Happiness in this World

Reflections of a Buddhist physician

How to Ensure You're (Almost) Always Right

There are numerous cognitive biases that threaten to lead us to incorrect conclusions as we reason our way through problems: confirmation bias (where we selectively pay attention only to evidence that supports our pre-existing beliefs), non-confirmation bias (where we selectively ignore evidence that contradicts our pre-existing beliefs), and belief bias (which predisposes Read More

Once I thought

Once I thought I made a mistake, but I was wrong.



Assumption Questioning

Hi Dr. Lickman, I'm a researcher in psychology and I thought this was an insightful piece. In the last section you described a neat technique of recording your conversation and playing it back again to listen for assumptions, then estimating their certainty. Is there a name for this technique? You see, I've been looking for a way to study language, subjectively and objectively. And this technique really seems like it could yield some fascinating discoveries about "what we think about what we say", for the lack of a better phrase. It's very true that only a certain percentage of what we say is actually what we mean, and a percentage of that is actually true. Using this method, it would be neat to see how people evaluate their own expressions and language for accuracies. So if you could forward me to a study that has used this technique, I would appreciate it.

Hi, Abid, Unfortunately, I

Hi, Abid,
Unfortunately, I know of no studies on this. I came up with the technique myself when I once watched myself on a video and saw how I was coming off to others in a way I found surprising (and bad).

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Alex Lickerman, M.D., is a general internist and former Director of Primary Care at the University of Chicago and has been a practicing Buddhist since 1989.


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