This week’s insight is going to challenge the way you read other people’s emotions as it brings into question whether the way you and I generally do it is, in fact, the most effective.
The insight is based on research undertaken by psychologists at Yale University’s School of Management over in the US who undertook numerous experiments with over 1,700 volunteers testing their abilities to accurately guess the emotions of those who they were interacting with. The researchers varied the environments in which the experiments took place, including undertaking them in complete darkness.
The results were fascinating as they indicated that removing the ability to be able to see the other person actually INCREASED the accuracy of those guessing the emotion of their partner. It led the authors to suggest that we find it easier to hide our emotions with our facial expressions than we do with our voice and that listening to someone is in fact a far more effective way of gauging their emotions.
Now, this insight leaves me in a rather unusual situation of suggesting that, in certain circumstances, you DON’T meet face to face and that choosing to speak on the phone rather than in person may, in fact, help you more accurately empathise with them.
I hope this insight proves of practical use and I’ll be back next week with some more meetology® – helping you thrive professionally and personally by making people skills one of your superpowers.
Have a good 7 days,
Kraus, Michael W. 2017. “Voice-only Communication Enhances Empathic Accuracy”. PsyArXiv. February 13. doi:10.1037/amp0000147.