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An A or B

Completely unrelated, but it makes me laugh! I guess some dogs are just wicked smart!


I think you can make statistics prove anything that you want to prove. For instance, the year that the Golden State Warriors broke the NBA’s single season win total; their guard, Klay Thompson, autographed a toaster for a fan. Thereafter, they went on to a 31-2 record. Does that speak to the power of toasters?

It just means that sometimes statistics don’t explain reality. Meyer Friedman was a cardiologist who for decades ran a busy medical office in San Francisco. In the late 1950s, he and his partner, Dr. Ray Rosenman, began noticing similarities in their patients with heart disease. It wasn’t simply what their patients ate, or their genes inherited, or family history that affected their susceptibility to heart attacks; it was also how they lived their lives.

These patients“, Friedman noted, “demonstrated: a particular complex of personality traits, including excessive competition drive, aggressiveness, impatience, and a harrying sense of time urgency. Individuals displaying this pattern seem to be engaged in a chronic, ceaseless, and often fruitless struggle—with themselves, with others, with circumstances, with time, sometimes with life itself.

These people were significantly more likely to develop heart disease than other patients—even those who shared similar physical attributes, exercise regimens, diets, and family histories. Looking for a convenient and memorable way to explain this insight to their medical colleagues and the wider world, Friedman and Rosenman found inspiration in the alphabet.”

They classified this behavior as “Type A.” Now we all know that term.

Contrary to Type A behavior was Type B behavior. Unlike the hurry-up, horn-honking behavior; people displaying Type B behavior were rarely in a hurry and didn’t feel stressed by life’s demands.

In their research, the doctors found that Type B people were just as intelligent and  ambitious, as Type A’s. But, displayed their ambition differently. In writing about Type B , the cardiologists explained, “He may also have a considerable amount of ‘drive,’ but its character is such that it seems to steady him, give confidence and security to him, rather than to goad, irritate, and infuriate, as with the Type A man.” One key to reducing heart disease and death was to help Type A’s learn to become a little more like Type B’s.

These classifications and findings of these heart doctors are interesting to me, because they also are linking stress to health. With our clients, I always believe that their most significant damage is related to stress and emotional trauma. And these doctors would probably agree.

As a side note, Dr Friedman died at the age of 90. Maybe he taught himself to slow it down! Although, sometimes I think that some of the stress that Type A feels… is stress from the actions (and lateness) of Type B.

And for pic o’ day, I always say that I want people to pay me the compliment that I am having a bad hair day! Just sayin’!



A Mind Made Up!

I call it the Firefighter Fact Experiment (research paper here) I am a nut for psychological research studies. (which probably explains why I sometimes write about them in Our Blog) Plus, I hearken back to my political science college days, because that was always such a moving target of information anyway. (Notice how I just rambled on there about nothingness?)

So back to my Firefighter Fact Experiment and how it relates to kneeling during the National Anthem. Do I have your attention or are you so bored of hearing about the kneel down, that you are almost about to stop reading the blog. Wait… that’s exactly what the research says!

Two groups were given a story about firefighters, and then a questionnaire to answer about the fact pattern. The study was done by Anderson, Lepper and Ross in 1980. (attached above).

One group was given information that proved that successful firefighters are also risk-takers. The second research group was given information that supported the idea that firefighters are not risk-takers at all, and that’s the very reason they are successful. Complete opposite fact-patterns. The participants then filled out their questionnaires.

After that portion was completed, the research facilitator then announced that the information that they had just read “was completely fictitious. I made it up. There is no evidence one way or another“.

In a follow-up study after this announcement, the participants were then asked what they believed about firefighters, and why. In each study, the participants still believed the original information that they had received. The announcement that it had all been made up did not change their opinion. They couldn’t give reasons why they believed the different views on firefighters and risk-taking. They simply had formed that opinion and it was not changed by the announcement.

In jury trials, we call that the trial story. Once jurors make up their minds, it is typically difficult to get them to change their minds.

I think it’s the same way with political issues. Specifically, I have noticed that about opinions on kneeling during the National Anthem. Once an opinion is set, people don’t usually change their opinion. In fact, they just get stronger about their opinion. And I suspect you would also say to me right now.. “And they are not afraid to just keep repeating their opinion”. It’s the psychological effect of believing what I believe… because I believe it! And it keeps Facebook with many postings!


And for pic o’ day, sometimes it’s crazy what strikes my funny bone!




Just Bring Mints

How about a happy group get-together to start Our Monday Blog?



Have you ever received a bill at the end of your restaurant meal that has a smiley face drawn on it? Probably many times. It could be just a friendly server, but I have also been told that servers believe that they will get a larger tip because of it. Friendliness that pays!

That might be true, but there is real research to prove that there is really something that servers can do, to increase their tips by over 23%. Just one simple thing. Published in the Journal for Applied Psychology (study abstract here).

What to do? Bring mints with the bill. And how the server followed up with the mint even influenced the tip. Here’s a breakdown of the study:

  1. The first group included servers giving a single mint with the bill, with no mention of the mint. This increased tips by 3%.
  2. The second group of researchers had the servers bring two mints separate from the bill. The servers were also instructed to mention before bringing the mints, “Would anyone like some mints?”. This caused a 14% increase in the tip.
  3.  The final research study had servers bring out the bill with a pair of mints. Shortly thereafter, the waiter came back with another set of mints in case anyone wanted more. That last group saw an increase of 23% in the tip.

Why did the mints impact the tip? A love of mints? Not so much! Although, you can’t be angry at mints! Right?

The answer is that researchers concluded that being personal left a positive impression. Especially at the most important time. Right when they were paying their bill.

The advice from those researchers is to have personal follow-ups. Good advice for anyone wanting happy clients or customers. It’s probably also good advice for someone in the restaurant business. Invest in personality and mints! And always follow up!

And for our pic o’ day… Yep!


A Bunch of Marshmallow

It was called The Marshmallow Experiment.(wikipedia) It even led to a medical article citing the findings in an article titled Cognitive and attentional mechanisms in delay of gratification. All this over waiting for a treat. But here’s what they learned.

In 1960, two researchers had an idea to experiment with marshmallows and children.  The original experiment took place at the Bing Nursery School located at Stanford University, using children between the ages of ages of four to six.

The children were led to a room where a treat (like a marshmallow) was placed on a table in front of them. They were told that they could eat the treat right away. But, if they waited for fifteen minutes without giving in to the temptation, they would be rewarded with a second treat. One treat right, now or two treats later.

The researcher left the room for 15 minutes.

The video footage of the kids alone in the room was rather entertaining. Some kids immediately ate the first marshmallow as soon as the researcher closed the door. According to the researcher, some of the kids “covered their eyes with their hands or turned around so that they could not see the tray, to avoid temptation. Others started kicking the desk, or tugging on their pigtails or even stroking or playing with the marshmallow, as if it were a tiny stuffed animal”.

Most eventually gave in to temptation a few minutes later. A few of the children did manage to wait the entire time, for the promise of another treat.

This study was published in 1972.  The Marshmallow Experiment  wasn’t famous because of the timing of the treat eating. The interesting part came years later. It’s the study in instant gratification.

In following up with those children, researchers determined that the children who were willing to delay gratification and follow the instructions to wait for the second marshmallow, ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, and even a lower likelihood of obesity. They also demonstrated better responses to stress, and better social skills.

Then, the researchers followed up with each child  more than 40 years later. Again and again, it was repeatedly shown that the the group who waited patiently for the second marshmallow, excelled in whatever capacity they were measuring.

The research showed that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success in life. “I want it now” is fine, as long as you can decide that you can also wait.

Does this mean that all parents should tempt their children with marshmallows or a treat, to see how successful they will be in 40 years? Just a blog thought on the psychology of being able to wait.

And for pic o’ day, I am posting one that was sent to me under the “it was so cold”.



However, as I looked at that “cold picture”… it also seemed mighty cold toward the chickens, so I am posting another one to leave you more positive! Or less of something?



Tanning Bed Warning

This is a story from Tech Times that hits close to home for me. That’s because I used to own a tanning bed in my 20’s and I bought into the propaganda that tanning beds were much safer than the sun.

The title of the article summarizes the study discussed. Melanoma And Indoor Tanning: Teens Who Use Tanning Beds Likely To Develop Skin Cancer Before Age 40.

A study that included adults between 25 and 49 years old has found that women who used sunbeds or tanning beds in their teen years have greater risk for developing melanoma at a young age. The University of Minnesota studied the possible link between the use of tanning beds and melanoma cases among men and women who were younger than 50 years old.

The findings of the study showed that women who used tanning beds as teens and during their 20s have up to six times of an increased risk for the deadly skin cancer, compared to people who did not tan indoors.

For their research, the University studied data on 681 individuals had been diagnosed with skin cancer. This data was then compared with those in a research control group of volunteers.

The data from the study showed that the women in their 30s had more than three times of a risk in developing melanoma if they tanned indoors. The risk is more than two-times higher in women who are in their 40s.

The article attached above shows more specifics on the study. But, it’s a reminder that just because people say something is safe… doesn’t mean that its safe. Even if the government does not warn us with some regulation.

And for pic o’ day, A photo of lack of planning?. Have a great weekend.


Quick Car Research

The resolution and goal blogs have run their course.

Staying Fit

(This one is a re-run but it always cracks me up)

It’s now “stop talking about it… and just be about it”.

For today’s blog, I decided to point you to a quick car research tool. Owners may not always know if their vehicle still needs repaired after a manufacturer recall. Or, maybe you are shopping for a car and want to know if there has previously been some recall for that make or model. allows you to just plug in the vehicle identification number and look at the safety recalls for the last 15 years. At the bottom of the site, it also lists the automobile manufacturers that participate in this listing. It’s also a tool that we use at the firm, in analyzing potential claims.


And our pic o’ day from Amy M …



A Benefit of Thankfulness

This week I am working from the South Carolina office. I stay at a nearby hotel downtown here in Greenville, and I can walk to the office. It’s that close. It seems like a perfect day with many reasons to be thankful.

     That’s my segue to the topic that is now backed with scientifc study. The Boston Globe reports that we should “Be thankful and make better long-term decisions”. According to the article, it describes why thankfulness helps us make better decisions. 

     A team of researchers led by a Northeastern University psychologist decided to study why people make impatient decisions described scientifically as “suboptimal”. These decisions result in problems such as credit card debt, obesity or even related to drug addiction.

     In the study, the researchers found that there is one emotion that can make us more patient. The findings are going to be published in the journal Psychological Science. Summed up, grateful people were more willing to forgo immediate temptation for a larger reward than people who were merely neutral or described themselves as happy.

     Psychologist David DeSteno explained that, “It probably is the case that we have specific emotions that make us take the long-term view; and if this is the case, that opens a whole new way to design interventions that can help people make better economic and purchasing decisions”.

     Time will tell whether this will help put down the cupcake and hit the gym, or save instead of going to the eBay app. The upside of the research is that there is now scientific proof that gratitude has its virtues. 


    DID YOU KNOW that Mr Clean (the cleaning detergent) is known in Spain as Don Limpio?


     And for pic o’ day, a bit of a nod toward Califnornia Chrome winning the Preakness Stakes:

horsing around

The Hospital Fat Suit

It is a familiar suggestion,  “Don’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.”  No one is credited with that famous saying but the native Americans also said,  “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.”  Of course, I could just keep going with the sayings like, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, because you appear ungrateful. Yes, those old gift horses. By the way, did anyone have to return a Christmas pony to the Christmas pony store?… but I digress.

ABC News  reports that British hospital workers decided that they were going to try to experience the difficulties that their obese patients were experiencing. That’s why I started with the “walking a mile in their shoes” until I got carried away! Staffers have begun to wear “Fat suits” to better understand real life situations in caring for obese patients. Statistically, the number of obese patients at this British hospital in the news has grown from having six patients in 2010 who weighed almost 400 pounds, to 52 patients, who needed care in 2013.

A grant was provided to buy several obese suits to be worn by the hospital staff that would cause staffers to feel the life proportion of being a 560 pound person, and to create the experience of being movement restricted, just as these obese patients.

Julie Tebb of the hospital staff described the suit experience as, “I found it quite uncomfortable to be completely on my back. It restricts my airways and I find it very difficult to breath”.  All staffers report that it has caused them to look at their patients in a different way and “to think of their patients in a different way”. Experiencing another’s difficulties has caused more patience.

Now to pic o’ day. First, I am admittedly posting a picture that is totally for me. Years from now when I look at this blog, I know that this will bring a smile from a wonderful game memory. If you didn’t watch any weekend football… then it probably won’t mean much to you. Or if you aren’t a Colts fan, it would be hard to walk “in my fandom shoes”.

Luck Dive

And for the real pic o’ day… someone who could use some help!

use some help

Eyewitness Credibility

This is one of those blogs that is intended to make you think about the reliability of testimony evidence. Consider that there have been defendants that were sent to death row because of eyewitness testimony.

In 1998, researchers from Harvard and Kent State decided to test the reliability of  truly seeing what you see.   Here is the study for full reading (here). The researchers decided to study pedestrians (their test subjects) to determine whether people really notice what is around them. In the experiment, an actor would come up to a pedestrian and ask for directions.

While the pedestrian was giving the person directions, two men carrying a large door would walk between the actor and the pedestrian. For a moment, neither the person giving the directions nor the actor could see each other. While the door fully blocked their view, one actor was replaced by another.

The researchers decided to even add some additional significant differences to the study. The “new actor” was a different height and build, and had noticably different hair and a different voice. Over half the participants did not notice the actor substitution.

This 1998 study was the first experiment to study the phenomenon of “change blindness”. The premise of the study was to show that we are selective about what our consciousness may take away as a memory from any given visual scene. The researchers concluded that individuals rely on memory and pattern-recognitions more than we think.

Does that give you any concern about how some evidence is relied upon in criminal trials, or is this just a select study that is just more about human nature than something as serious as a criminal trial?

DID YOU KNOW that the term “throw your hat in the ring” comes from the sport of boxing where throwing a hat into a ring signified a challenge. Today, it is now associated with politics. Although, I think that I have heard politicians also mention that they are now “taking off the gloves”.

And for pic o’ day how about some rebellion encouragement?


The Logic of Insurance Premiums

US News published the following amazing research: Overweight children and teens tend to eat more and exercise less. Now, that is some serious research right there. I might also add that if you stare at a pie in the window sill, you probably are more tempted to eat pie.

Sometimes I think that such logic should be applied to the insurance industry. They collect premiums from their insured; Their premiums result in profits,  unless they pay more in claims than they collect in premiums. Therefore, is there a reason that insurance companies want to quickly pay claims? Yes, I think there is a pie temptation in the window that cannot be ignored.

For some reason, pic o’ day reminded me of my crazy blog logic today:

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