school, the numbers are at last evenly laid out along the line. There is a simple explanation. The logarithmic scale also takes account of perspective.

For example, if we see a tree 100 metres away and another 100 metres behind it, the second 100 metres looks shorter. Our understanding of the passing of time tends to be logarithmic. We often feel that time passes faster the older we get. Yet it works in the other direction too: yesterday seems a lot longer than the whole of last week.

…. If our brains can represent numbers only approximately, then how were we able to “invent” numbers in the first place?.

“The ‘exact number sense’ is a [uniquely] human property that probably stems from our ability to represent number very precisely with symbols,” concluded Nieder. Which reinforces the point that numbers are a cultural artefact, a man-made construct, rather than something we acquire innately.

And the oldest anthropological evidence for precise symbols for numbers only goes back about 10,000 years!”