Episode 11 − Exploit the Situation: Uncut conversation with Lee Ross

One of the goals of the course is to, at least try to, get students to recognize the difference between a distinction that you made on the person and the situation. If we start with the person, can you tell us what personality factors or how they differ from situational factors and what that difference is? Well, as lay psychologists, as ordinary people walking around, when we’re asked to explain events or account for behavior, we characteristically cite things about the actor, the actor’s personality We talk about some people who are brave and some people who are cowardly, or some people who are adventurous or others who are shy That’s the way we normally think about things, but there’s an interesting research tradition in psychology which showed that if you expose people to situations, usually novel situations under well-controlled circumstances and, to some extent, even if you observe them in their day-to-day life, the degree of cross-situational consistency in behavior is relatively low The people who are boisterous and loud in the dining hall aren’t necessarily the people who are outgoing at parties or the people who are willing to put up their hand in class That was an observation that was made by Walter Mischel in a very famous book almost 50 years ago One of the things that Dick Nisbett and I began to write about was the way in which getting straight about the power of the situation versus the predictive power of individual differences was something about which people commonly had some illusions or errors I might say that that’s partially because, in everyday life, the person and the situation are usually deeply confounded. We don’t just see people responding to a situation; we see people who occupy particular roles, have particular relationships. And so when we see a person behaving in ways that are predictable to us or consistent, it may have as much to do with the consistency of the situations that are impinging on that individual and the kind of commitments they’ve made, as it does with some kind of internal character or internal traits Yes. This idea of an internal character or internal traits really seems compelling. I mean, I think probably from most people would think—I mean, when you’re explaining that somebody’s laid-back or honest or something, it feels that that’s valuable, that it’s very predictive of future sorts of situations If I describe you as an honest person, I’d expect you to be honest across a whole bunch of different situations. You’re saying that that’s not the case Well, I’m saying that the research that was done in the case of honesty that looked at people in different situations—who might cheat on an exam, who would take more candy than their share from the table, who would perhaps lie—it just turned out that the degree of predictability was relatively low I mean, the correlation, if you want the numbers around, it’s usually around 0.15. Part of the illusion, however, as I said, arises from the fact that, as we experience people in our lives, we see much more predictability in that. The people who I deal with and I find honest, first of all, they’re honest with me, so I’m part of the situation, and I’m always there in their dealings with me Secondly, they may be honest because they care about their reputation, and that may be a factor in all kinds of situations We like to joke that if we took, let’s say, a devout person and a low-life gambler, and we exchange their roles—we put the white collar on one guy and have him in church and meeting with his parishioners, and the other guy out frequenting low haunts as the sociologists like to say—we might find that the guy who has a great reputation for probity cuts loose a little bit, and the guy who’s seen as a somewhat sketchy character now suddenly seems

pious and consistently honest and restrained Interesting. You mentioned that the—I think it’s the Hartshorne and May study on honesty Can you tell us a bit about that experiment, exactly what they did? Well, I have to try and remember Well, just more generally with respect to The main thing is that they observed kids in more than one situation, and then they looked at the extent to which the kids who showed relatively honest behavior in one situation showed relatively honest behavior in other situations. There is a distinction between reliability and consistency. Reliability would be: “Does the same person do the same thing in the same situation the next time that you see him?” Cross-situational consistency would involve the question of whether the person who exhibits a particular trait or a particular characteristic in one situation seems to show the same characteristics in another situation that, by the way we think about things, should be tapping the same traits Yes, interesting. Little Suzy on the playground acting up may not act up in every situation? Right You mentioned predicting behavior in extreme situations. Would that hold? I mean, why is extreme behaviors better predictors than just average behaviors? Well, we’re going to get into some boring statistics if we go very far with this That’s all right. Yes If we see something really extreme, it’s likely to be someone who shows more of a given characteristic This is clearest in sports. Well, if you observe people jogging on the playground, you might find that one person jogs faster one day; the other person jogs faster the next day If it’s the Olympics and they’re going for a gold medal and you’re giving them the most extreme challenge, it’s going to be a very, very fast runner who wins We can talk about the same thing if we were going to look for who would do something that is particularly pro-social. It’s going to be someone who has a deep concern and a history, even though in less taxing situations and more characteristic ones, we may not be able to predict who’s going to give the panhandler a five-dollar bill or who’s going to bring their old clothes to the Salvation Army Center, that kind of thing While we’re talking about this dispositionism, one of the things that’s worth noting is that, in our culture, it’s kind of overdetermined So we have this tendency to overestimate the impact of the situation, in part because we observe people in the same situations most of the time; in part just because when we see someone act, we focus on the actor, not on the situation. In our particular culture, it’s almost a theory that people are responsible for their behavior. We don’t look kindly on people who are fair-weather friends, or who adjust their—trim to their behavior to the sail to the prevailing winds, we would say Also, even our language predisposes us. You notice we talk about an honest person, but we don’t have a term for a situation that prompts honesty. We have to say, “Well, this is the kind of situation of which the average person is honest, and only very dishonest people will be dishonest in this situation,” or, “It’s a kind of situation in which most people take some liberties, but only the most extremely honest people can be counted on.” We have to engage in this very complicated language. But we can say, “This is an honest person,” and that’s a shorthand for saying something about what we expect the actor to do across the situation. And we can say, “How would you characterize a situation in which you expect most people to be brave?” We literally don’t have a word Now it isn’t that we can’t conceive of such a thing. We do have one domain, one that we care about a great deal in our culture, where we do have that. When we talk about a test, we can say the test is easy or hard. That’s a really useful shorthand for saying we expect most people to do well at it, or only exceptionally able people to do well at it, and that kind of thing

We also have it for emotion words. We can talk about a scary movie or a sexy poster or things like that, that again have that property that they’re telling us what to expect from the average person But it’s interesting that we don’t have these terms when it pertains to what we normally think of as personally traits Why do you think that is? It seems like a bit of the chicken and the egg problem, doesn’t it? I mean, why is it so compelling if it’s so not predictive? Why is personality explanations of saying that Johnny’s honest or laid-back or something—I mean, if it isn’t—if we have a correlation of about 0.15, as you said, I mean, that’s not going to get us very far, so why do we stick with it? Well, because, most of the time, we’re not given the task of predicting the behavior of a bunch of people in a novel situation Most of the time, we’re looking at people behaving in contexts in which we’ve observed them often and which they have reputations and relationships. When you say, “I know Mom is going to have hot apple pie when I come to visit from where I’m living or working now,” that’s very predictable. But it’s not predictable just because your mom has the disposition to make apple pies, it’s that she always makes an apple pie when you come to visit. The experience of consistency within situations gives rise to the impression that it’s reflective of character or traits What we care about, as lay psychologists, is knowing the people in our world. We’re motivated to see them as consistent and coherent. Even basic perception, after all, when an act occurs, we focus on the act and the actor commits the act. They’re a unit. We see them together. We don’t see the actor and the situation together normally. It’s kind of overdetermined Sure. You mentioned in your book that there doesn’t seem to be many landmark studies on personality like there is with the situation We know of some very compelling demonstrations of the power of the situation that don’t seem to occur in demonstrations of the power of personality. Can you tell us a bit about some of those demonstrations for the situation? Well, let’s first say—when we say that, it’s given that we expect a great deal of consistency in behavior of people across situations. It’s very hard to do a study that shows that there’s even more consistency than we imagined By contrast, since we expect and think we know people well, it’s easy to design a study in which we use the various tricks and insights of social psychologists and create a situation in which ordinary people behave in ways that we think are extraordinary: extraordinarily altruistic, or extraordinarily cowardly, or extraordinarily foolish, and the like Of course there is, ironically, one set of studies on consistency of behavior that are pretty impressive. They are ironically done by the same guy, Walter Mischel, who had done the early study showing lack of consistency in behavior. What he showed is that the degree to which people seem able to resist temptation, the extent to which people seem to have a degree of self-control and the ability to delay gratification, and he showed that the behavior of children in the nursery school predicted rather well things like their success in getting into college and things like that There are some exceptions, but, for the most part, social psychology has produced a whole series of classic experiments, the point of which is to show that when we manipulate the situation or we produce particular kinds of situations, we see behavior which defies our intuitions, which surprises us One of the channel factors that I find interesting is this idea of organ donation. It’s such a simple, tiny manipulation of—seemingly tiny manipulation of opting in or opting out of organ donation. Is that—do you know the details or

Well, I know as much about it as most social psychologists who’ve read the study and thought about it. For many of us, it’s a very powerful demonstration of what Kurt Lewin calls a channel factor—that is, something that made it a little easier to act in accord with your preferences or your values I think there was many, many interesting features in that, but the starting point is just that this was a case of what we might call a natural experiment. It wasn’t a study in which someone manipulated this at all, although people have followed up on it, including me and my colleagues The finding, as I think most people in psychology are aware now, is that if you looked at European countries, and some of those countries have the policy where you had to sign the back of your driver’s license to make you a potential organ donor. In other places, you had to sign if you didn’t want to be a potential organ donor. The phenomena was incredibly dramatic I mean, you found countries as similar as Austria and Germany, or Norway and Sweden, having tremendously different rates: under 10 percent of people in some cases, and over 95 in others—very, very dramatic. It’s tempting. A lot of people look at that and say, “Well, these people are lazy,” but it was subtler than that. The institutional arrangements that exist communicate norms Tom Gilovich and I did a study that was published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Science, in which we showed that the meaning of that act changed. In countries where you had to sign your driver’s license to be a potential donor, it was seen as something akin to leaving a lot of money in your will to a particular charity. In the cases of the opt-out countries, it was seen as something very modest like letting other people ahead of you in line if they were in a hurry No kidding. Yes That was maybe the lesson of social psychology that’s second only to the one about the power of the situation. It’s how important the meaning or the connotations of the situations are to the actor and the extent to which we have to know what the situation means to the actor if we want to be able to predict and understand that behavior It’s very interesting to think about what happens when all we know about someone is that they signed the back of their license in such a way that made them a potential donor or not. We are likely to think it’s telling us something deep about their character and unlikely to appreciate the extent to which, in both cases, they’re just doing what they think ordinary citizens do. In one case, they think only extreme altruists who don’t care about how they desecrate their body after they die might sign up; whereas, in the other, they think it’s a normal activity of good citizenship and only misanthropes and bad citizens would refuse Yes. Given what we know about the weakness of personality factors and the strength of situational factors, if I were an employer hiring a new employee in my company, what sort of advice would you have then for what would be the most predictive of their future behavior? Well, obviously if you had evidence about how they’ve behaved in very, very similar situations in the past, that would be useful, but my advice to an employer would be to create the kind of context, the kind of corporate norms, and reinforce them in such a that they produce the kinds of behavior that you want—that is, to say, “I try hard to model that kind of behavior. I would celebrate it when I saw it. I would respond immediately to behavior that is inconsistent with what I wanted.” We see this in the area that I work in: Conflict resolution. There’s often a feeling that you have to find the right guy to make a deal with. The evidence that we find is that the same person who might be a terrorist at one point in time can become a heroic peace fighter

at another period of time. This was true in the work we’ve done in Northern Ireland where we looked at ex-bombers who became peace activists. To some extent, it’s true even with the life of Nelson Mandela. Lots of times people say, “We’re looking for Mandela on the other side,” when what they should be doing is, “How can we create a context that creates a Mandela on the other side?” This idea of channel factors that you mentioned with respect to the Milgram experiment and others, it’s extremely powerful. I mean, it’s—and I think that people aren’t really taking advantage of it, as far as in the Occupy movement or in climate change and so on. In trying to motivate a large number of people to do one particular thing, they don’t really seem to be taking advantage of the situation as much as they could. Is that true? Well, I think the message has started to become much better understood, actually. We’re seeing in education a number of really dramatic cases where relatively small changes in the situation facing students, just giving messages about whether they belong and whether the institution has confidence that they can succeed, and we see big effects of these kinds of manipulations Certainly, politicians have gotten the message. To some extent, it’s been negative in the sense that they no longer worry about persuading people. They just say, “How can we identify the folks who are likely to be our voters and make them get to the polls?” It was interesting in the last election. I don’t think it’s a big secret that Barack Obama had the assistance of a number of behavioral psychologists and behavioral economists who used a number of different techniques to initially identify, and then make sure their voters would actually get to the polls. They did this in very, very sophisticated ways, such that on the night of the election, the Republican strategists were shocked and were convinced that the prediction models that they had were correct and the early polling was wrong because they were saying, “Given everything we know about the economy, and given what we know about popularity ratings, and given what we know about the frequency with which particular ethnic or demographic groups vote, what’s going to happen?” What they didn’t realize was that an experimental manipulation had been done. Some very, very clever and powerful techniques had been used to make people who were favorably leading but not likely voters to actually vote What were those? What were they doing exactly? That’s a secret Right If you read the history of social psychology, you’d be able to predict I could imagine a couple of them, yes One is getting early commitment, getting people who say they’re going to vote, you say, “Can we count on you? Can we call you back on election day and make sure you voted?” Getting them to register, instead of saying, “Will you go register,” you say, “Okay, let’s do it right now. Take out your cellphone and make this call, and someone will come and pick you up.” I mean, there’s many, many things that you can do, but the point was to make sure that people who generally were disposed to behave in a particular way but, often in history, have not done so, in this case, they would and they could be counted on Can you tell us about the fundamental attribution error: what it is and what we can tell about human behavior on the basis of it? Okay. Well, the term the fundamental attribution error has a strange and interesting history, and it has led to some confusion. The first time that I used the term—and I think I was the one who coined it—it came when Dick Nisbett, who I know you’ve interviewed, had done a very important series of studies and written a paper with Ned Jones on actor-observer differences. When he had shown it to me, I said, “Well, that’s really interesting, Dick, but the fundamental thing is that people overestimate the degree of cross-situational consistency, and they make trait attributions in general when they shouldn’t.”

Then, in a later paper, when I was discussing various kinds of errors and biases in distinguishing my work from what I thought was the central message of social psychology, I had said, “Well, the fundamental error is the tendency to underestimate the impact of the situation.” What I meant by that was not that it was fundamental in the sense that it was irreducible. No, what I meant is it was an error in the most fundamental task that we attempt in life, which is to say, “What does that situation tell me about the actor? What does that situation tell me about the observer?” The term fundamental attribution error referred to the fact that people characteristically make an error in that fundamental task But that isn’t the fundamental failing that human beings have. The fundamental failing that really is much more basic is the tendency to assume that the way we see the world is the way the world really is, that reasonable people should see it the same way, and if they don’t see it the same way, it’s because there’s something wrong with them, some bias that’s affecting them. It can be the propaganda to which they’ve been exposed. It can be some failing in their intelligent. It can be something about their education. We readily think that when people disagree with us, it’s because there’s something wrong with them, not something wrong with us, or at least not something that’s affecting both of us that’s making us simply disagree Interesting. There was another term that you used a fair bit early on as well: naive realism Can you tell us about the notion of naive realism? Well, that’s what I just described—was naive realism. We said naive realism, in that human beings necessarily think that the world is the way they perceive it to be. If I look around this campus, I see walls and windows and grass. To me, that is the way the world is Einstein memorably said, “Reality is an illusion,” and what he meant by that is that what we experience in reality is kind of the interaction that occurs between the kind of stardust that we’re made of and the kind of stardust that’s out there. To a physicist, the world is made up of these infinitesimally tiny stings of matter and energy fields, nothing like the way we perceive it to be. What we perceive as reality is our way of responding to that input and that construction Of course we have to assume that the world is the way we perceive it. In many ways, we perceive the world similarly, and it serves us really well to believe that, this naive belief that there’s a one-to-one relationship between the way we perceive things and the way they really are. It can get us into trouble, particularly when other people come to that world with different histories, different needs, different goals, different biases, different experiences Related to that, you had a student in I think 1990, Elizabeth Newton, who did a tapping experiment Can you tell us about that? Well, I must say that the real author of that study was my brother, who is a musician Really? He used to do this when I was a kid. He showed me this interesting phenomena, that if you tap out a tune, you think you know for sure what it is. It seems really obvious to you in part that’s because, when you’re tapping the tune, you hear the music that accompanies it. You know when you’re not tapping whether that’s a musical rest or a sustained note This is something you only can appreciate by trying it, but I would urge anyone seeing the series to try them on someone. Tap some really familiar song. You can tap the national anthem, or you can tap “Jingle Bells” or something really familiar. To you, it will seem absolutely inevitable that the other person will know, and they’ll look at you with a kind of blank look When Elizabeth Newton came along, I had that described this phenomenon to her and she said, “That’s great. Let’s make a study of it,” and it became part of her dissertation That’s outstanding There are other things like that. When you’ve done something very often and it’s become

easy to you, you are surprised that it isn’t easy to someone else; they ought to know the right answer. It even pertains to information The books you’ve read, you’d think most other educated people have surely read that, and when someone tells you about a book you don’t know, you say, “My, they must be really deeply educated or have this esoteric interest.” There is this overwhelming tendency to feel that not just the way that we see the world but the way we respond to the world, our priorities, the things we find easy, the things we find difficult, will be shared by other people That’s called the false consensus effect The false consensus effect follows from naive realism. This can get boring when we start going through all these definitions here That’s fine The false consensus effect just refers to the fact that, all things being equal, people who behave in a particular way are more likely to think that other people will behave in that way than people who behave in a different way It follows off from the naive realism, but that seems to go all the way down, doesn’t it, as far as basic perception? The light waves that hit the back of the retina Right. We initially assume that other people would respond the same way as we do When they do, we’re not surprised, but when they don’t, we think the thing to be understood or explained is why they responded the way they did, rather than why we responded the way we did But you’re absolutely right. It pertains to everything from basic perception to the kinds of political and social judgments we make about what our political priorities are, how important it is to help disadvantaged people versus provide good climate for entrepreneurs Even in those domains, the way we see it seems to us to be the right way to see it We sometimes even can understand why other people see it that way. On work in conflict resolution that I’ve done, Israeli military leaders are perfectly willing to concede that if they had been born Palestinians, they might be Palestinian terrorists or freedom fighters, depending on how you want to label it, and vice versa. By that, they don’t mean that the other person is just as right or righteous as they are, but they believe that had they been in that other context, they would have been misled the same way the other person was misled The title of the course is The Science of Everyday Thinking. What advice do you have for the students who are taking the course to improve the way that they think every day? Well, I think, paying attention to the message of Danny Kahneman’s book is a starting point, and that is there are many, many sources of error or bias that we learn about in psychology We also learn about some things that people do really well and quickly, and we tend not to study those enough. The message is when we’re doing one of the tasks that we know that people have difficulty with or are subject to particular biases, just take a little time, reconsider it, the equivalent to not pressing the send button when you’ve written a message that you’re not sure about. It’s a good idea just to stop and take a little time and reflect Sometimes ask someone else. How does this seem when you experience it not as an actor but as an observer? How would you respond if you received it? Sometimes, very importantly, just thinking about the difference between the experience we have as an actor and as an observer—and I’ll give you an example. Most people I know would say that they rarely, if ever, have deliberately given offense to another person, that they’ve deliberately tried to hurt the feelings of another person. Most of us, as observers or at least as the targets of action, can think of lots of cases where people said things to us that were hurtful or painful The message is when you’re an actor, stop and think, “Has that kind of thing ever made you unhappy or uncomfortable?” Conversely, when you are the target, say, “Well, when you’ve said or done that thing, did you intend to be hurtful or do harm?” Shifting that actor

and observer perspective, as well as taking a little bit of time, can save you a lot of pain and misunderstanding in interpersonal settings It seems like put yourself in the shoes of others when considering Well, I hate what my students sometimes call “moccasin and eyewear” metaphors. It isn’t so much a matter of putting yourself in that other situation, I don’t think—in the other person’s shoes. I think that’s a metaphor You can essentially say, “What has my own experience been when I was in that situation?” That’s an important distinction Yes Social psychology, with the things like “Blink” and Danny Kahneman’s book seems to be pretty hot at the moment. What do you think is the most interesting and worthy things to be pursuing at the moment in social psychology? Okay. Well, there’s two kinds of answers to that question. One is what’s changing in social psychology? I think what’s changing is that we’re increasingly getting beyond the laboratory, classic social psychology experiment where you take people, expose them for a short period of time to something novel, and see what they do. Increasingly, we’re getting interested in the kind of behavior that occurs in familiar contexts where people know each other and have an existing role in institutional relationships, and we see behavior unfold over time in ways that have cumulative consequences—much more interesting natural experiments that occur where different people, different institutions, do things in different ways, and looking at what we can learn from those. That’s a change that I think is occurring in the field. For someone like me, a little bit sadly, that the kind of experimental tradition that I grew up with I think, has passed its noon and is nearing its night In terms of the content of psychology—it’s not just social psychology—what has become increasingly obvious and important is the extent to which we’re influenced by processes that are implicit, that we don’t have conscious access to. To some extent, we are rediscovering if not the unconscious, then the non-conscious. We’re really getting impressed by how much cognitive work, how much reasoning, how much learning occurs in context where we’re not aware of the fact that we’re doing it, how much we’re influenced by things that we’re not aware of The work of John Bargh and others on priming, I think, are having a transformative effect on the field. The area’s quite new, and we’re making mistakes. We’re sometimes showing what Shakespeare called “vaulting ambition that o’erleaps itself” in this area, but there’s no doubt that that beast is going to get tamed, and it’s going to be a fairly important and central feature of psychology in the future It’s going to be, in some ways, rediscovering what Freud was interested in: the importance of non-conscious processes, but whereas Freud thought that this was something that happened because of primarily for motivational reasons and protecting the ego or the like, we’re now discovering there’s nothing that exotic about it. It’s simply that the focus of attention is very narrow, and the amount of information we’re inputting at any one point in time is enormous We’re teaching this course, The Science of Everyday Thinking, Think 101. We have hundreds of thousands of students across the planet who are taking it. Do you have any advice for us? Obviously, there had been several attempts before to improve people’s thinking, to make them less prone to superstition and so on that haven’t succeeded very well. I know you and Dick have written before about, for example, ways of trying to get people to think, make better decisions, to think better, do better. Do you have any advice for us on how we might succeed? Well, it’s ironic—I’ve used the word ironic several times, I realized, but there’s a lot

of ironic things in psychology. Just as I said that the classic experiment is kind of fading, and it’s important, I think it’s role in education is absolutely central. I think that much of the most important research we ever did and described really consisted of demonstration experiments. They didn’t make some huge theoretical point that was very, very specific. They demonstrated to us not what must happen, but what can happen. I think that in education, we learn through experience, and so having someone see for themselves, to experience for themselves, the kinds of things that we’ve typically had people do in laboratory studies can be very useful We talked about the Milgram experiment, which is very controversial. I’m not sure I would try and put every student through the Milgram experiment, but having the experience of being in a powerful role versus being in a powerless role, and showing how that changes the way you think and the way you feel Many years ago I did a study in which we had some people ask difficult general knowledge questions that they came up with to another person. The person answering those questions thought that the person asking them was much more knowledgeable than they were, and they were very impressed by that person. When we switched roles, we got the opposite experience Coming to be aware of the way in which our position of power or lack of power, having a particular motive or not having a particular motive, the experience to see how that influences us is a powerful one I would say don’t omit the possibility of having people—when I talked about the tapping study, we can describe it, but it’s nowhere near as good as simply doing the experiment for yourself Experience, yes I would say build in lots of opportunities for people to have the kinds of experiences that you’re trying to teach them about Interesting. At the end of “Human Inference,” which you and Dick wrote in 1980, you had a few slogans, a few maxims, which I thought was quite clever and really quite good as far as I think we called them fortune cookie didactics That’s right. To remind you, a couple of them where—it’s an empirical question, or what did the other three cells look like? Have you thought about others that you might have included since then? Well, I think that’s what Dick Nisbett’s book is about. The new book that he’s working on is: what are the most useful insights you can have? You’re working on a new book. What’s that book about at the moment? With you and Gilovich Well, the new book we’re working on is called—has a very similar goal to your course. It’s called “The Wisest in the Room.” We’re saying what had been the most powerful and useful insights in social psychology and how can they be used, not so much to get what you want in life, but to do a better job of understanding what’s going on around you, what’s going around on in your family, what’s going on in your workplace, what’s going on politically in your community or in the larger world Interesting, yes. On the didactics, do you have any nuggets of insights that students might be able to use, at least? I particularly like—we’re talking in the course about checklist diagrams, and what did the other three cells look like, those kinds of things Well, I would borrow from Solomon Asch from 50 years ago—and that is, when someone behaves in a way that surprises you, when someone makes a judgment or assessment that seems surprising, consider the possibility that what you were wrong about was not their judgment of the object, but what the object of judgment was. That is to say if someone behaves in ways that are surprising to you, take seriously the possibility that you’re wrong about what the situation meant to that other person That will help you do a better job if you’re trying to influence people. If you’re trying to influence people and it isn’t working, it may be because the thing you’re doing is being understood very differently by the other

person than what you intend. Pay attention to what the object of judgment is or at least what the actors construe of the object of judgment When I pay my children for doing well in school, is that a bonus, or is it a bribe? If it’s a bonus, it’s wonderful. If it’s a bribe, then the message is: when the bribe is there, do it; when the bribe isn’t there, don’t do it. If it’s a bonus, it’s great. Isn’t the world a wonderful place? When you do the right thing, good things happen to you My name is Lee. I think about wisdom