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  • Hi everyone.

  • Gosh, I wish I could dance, but I can't,

  • and you really don't want me to.

  • So instead I thought I would talk a little today about how people think.

  • I'm fascinated by this question.

  • I'm a social psychologist,

  • which basically means I'm a professional people watcher.

  • So, this is what I do;

  • I try to figure out how humans think

  • and how we might be able to think better.

  • Here's something I noticed a few years ago about how I seem to think;

  • here's a typical week in my life,

  • which usually seems to revolve entirely around publishing papers.

  • So here I am,

  • at maximum of my artistic abilities as a stick figure,

  • going along at baseline,

  • and a paper gets accepted.

  • I get this rush, this blip of happiness,

  • and then I'm back to baseline by about lunch time.

  • (Laughter)

  • A few days later, a paper might get rejected,

  • and that feels pretty awful.

  • And I wait for that blip to end,

  • but somehow I just can't stop thinking about it.

  • Here's the craziest part:

  • even if another paper gets accepted the next day, well, that's nice,

  • but somehow I can't get that pesky rejection out of my head.

  • So, what is going on here?

  • Why does a failure seem to stick in our minds

  • so much longer than a success?

  • Together with my colleague Amber Boydstun in the Political Science Department,

  • I started thinking about this question,

  • this question of, "do our minds get stuck in the negatives?"

  • We all know intuitively

  • that there are different ways of thinking about things.

  • The same glass, the saying goes can be seen as half-full or half-empty.

  • There's a lot of research in the social sciences showing

  • that depending on how you describe the glass to people,

  • as half-full or half-empty,

  • it changes how they feel about it.

  • So if you describe the glass as half-full, this is called the gain frame,

  • because you're focusing on what's gained,

  • then people like it.

  • But if you describe the same glass as half-empty, a loss frame,

  • then people don't like it.

  • But we wondered what happens when you try to switch

  • from thinking about it one way to thinking about it another way.

  • Can people shift back and forth,

  • or do they get stuck in one way of thinking about it?

  • Does one of these labels, in other words, tend to stick more in the mind?

  • Well, to investigate this question, we conducted a simple experiment.

  • We told participants in our experiment about a new surgical procedure,

  • and we randomly assigned them to one of two conditions.

  • For participants in the first condition, the first group,

  • we described the surgical procedure in terms of gains;

  • we said it had a 70% success rate.

  • For participants in the second group,

  • we described the procedure in terms of losses;

  • we said it had a 30% failure rate.

  • So it's the exact same procedure,

  • we're just focusing people's attention on the part of the glass that's full,

  • or the part of the glass that's empty.

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, people like the procedure

  • when it's described as having a 70% success rate,

  • and they don't like it

  • when it's described as having a 30% failure rate.

  • But then we added a twist:

  • we told participants in the first group,

  • "You know, you could think of this as a 30% failure rate."

  • And now they don't like it anymore; they've changed their minds.

  • We told participants in the second group,

  • "You know, you could think of this as a 70% success rate",

  • but unlike the first group, they stuck with their initial opinion;

  • they seemed to be stuck in the initial loss frame that they saw

  • at the beginning of the study.

  • We conducted another experiment.

  • This time we told participants

  • about the current governor of an important state

  • who is running for re-election against his opponent.

  • We again had two groups of participants,

  • and we described the current governor's track record to them in one of two ways.

  • We said that when the current governor took office,

  • statewide budget cuts were expected to affect of about 10,000 jobs,

  • and then half of the participants read

  • that under the current governor's leadership

  • 40% of these jobs had been saved.

  • They like the current governor; they think he is doing a great job.

  • The rest of the participants read

  • that under the current governor's leadership,

  • 60% of these jobs had been lost,

  • and they don't like the current governor; they think he's doing a terrible job.

  • But then, once more, we added a twist.

  • For participants in the first group,

  • we reframed the information in terms of losses,

  • and now they didn't like the current governor anymore.

  • For participants in the second group,

  • we reframed the information in terms of gains,

  • but just like in the first study, this didn't seem to matter.

  • People in this group still didn't like the current governor.

  • So notice what this means.

  • Once the loss frame gets in there, it sticks.

  • People can't go back to thinking about jobs saved

  • once they thought about jobs lost.

  • So in both of these scenarios actually

  • the current governor gets ousted in favor of his opponent.

  • At this point we were getting curious: why does this happen?

  • Could it be that it's actually mentally harder for people

  • to convert from losses to gains

  • than it is for them to go from gains to losses?

  • So we conducted the third study

  • to test how easily people could covert from one frame to another.

  • This time we told participants,

  • "Imagine there's been an outbreak of an unusual disease

  • and six hundred lives are at stake."

  • We asked participants in one group,

  • "If a hundred lives are saved, how many will be lost?"

  • And we asked participants in the other group,

  • "If a hundred lives are lost, how many will be saved?"

  • So everyone just has to calculate

  • 600 minus 100, and come up with the answer of 500

  • but whereas people in one group have to convert from gains to losses

  • in order to do that,

  • people in the second group have to convert from losses to gains.

  • We timed how long it took them to solve this simple math problem,

  • and what we found was that

  • when people had to convert from gains to losses,

  • they could solve the problem quite quickly;

  • it took them about 7 seconds on average.

  • But when they had to convert from losses to gains,

  • well now it took them far longer, almost 11 seconds.

  • So this suggests that once we think about something as a loss,

  • that way of thinking about it tends to stick in our heads

  • and to resist our attempts to change it.

  • What I take away from this research and from related research

  • is that our view of the world has a fundamental tendency

  • to tilt toward the negative.

  • It's pretty easy to go from good to bad, but far harder to shift from bad to good.

  • We literally have to work harder to see the upside of things.

  • And this matters.

  • So, think about the economy.

  • Here's economic well-being from 2007 to 2010.

  • You can see it tanked, just like we all remember,

  • and then by late 2010 it has recovered by most objective measures.

  • But here's consumer confidence over the same time period.

  • You can see it tanks right along with the economy,

  • but then it seems to get stuck.

  • Instead of rebounding with the economy itself,

  • consumers seem to be psychologically stuck back there in the recession.

  • So oddly then, it may take more effort to change our minds

  • about how the economy is doing then to change the economy itself.

  • On the more personal level, what this research means to me

  • is that you have to work to see the up-side.

  • Literally, this takes work, this takes effort.

  • And you can practice this; you can train your mind to do this better.

  • There's research out at UC Davis,

  • showing that just writing for a few minutes each day

  • about things that you're grateful for

  • can dramatically boost your happiness and well-being,

  • and even your health.

  • We can also rehearse good news and share it with others.

  • We tend to think, right, that misery loves company,

  • that venting will help get rid of our negative emotions,

  • that we'll feel better if we just talk about how terrible our day was.

  • And so we talk, and we talk, and we talk about the boss who’s driving us crazy,

  • and that friend who never called us back,

  • and that meeting at work

  • where every little thing that could go wrong, did.

  • But we forget to talk about the good stuff.

  • And yet, that's exactly where our minds need the most practice.

  • So, my husband who has this disconcerting habit

  • of listening to what I say other people should do,

  • and then pointing out

  • that, technically speaking, I'm a person, too,

  • (Laughter)

  • has taken to listening to me for about two minutes

  • on days when I come home all grumpy and complaining about everything,

  • and he listens, and he says,

  • "Okay, but what happened today that was good?"

  • So I tell him about the student who came up to me after class

  • with this really interesting, insightful question,

  • and I tell him about the friend who emailed me out of the blue

  • this morning just to say, "hello".

  • And somewhere in the telling, I start to smile,

  • and I start to think that maybe my day was pretty decent after all.

  • I think we can also work in our communities

  • to focus on the upside.

  • We can be more aware that bad tends to stick.

  • One mean comment can stick with somebody all day, all week even,

  • and bad tends to propagate itself, right?

  • Somebody snaps at you and you snap back, and you snap at the next guy, too.

  • But what if the next time somebody snapped at you,

  • you forgave them?

  • What if the next time you had a really grumpy waitress,

  • you left her an extra large tip?

  • Our minds may be built to look for negative information

  • and to hold on to it,

  • but we can also retrain our minds if we put some effort into it

  • and start to see that the glass

  • may be a little more full than we initially thought.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Hi everyone.

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TEDx】陷入負面情緒(以及如何擺脫困境)|艾莉森-萊格伍德|TEDxUCDavis|TEDxUCDavis。 (【TEDx】Getting stuck in the negatives (and how to get unstuck) | Alison Ledgerwood | TEDxUCDavis)

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    郭璧如 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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