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February 2019, Issue 65

Why We Think We Can Keep Those New Year's Resolutions

Benjamin Converse of the University of Virginia and Marie Hennecke of Switzerland’s University of Zurich wrote in a blog published in Scientific American about why people think they can keep their resolutions each New Year. According to their research, which will be published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, the mere prospect of turning a calendar page can be enough to make people forget about the hurdles that constrain their aspirations. They also discussed previous research that showed people tend to think about goals that are off in the distance more abstractly. They only think about them more concretely when goals get closer. To read more click here.

What Tennis Tells Us About Why Customers Don't Buy

In a SmartCompany article, Bri Williams of People Patterns used tennis to illustrate the behavioral principle known as loss aversion. This principles states that avoiding loss is more important than seeking gain. Thus, in tennis, where the server gets two tries to get the serve in, the first serve is struck harder because the server has nothing to lose. However, if that first serve misses, the second serve is generally softer and more toward the middle of the service box. Williams said it is important, then, to think about perceived risk when it comes to customer behavior. You can address loss aversion by breaking your customer’s perceived risk down into four main categories. Read all four things here.

Why Criticism Is So Tough to Swallow (and How to Make it Go Down Easier)

A Fast Company article by author Caroline Webb detailed how a person’s brain reacts to criticism, and, in light of that knowledge, Webb offered advice on how to give helpful feedback. She noted that the brain goes on the defensive in response to things that may undermine a person’s social standing, including interactions that could make him or her feel incompetent. When this happens, there is reduced activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for self-control, reasoning and forethought. Therefore, when giving feedback on something, one should mention specific examples of what he or she likes about it and then say, “What would make me like it even more.” To read the full article click here.

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which they were created." 
— Albert Einstein
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