Three Reasons Why We Care

Evolutionary psychology suggests that being kind-hearted to those we don’t know isn’t a natural instinct. Quote by Author Michael McCullough

What’s our kindness to strangers rooted in? Look to these three R’s:

  1. Reciprocity – a social instinct to help others in hopes of receiving help in return.
  2. Reputation – a social instinct to help others though ultimately in pursuit of self-glory, i.e., appearing virtuous.
  3. Reasoning – an intellectual determination that there are beneficial incentives for doing so.

What’s the difference between the first two R’s and the last one? Reciprocity and Reputation go strictly back to “me”: either wanting to attract allies so we can be safer and happier (Reciprocity), or wanting to feel better about ourselves (Reputation). The third R, Reasoning, offers plenty of overlap with the first two R’s, but ultimately comes down to a hard-edged cost/benefit analysis, stripped of emotion. You’re after prosperity, and the more resources you have the lower will be the relative cost of helping others.

For instance, you might aid trading partners down on their luck, figuring they will then be in a position to buy more from you later on if revitalized. The bottom line, McCullough argues, is that human beings aren’t readily given to helping strangers. It often takes the addition of the harsher 3rd R to push us toward being “kind.”

The world’s great religions–and the Golden Rule–were born as the volume of people our ancestors were interacting with was growing rapidly. Today, international trade is helping to drive the value of being seen as trustworthy even higher.

The Historical Progression of Empathy

Released today: episode #25 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Michael McCullough, the author of The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Michael McCullough is a professor of psychology at the University of California San Diego. He’s a fellow of both the American Psychological Association as well as the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. This episode first covers why people practice empathy and compassion, followed by seven stages of history whereby compassion became more generally practiced, and why.

Dan Hill, Ph.D, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Be Psycho-Logical

What’s better in business, and life, than always trying to be logical? It’s to be psycho-logical. Here are five insights from Rory Sutherland’s book for you to reflect on:

  1. Gain a competitive advantage by spotting the instances where universal laws don’t apply, and rivals haven’t noticed (yet).
  2. Relying on data can make you blind to important facts that lie outside your model; after all, data reflects the past rather than shines a light on the future.
  3. Being too rationale runs the risk of making you predictable, so competitors can anticipate and prepare for your next move.
  4. Evolution doesn’t care about accuracy, only fitness. So don’t get hung up on accuracy, strive for effectiveness.
  5. Prize understanding people over measuring things. Remember to factor in unconscious motivations as well as post-rationalizations to get a better handle on people’s behaviors, which shape attitudes and not the other way around.
How do animals attract mates and ward off rivals? They signal vitality in ways that cost them physically. Guess what? Consumers do it, too.

Spreadsheets Leave No Room for Miracles

Released today: episode #23 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Rory Sutherland, the author of Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Rory Sutherland is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, a legendary advertising agency. He’s a columnist for The Spectator and a former president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (the IPA). His TED Talks have been viewed over 6.5 million times. This episode covers lots of ground, including how important it is to not use logic as a filter, limiting your ability to notice the quirky patterns in people’s behaviors.

How Do Animals and People Handle Threats?

We’re in the stretch drive now of the 2020 presidential race, and from the debates to other staged events what might we learn from animal nature that applies to human nature? Plenty. Do any of these survival techniques remind you of what happens among candidates and in office politics, too:

  • Exaggerating one’s ferocity (growling, baring teeth literally or figuratively);
  • Puffing up one’s capability or accomplishments (to intimidate others);
  • Being or bluffing about being poisonous (therefore all the harder to conquer and absorb);
  • Engaging in deception (through camouflaging or mimicry of a more powerful ally); and finally
  • Being colorful, bright and intense (verbally or physically) to achieve social dominance.

Never forget that evolution sadly isn’t worried about theoretical questions of right and wrong. What works, wins, and winners-take-all wasn’t invented yesterday.

Animals do it, people do it, and in this case I don’t mean “fall in love.” There are five key
tricks of the trade to coming out on top in office politics.

Or Else: The Use & Abuse of Threats

Released today: episode #22 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring David Barash, the author of Threats: Intimidation and Its Discontents. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Barash is a research scientist and author who spent 43 years as a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, Seattle. He’s written over 240 scientific papers, written or co-written 41 books, and been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This episode covers three key areas: the natural world, individuals and society, and international affairs.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

A Glut of Disgust in the 2020 Race

Joe Biden on stage in Cleveland with Donald Trump who shows lots of disgust on his face during the 1st presidential debate of 2020

Oscar Wilde’s most famous play is The Importance of Being Earnest. But I’m here today to talk about the importance of disgust. Like contempt, disgust is an aversive, rejection emotion. But the two emotions are cousins, not twins. Contempt is an intellectual or attitudinal emotion—signaling distrust and disrespect. In contrast, disgust is the single most visceral emotion—signaling that something is poisonous: literally, physically, something stinks or tastes bad, and/or is morally repugnant.

In Tuesday night’s first—and I pray only—2020 presidential debate, Donald Trump oozed disgust—showing that emotion 10 times more often than Joe Biden. So what, you might say. Well, research shows that conservative people have greater disgust sensitivity. In other words, given their tried-and-true, less experimental nature, conservatives are far more likely to reject what’s new and unfamiliar. That conservative, disgust-sensitivity bias would seem to suggest that Trump was on-track by showing a glut of disgust on Tuesday. When, though, is lots of disgust too much of a bad thing?

Here are Tuesday’s emotional results:

A chart showing the percentage of facially coded emotion Joe Biden and Donald Trump showed during the 1st Presidential debate of 2020. Disgust is dominant and threatening

In short, Trump went emotionally overboard and likely repelled undecided voters, who tend to be less interested in and, hence, more emotionally low-key about politics. Take the President’s constant interruptions of Biden and even the moderator, Chris Wallace, then add that lack of decorum to Trump’s massive showing of disgust and now you’ve got someone whose bully-dominance is telling voters intuitively, emotionally—beyond words alone—that he’s prepared to blow everything up to get re-elected. Right-wing militia types like the Proud Boys might be delighted. Largely apolitical voters as well as female suburban voters are, however, likely to be left both appalled and profoundly uneasy, tilting them in Biden’s favor.

…he’s prepared to blow everything up to get re-elected.

Does It Smell Right?

The sense of smell is the oldest, most powerful sense we have. Its even the origins of the brain, meaning it should be I smell, therefore I think – not I think, therefore I am.

Why Has Hatred Become So Prevalent Today?

Released today: episode #21 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast series, featuring Berit Brogaard, the author of Hatred: Understanding Our Most Dangerous Emotion(Oxford University Press 2020). Listen to the audioclip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Photo of Author Berit Brogaard and the cover of her book "Hatred" featured on Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast episode 21
What is it that makes hatred so addicting?

What is it that makes hatred so addicting?

Berit is a Professor of Philosophy and a Cooper Fellow at the University of Miami. Her areas of research include the topics of perception, emotions, and language. She’s published five books, four with Oxford University Press over the past decade, plus The Superhuman Mind, published by Penguin in 2015.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • The two-fold nature of hatred, which has both a personal dimension and a group dimension to it. Hatred runs hotter and longer than anger, having more intensity and an attitudinal element.
  • How a 6th trait, honesty-humility, is a contender to supplement to the usual Big 5 personality model because it brings into the equation the role of narcissism, and its likely relationship to contempt.
  • How it is that some relatively privileged white men could be so prone to hatred toward women and minorities, with that hatred growing in times of greater economic inequality.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Clues to What You Might Detect on Stage

Photographs of Joe Biden and Donald Trump with arrows pointing to emotional expressions of anger, sadness, happiness and disgust to help TV viewers of the debates make sense of their emotions.

The fantasy is that citizens carefully, rationally, sift through political messages and information, making consciously informed decisions about which candidate to support based on the issues of the day. The reality is that 75% of Americans can’t name all three branches of government, 20% believe the right to own a pet is enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and 10% of our country’s college graduates think Judge Judy is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court.

So don’t think for a moment that emotions and intuitive, gut-reactions and biases don’t drive election results. How best to spot what a candidate is feeling?

Bear in mind that in ambiguous situations—think presidential debates—how we assess what’s being communicated is 55% from the face, 38% from the voice, and merely 7% from the words. Yes, facial expressions matter. So here is my cheat-sheet guide for you to use while watching the first debate on September 29th when the 7% of Americans who have supposedly not made up their minds may instead make up their hearts.

Chart of emotional expressions to look for in the first 2020 Presidential debate of Joe Biden and Donal Trump

Special Upcoming Roundtable Edition of Podcast

Airing on October 2nd will be a special, one-hour edition of my “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast. It features a pair of political scientists, John Hibbing and Jonathan Weiler, who specialize in the emerging field of biopolitics: how our emotions, personality traits and even, perhaps, our DNA can predispose us to a liberal or conservative political orientation. This special edition will focus on how swing-voters in play may have responded to what they saw and heard during the 1st presidential debate.

Images of the book Predisposed by John R. Hibbing and the book Prius and the Pick up by Johnathan Weiler for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight

Is It Expensive To Be Yourself?

Released today: episode #20 of my “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast, featuring Timothy R. Clark, the author of The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2020). Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Image of the Author Timothy R. Clark and his Book The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

How does any organization invite the true, full participation of its members?

Clark is the founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, and ranks as a global authority on senior executive development, strategy acceleration and organizational change. He’s the author of five book, and over 150 articles. Clark earned a doctorate degree in Social Science from Oxford University.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • Why showing respect and granting permission are the keys to unlocking potential.
  • What lies beneath stunning statics like, only 36% of business professional believe their companies foster an inclusive company culture, and only one-third of workers believe their opinions count; whereas, 50% of workers report being treated rudely at work at least once a week.
  • How a leader’s “tell-to-ask” ratio relates to whether that person suffers from the narcissism that limits the effectiveness of so many leaders.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

The Death of Tired Sales Assumptions

Black and white photo of Lee J. Cobb and Mildred Dunnock with arrows to facial expressions and their emotions expressed via facial coding, in the play "Death of a Salesman".
Lee J. Cobb and Mildred Dunnock on stage in Henry Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Two plays have most defined how we see salespeople. One is shown here, from the original staging on Broadway of Henry Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman. There’s rage, but most of all there’s sadness in a drama in which Lee J. Cobb (playing the broken-down salesman Willy Lowman) moans: “The only thing you’ve got in this world is what you can sell.” In vain his wife, played by Mildred Dunnock, tries to comfort him.  

“The only thing you’ve got in this world is what you can sell.”

Lee J. Cobb in Death of a Salesman

What’s the other play? It’s David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Again, rage plays a role but really the key emotion is the fear that gets instilled in a crew of salesmen. From the film adaptation that added the character of Blake, played by Alec Baldwin, here is the movie’s most famous moment: “We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody wanna see the second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is, you’re fired.”

“We’re adding… to this month’s sales contest…first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado…Third prize is, you’re fired.”

Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross

Let’s broaden and update the picture. As Daniel H. Pink pointed out in To Sell is Human, we’re all salespeople. Something like 40% of our time on the job is devoted to cajoling—persuading—selling others on what we would like to see happen.

What’s the real key emotion of effective sales nowadays? It’s surprise: eyes-wide-open curiosity. As Colleen Stanley points out in this week’s podcast, a salesperson who’s constantly learning about prospects, their needs, their hopes, their fears, and how to better connect with them, including online during Covid-19, is who you actually want to hire. Yes, steak knives are for losers but not in the way Blake meant. Serving up spoonfuls of comfort and hope would be more like it.

A Few Sales Tips

Using EQ to Build a Great Sales Team

Released today: episode 19 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Colleen Stanley, the author of Emotional Intelligence for Sales Leadership. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode. 

What does it take to connect successfully with somebody you’re trying to “win over”? 

Stanley is the president of SalesLeadership, a sales development firm. She’s been named by Salesforce as one of the top sales influencers of the 21stcentury and also a Top 30 Global Sales guru.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • In hiring, what should you be on against in both yourself and the job candidate? An eye for the “something” missing that you may or may not be able to resolve is one key.
  • Exploring a variety of buyer personas, including specifically: The Poker Face prospect, The Nitpicker, and The Glad-Hander. How best to dislodge an incumbent vendor so you can make the sale?
  • What is mean by helping a person on your sales team “untell” a story that is hindering that person’s effectiveness.

Dan Hill, Ph.D., is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Why Six to Seven Participants Is Ideal

What size work team is most efficient? Hint: the number of fishermen in this 19th century painting provides the answer. Tom Peters has suggested that teams shouldn’t be bigger than what two large pizzas can feed (about six to seven people). Along those same lines – a listener should ideally be within five feet of a speaker to hear well. Sitting almost shoulder-to-shoulder, that precept limits a group to no more than seven members.

In a year where Learning Pods are sprouting up as private tutors offer in-person learning to small groups of children, I’m following suit. Forget anonymous-feeling webinars; I prefer to foster a sense of community and intimacy, through a highly interactive experience. Until a safe vaccine arrives to save us all, I’m launching EQ Learning Pods capped at six participants each.

The content will cover six areas:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Manager-led Workplace Culture
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Market Research
  • Customer Experience (CX)

The insights presented in these pods arise from my 20+ years of research studies conducted for over 50% of the world’s top 100 companies, plus the information contained in my eight books, speeches, books I’ve been influenced by, and what I’ve learned from hosting great authors on my podcast. The pods have been distilled into 45-minute select portions of content to spur questions and discussion. To learn more, go to www.sensorylogic.com for details, and to enroll. EQ Learning pod sessions are limited to six persons at the cost of $25 a person. I look forward to being your guide!

Deep Listening & Seeing, Deeper Learning

Touching the Soul: Musical and Psychoanalytical Listening

Released today: episode 18 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast series, featuring Roger Kennedy, the author of The Power of Music: Psychoanalytic Explorations. Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Why is music so powerful in eliciting emotions?

Now at The Child and Family Practice in London, Kennedy is a training analyst and past President of the British Psychoanalytical Society. This is his fourteenth book.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • The ability of music to reward close listening because of qualities like movement and the web of interactions involved.  
  • How music can draw on and has parallels to a range of situations, like “baby talk” sounds shared by mother and child, and the sounds animals make (especially in mating rituals). 
  • Discussion of parallels between music and entering a dream state, rich with free association as opposed to a concrete, logically coherent “narrative”

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

“Palace” Intrigue

Researchers who study chimpanzees have found they will forgo food, if need be, to maintain a clear view of their leader’s face. Survival depends on knowing how your boss is feeling. Is now a good time to seek a favor? Or is it best to hide and stay out of harm’s way? Human beings are genetically 99% the same as chimpanzees, and we behave similarly. For us, too, palace intrigue provides both entertaining gossip and vital survival tips.

Let’s start with the entertainment. Anybody who watched the final night of the Republican National Convention last Thursday was treated to Melania Trump revealing her true feelings about Ivanka Trump. Melania’s forced smile turned to lip-curling scorn and a glassy-eyed stare the moment Donald Trump’s favorite child passed by the First Couple to join them at the podium. A jealous rivalry for the president’s affection and attention underlies the moment. That the Donald finds his daughter attractive enough to have basically lusted after her on an episode of Howard Stern’s radio show is an open secret.

As to survival, we’re all screwed if the Donald has his way. The second photo shows Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director Stephen Hahn apologizing for hyping the benefits of a Covid-19 plasma therapy the day after Trump bullied Hahn into doing so. Hahn’s forehead wrinkles make his concern transparent. Add in other shenanigans like preferring not to test asymptomatic people (to hide the dimensions of the pandemic), and you’ve got a serious case of Trump trying to have the government protect his re-election interests over our health interests as citizens. Welcome to the jungle.

Data Manipulation

$3.3 Trillion Dollars of Greed, Fear & Inertia

Released today: episode #17 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast series, featuring Paul Offit, the author of Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too FarListen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Why Do Unnecessary and Often Counter-Productive Medical Interventions Happen So Often? 

Offit is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A prolific author, he’s also well known for being the public face of the scientific consensus that vaccines have no association with autism.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • The degree to which opportunities to make money and avoid law suits drives the behavior of doctors, though inertia and unwillingness to accept advances in knowledge are also common explanations for being at times too active in treating patients.
  • How the marketing campaigns of pharmaceutical companies can warp treatment plans.
  • The conclusions from countless studies that in at least the 15 common medical interventions covered in this book, many patients are better off with more basic, common sense approaches like eating well, exercise, et cetera.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Working Remotely, Feeling Likewise

In The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, there’s the entry: “ALONE, adj. In bad company.” On the packaging of this mock Fisher-Price product offering, the despair of a crying baby is a burden wine promises to relieve. While “Covid-19” will win hands-down as 2020’s Word of the Year, being “remote” from colleagues, from happiness, and from one’s other numbed feelings, should be on the runners-up list. Look at the upside: at least this parody product isn’t cross-branded with Clorox to include ingesting some bleach to solve your woes!

A World of Zooming and Zapping

Another runner-up for Word of the Year in 2020: Zoom, in all its manifestations. For everything from conference calls to being fired.

Communicating Virtually Is Like Eating Pringles Forever

Released today: episode 16 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast series, featuring Nick Morgan, the author of Can You Hear Me? Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Image of Author Nick Morgan and his book cover "Can you Hear Me? How to Connect with People in a Virtual World. The Book cover is blue with yellow and green communication doodles. The title of the podcast episode is Communicating Virtually is Like Eating Pringles Forever.

How can we protect ourselves amid the emptiness and treachery of virtual communication?

Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. He’s written for Fortune 50 CEOs as well as for political and educational leaders, and coached people for events ranging from TED talks to giving testimony to Congress.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • What’s the likeliest way to lose the trust of others during a conference call, and how can you best hope to restore it? 
  • Why are most online webinars a disaster and what kind of format improves them best?
  • If powerpoint presentations are no longer the way to go in selling to prospects in online calls, what’s the alternative?

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Forget Look-Alike, It’s Time for FEEL-ALIKE

Mona Lisa smirking as much as smiling, while also looking sad and angry. Alongside her image, a man with eyes striking wide, mouth ajar, looking frightened.
What is the enigmatic Mona Lisa feeling in Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece? Find out here, plus the emotions shown in Gustave Courbet’s self-portrait The Desperate Man.

Back on May 21st, I posted the blog “For Portraits and Selfies: A Case of Money See, Monkey Not-Quite-Do.” That blog was about people – especially artists – cooped up at home during Covid-19 quarantining, choosing to adopt the poses of famous paintings and photographs. Now it’s your turn. I’m holding a selfies contest in which the winning entry for each image will be chosen based on replicating the expressions shown. The deadline for entries is September 1st. You can submit your entries for either painting or both. Email your entries to dhill@sensorylogic.com.

The two winners will receive a free pass to attend one of the private, virtual lectures that I’m giving in September, based on my recent book First Blush: People’s Intuitive Reactions to Famous Art. The lectures cover findings from my study – the largest ever done involving eye tracking and art, plus the use of facial coding, to capture how participants felt about what they were specifically noticing.

What Is the Emotional Baseline of Republicans and Democrats?

It’s known as biopolitics – research indicating that your political loyalties are often
revealed by which emotions you gravitate to most readily. Watch this video to see if it’s true of you, too, i.e. do you fit your party’s mold?

Exploring Misunderstandings about Trump’s “Deplorable” Fans

Released today: episode #15 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” podcast series, featuring John R. Hibbing, the author of The Securitarian Personality: What Really Motivates Trump’s Base and Why It Matters for the Post-Trump Era (published by Oxford University Press). Listen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Image of Author, John R. Hibbing and his book "The Securitarian Personality" Which has an image of Trump as Uncle Sam on the cover
John H. Hibbing is an expert in the field of biopolitics – how our personality traits and characteristic emotions often reflect our political leanings. This book shows how Trump’s fans are and are not a departure from traditional Republican supporters.

What are the policy implications due to a fundamental distrust and dislike of “outsiders”?

Hibbing teaches political science at the University of Nebraska and has been both a NATO fellow in Science and a Guggenheim Fellow. Media appearances have included Star Talk, The Hidden Brain, and The Daily Show.

Topics covered in this episode include:

  • What are people’s biggest misconceptions about Trump’s staunchest supporters? 
  • How are Trump’s fans different from the Republican party’s traditional base?
  • In a battle over the soul of whether America might be a democracy or an oligarchy in the future, which option might securitarians favor and why?

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.