« Freakonomics Radio

451. Can I Ask You a Ridiculously Personal Question?

2021-02-10 | 🔗

Most of us are are afraid to ask sensitive questions about money, sex, politics, etc. New research shows this fear is largely unfounded. Time for some interesting conversations!

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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That's if flash then no spaces, listen instead, sure ass, all the serious ex em up or wherever you got your PA tasks. Stephen W before we get to today's episode. Did you a new year's resolution this year. What was it, how does it worked out so far Have you had more luck with previous resolutions or maybe less we would like to know for an upcoming episode. Make a brief. Voice memo on your phone, send it to radio at for economics, dot com. Subject: line fresh dark. Please include your name where you're from and what you do thanks and now here is today's upset one reason I love to do. What I do is because a I'm curious,
I'm guessing you are as well, but also be unfairly shy, or at least I used to be not sure I ever really outgrew it shy and curious. Is it combination. There are answers you want to know, but you're not always comfortable, asking the questions these days, the internet, big help. You can learn a lot from the comfort of your keyboard, but there are still it Agents were you really need to ask another human being a question. Sometimes a sensitive question. That's one reads: when I became a writer, it gives you permission to ask. I once interviewed TED Kosinski, the Unabomber at his supermax prison in Colorado. One question I asked him was whether he considered himself: Clinically insane. I'm not saying this was a good question. Certainly wasn't it and a question. I'd feel comfortable, asking outside of an interview. Context, Kosinski didn't seem at all bothered by the question he was happy to explain why he wasn't in saying, but I will admit
in my normal everyday life. It still hard to ask sensitive questions, and apparently it's hard for you to. We did a call out too for economic radio listeners high there, I'm pricey, which is a fake name? This is also a fact accent, money Missus Greggory and I work first small construction firm. I my husband, is an atheist and I've always wanted to ask his parents who are deeply religious if they think it would have been better to have a board at him, thereby sending him to Heaven rather than have him lived the life that is currently living in which their religious beliefs dictate that he is likely going to hell if he dies? My sensitive question that I always want tonight I work in a large bank. I always wanted I what everyone ends. I think that this information is really important. Sorry, that there is no unfair pie. But if I turn our someone at creating a good moment, our boss, the got you
The construction company is given up their age, and none of us know what would happen. if he were to die or to get coded lily. My job hangs in the balance. But I have no idea how to ask the representative question sites like that, since in question to be answered for everyone. would it be nice to know more about sensitive questions, for instance, exactly how strong is our avoidance end? Is that generally good thing or a bad thing? when you do, ask a sensitive question: how comfortable, does it make the other person feel and what missing out on by swallowing so many of our sensitive questions. The good news is that academia being the wonderfully weird place it is, has people who have been studying these very questions, high ironing out part
hurt is a cognitive scientist who teachers in the school of business at George Mason University, and what I care about is how people navigate difficult conversations and how we handle conflict in what context you mean that, in personal context, a business context, political context, but they all the above, but when I came back situations where both parties have an influence on each other's outcomes, so you could think of negotiations. You can think of even everyday conversations and conversations in business contacts as well Hurt grew up in Israel Herpes
the is from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. They tend to be a bit like lengthened, potentially advised in polite american society. Can you think of a question that is not considered sensitive in the? U S, but is in Israel potentially politics, although nowadays nothing is off the table it anywhere today. On for economics, radio, the science of assented questions will talk about the questions. We usually ask each other. What are your job responsibilities? What do you think about the weather? The questions we wanna ask each other heavy ethically cried. Have you ever had an affair reviews on abortion, and whether we should all be trying to move from the first kind of question to the second that's coming up and after this I'm happy,
this is written. comics radio, the podcast but explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stephen. Abner So, what's the difference between a sensitive question, an offensive question answered a question. I think offensive question bakes in the consequence aware, as a sensitive question can be something to do with a topic that is potentially combustible or that we don't talk about light, but not necessarily offensive or say so
If you ask someone how much they're paying rent that's a country sensitive topic, what, if I said, what do you pay so much and rent there's the offensive version of the sensitive question? Potentially, I don't think that's the most offensive you can go, but I haven't like you sure you make enough money to pay that rent is that offensive you have a horn you can blow. When I get to offensive about this, how did it idiot like you make enough money to pay the rent and my very at work, the more curse. Wordsworth derogatory remarks you throw in back of work. I see ok so like What king idiot? You are to pay so much? money Frisch pole of any part in it, and that was
even a question, but it was offensive. Yes, yes, yes, you couldn't. We defend people. Ok enough heart is a good sport, but our goal today is not to ask questions at our outright offensive It is to figure out what turns irregular question into a sensitive one and whether it is still worth asking. We should probably start by thinking about why we ask questions period. There are many business? You want information, your curious, maybe you're bored, maybe you're really interested in the person you're talking to, or at least one a signal that you're interested or maybe your question It is meant to signal that you yourself are an interesting person asking questions about questions. This is something in her heart and her academic collaborators enjoy here her collaborators in this case are I'm Eric Van UPS. I'm an assistant
aye, sir of marketing, at the University of Unita. I'm right Schweitzer? Professor, the wooden school, unlike Heart Van UPS and Schweitzer, both grew up in the? U S, Schweitzer in California, in apps, mostly in Nebraska, I think Nebraska, its into this category of Midwest nice, where were often pretty on. notable sharing a lot of information or asking a lot of questions when you move across in places in the? U S, let alone oversees the different norms of conversation and what tends to be sensitive and potentially offensive at long conversations about waste study different norms where in many parts of the world asking questions like when you replying to have kids, why you married yet how much money do you earn quest
that for Americans might seem very sensitive in other places, would not be. There is very little research that actually looks at what questions. People are in fact willing to ask as a researcher, this represents a gorgeous stretch, a virgin territory with important consequences. How do we navigate these trade offs between the information? We want an actually not offending or annoying someone else so hard, Schweitzer and Van upset about to conduct a study that could examine the types of questions that people feel comfortable end. The comfortable asking what it would take to get people to ask more uncomfortable questions, and what would happen if they did? The first thing they had to do was determine what exactly is a sensitive question. Yeah, we use a definition that sentence. Questions are questions about topics that are uncomfortable to discuss are inappropriate for the social context.
Or are about information that respondents would rather keep private okay? So that's a definition but which questions would agree. in person consider inappropriate, for instance, to find out the researchers ran surveys on the mechanical Turk crowd sourcing platform, better known as M Turk. It is hardly the most representative sample in the world, but this is how a lot of research is done. These days, the researchers asked participants to rank of variety of questions from. east to most sensitive but see how you would rank them. Here's one batch of questions. What do you think the weather, heavy remote alarm. How'd you get to work. Are your morning person and here's another batch. Have you ever had financial problems you ever had an affair? How much is your salary? Do? You were? Have you ever gone to therapy? I imagine this people listening
this clingy feeling about either asking these or being asked these and that's what we're trying to get at once. The researchers had a pool of questions ranked by sensitivity. They ready to test them with what turned out to be a series of five experiments: the first one again using participants from M Turk sorted three hundred and sixty people in two pairs that would have online conversations by text. Half of them would ask questions the other half would answer the Oscars were then split into. Ray groups and had to pick their questions from the pool of questions that had already been ranked by sensitivity. Essentially, we force them to pick questions or other mostly sensitive, mostly not sensitive or something of a mixed in the middle. The research subjects were then asked to predict how their conversation partners felt.
About being asked these questions and the wheels or other counterpart after they had a conversation rate. How uncomfortable a conversation was This was something the researchers would do throughout the whole series of experiments. We wanted to see. What do people think would happen if they ask sensitive question, and by what would happen, I mean what, with the other person feelin, what were the other pursued? Think about them in this experiment? People were not particularly uncomfortable asking sensitive. questions and the respondents comfort levels were fairly similar across the three conditions, but members, These are anonymous online text. Conversations between M Turkey's didn't know, each other would likely never communicate again. The second experiment still using M Turk added a pair of wrinkles. The first was the use of financial incentives, although they were so tiny less than a dollar, but you have to wonder how
the powerful they would be. The second wrinkle was the introduction of what are called impression management concerns. So I can, approach interactions, be they with strangers. With friends with passes. We want to leave a good impression. We want the other side to think nice, positive things about you and you don't want them to think
that you're a terrible per cent or that you really underway in this experiment. There were three groups of question asks. The first group would be paid more if their conversation partner thought better of them by the end of the experiment. The second group would be paid more if they made their partner uncomfortable, and the third group was the control condition, which was not signed a conversational goal. What we see is that people, when they weigh incentivize to create discomfit, chose almost all sensitive questions here. Asking about abortion and about sexual preference says about bank accounts everything, and how about the group that was paid to leave a good impression. They stuck to neutral, safe topics. What about the control group, people in the control condition were very close to the good impression condition.
We suggest, but people, even if not given any specific goal. Thinking very much about the impression and not so much about the interesting were sensitive conversation. This result may not surprise you. Most of us want other people too, like us, and it would seem obvious that were more likeable. If we don't ask sensitive questions. On the other hand, these were anonymous virtual conversations. You might think it simply be more interesting, more fun to ask the so called sensitive questions, but this experiment suggests that most people don't think that way or perhaps We are so condition to not as sensitive questions that, even when allowed we don't their line of things that could affect whether people choose sensitive questions. People can have alive.
It was when they enter into a conversation so pantry had we incentivize people to have a more interesting conversation or to get as much information as they can. That would also potentially lead people to prefer sensitive questions over nuclear ones. Or if you want to amuse yourself or amused the other person back, they also affect what passions you ask for the next experiment. the researchers recruited a couple hundred students from the University of Pennsylvania, all the participants had to do was select the questions. They were going to ask a conversation partner again from the pool of questions ranked by sensitivity. Five of these questions were ranked as sensitive. The wrinkle here was at some parties We were told their conversations would happen in person, and so a mine once again,
There were financial incentives, thirty or forty cents for each sensitive question. They chose verses, just five or ten cents for a nonsense. If question again, the money is so tiny, it's hard to imagine, at least for me that it would matter much the fact that they could have earned a few extra dollars yeah, I think that's a modest incentive. In this case still you do get paid three or four times as much much for picking sensitive question. So what happened? Importantly, in both condition, People are leaving money on the table, so to speak. Most people are not choosing to ask all five sensitive questions and maximize their payments are choosing some combination of sensitive, a non sensitive questions, ostensibly because the pay It isn't enough to overcome some of the problems that they might have with asking particular sensitive questions. They could be reduced
Wanna make other people uncomfortable it could be. We just feel embarrassed to do it, but I think what so interesting is that, even with the very explicit economic incentive, there is still an aversion to them. again, we should acknowledge just a small. The stakes were here: you Imagine a lot of situations in real life where you may overcome this aversion to asking sensitive questions, for instance, is the founder of the start up or I might take a job as big a jerk as I've heard is the person I'm about to marry. A hundred percent over her x is My teenager really going to a friends house tonight to study, as we like to say around here, incentives matter in scale matter, There are a lot of things you would not do for ten dollars that you might four hundred,
and the list gets much longer. If I offer you a million dollars anyway for the next experiment in study, Part Schweitzer and an apt wondered if they could alleviate the concern that people have about sensitive questions by deflecting responsibility away from the question asked maybe I can get you to be more likely to ask sensitive questions if the responsibility for questions selection is instead given to the computer. This experiment was done in person face to face with More than two hundred fifty students at again the Universe Pennsylvania, just as the people who use em Turk are not a particularly representative,
collation, nor are Ivy League students. Still. This was what the researchers had access to. Once again, the participants were split into groups. Question asks errors and respondents. Then the respondents were further split. Half of them were told that a computer, picked the questions they were going to be asked. The askern knew the respondents were given these instructions but in reality all the asker is picked their own questions. The real searchers suspected? They would be more willing to ask sensitive questions if the respondents thought the computer had done the picking. We actually didn't find that we found across those conditions. People are choosing a similar number of sensitive questions to ask and the number is quite low, and so this,
reluctance to as sensitive questions is robust even to a manipulation where we kind of absolve you of the responsibility for asking the questions, suggesting that you are actually quite worried about how comfortable your partner is rather than completely selfishly worried about whether it's gonna reflect badly on you. This raises perhaps the most interesting questionable how comfortable is the partner? How does the person being asked a sensitive question feel about being asked tat question: that's what the researchers really trying to get at by now. As the study reached its crescendo because in our daily lives, most of us aren't just asking questions of strangers its people, we know so in the fifth and final experiment we contrasted talking with friends versus strangers.
We are treated student participants from a university lab pool. I we ask them to come with a friend to the lab, but they were either chatting that their frank or chatting with a stranger someone else's spent. So there are two conditions friend to friend, stranger, the stranger. In both cases, the participants all had the same list of sensitive questions to ask if you we found it when you have a conversation with friends, you're a little bit more receptive little more, open to ask them sensitive questions, because I know my friend better. I have a better plan. Action of how they will respond. How much more willing our people to ask their friend sensitive question here is oh, the researchers answer that question: it is the somewhat smaller overestimation four friends, meaning and overestimate of whether a sensitive question will bother the friend, but even still it is an old
restoration of how uncomfortable they will be and how bad an impression I making so here's what the series of experiments shows. Most people think that asking a sensitive question will upset the person being asked and that will make that person have a worse impression of the asker, but neither of those turns out, are substantially true. People are less likely to ask sensitive questions because they think sensitive questions would offend their conversation partner and in fact they were far more comfortable. Then the ask is both anticipated and then thought afterwards. People are generally live ass offended and care less about being asked, says of question. Then we think they would be as an ash growth, Algarve crew, a rule on favourable impression, but then the reality is the respondents there actually happier
these conversations, in other words, according to the study by heart, Schweitzer and envelops. Our reluctance to ask sensitive questions is just right. on or at least wildly misplaced. We find that people often don't ask the important questions. They should be asking I think part of it is figuring out what kinds of questions we should be asking to make sure that we ask them and make sure that we get the answers. Questions like how much money do you were? How does your commission work questions that if I care about the impression that I'm creating on you, I might avoid asking but would be really valuable after the break? What are You can do about this and by failing to ask certain questions, what have you missing out on having relations with my dad that I have never had before
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I am giving Jacobs and I'm Deanna reasonable. We ve got a new podcast called. If then worry politically taught to scientists engineers NASA folks, just a bunch of really smart, curious people about cool stuff. Gillian. I think most people know you from your work on love and community, and most people would know you as forensic scientists, Casey Heinz on Anti I ass, so we were both but what most people don't know is that we're both really curious and passion? about stem. If we have a more the first outlook and how we look at science and engineering and technology and map. Then what this is possible. I gotta go when I get to speak to these people get a chance tat back into my curiosity excitement. You know that I have a kid about all these topics so come on this journey with
as we learn from some of the poorest smartest people in their fields. If, then, is out now just search, if slash than to find the show that, if slash then no spaces, listen in stature apple, the serious Ex m F or wherever you get your PA casts. There are questions. Many of us would like to ask dont here- are a few sent in by air listeners hello. My name is John. I work for burial, our multinational company. My name is Jane from the Mine Iowa. My name is the one who were living, Brownsville, very historic, Black Naples, on the south side of Chicago. My question is our white people deep deep down. ok, what the world that we have. I want us my wife, why she doesnt remove her? upper lip hair, she material Leslie manages the shape of her eyebrows and is welcome
Otherwise, with the recent elections, it very clear that our nations divided half so, whether someone on my own team or someone with him at the carbon next to us, we know that there must be some one has voted for some. We have very strong opinions against out. I want to know if there's a way to really ask a co workers who they voted for them. How do you not become yelp, somewhat the bias towards them on their beliefs and how do you professionally navigate them now that last question illustrated the potential downside of asking sensitive questions, because you may not want to turn your workplace into a non stop political debate, some sense questions are plainly Dornier than others in a recent paper called the better than expected consequences of asking sensitive question
the researchers enough heart, Maurice Schweitzer and Eric Van Apps ran a series of studies that examined how people ask and respond to sensitive questions. Here again is heart. She teaches at George Mason University. We show that people I pillage averse to ask it has if questions, because they fear leaving a bad impression on the counterpart, which is actually a biased view of the world. In that respondents, in our studies, really gel care as much you also write. The hour of to asking sensitive questions is costly. If you had not asked me about how much I payment or potentially my salary, you wouldn't the work that you should ask for more yourself or pay less in rent, and so there is the info regional gain, as well as relationship building potential for human
in that we owe rescue me the impact of a potentially sensitive question. How much is that related to the fact that humans are pretty bad at predicting the future generally, and that may be? This doesn't have so much to do with sensitive questions per se. Pairs definitely part of that, but this is a very specific direction. you could imagine a really bad predicting what happened. So let me just ask these questions and hope for the best, and that's not will we see when we see the Smiths Protection even after the conversation, I'm curious, if that relates to what psychologists call the spotlight effect. This idea that we tend to overestimate how much
other people pay attention to us and how much should we as individuals, actually matter in the scheme of things? I think it could very well be related to that. We didn't test that directly, but what's interesting is that we also find that he's misperceptions occur both when we think about having the conversation beforehand and even after the conversation itself, I think we go through life really focused on ourselves and that is Maurice Schweitzer who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania were focused on our own actions. We think our actions have an exaggerated influence on other people were trying to forecast and take perspective and both of those things thinking into the future. And putting yourself in somebody else's shoes,
extremely hard. Those are two things that humans have some capacity for, but we constantly fall short and I think the one consolation is that it's just human and humans, being the complicated and opaque creatures we tend to be are full of cognitive, biases and errors. So how big a deal is this new research? Does this mean we should all start asking every question the pops into our head? maybe not yet. This is the tip of the iceberg, and this is an initial foray into this area of what questions are people actually willing to ask and why While it is a very nice and deeply interesting study, It's also got a long list of limitations. As we noted earlier, the research subjects, college students and am Turk,
users they represent narrow slices of the population. Since many the expense we're done online with anonymity they dont represent the real life environments we most care about, although, as heart points out alive, our conversations especially now going obeyed, I happening over chats and with strangers, and so I don't think this is experience. That's that far removed from alive. Our interactions, nor did the researchers focus on individual differences that might be useful to know like ethnicity or gender differences. Why can t we actually did not find it? France, between men, women. I think that also because we're all strangers online- and so you dont know also if your account a part is a man or woman and they got no bad about you. Do you know
you think I could you suspect anything about age, for instance, I think of teenagers is being really willing to ask questions at some people interpret as sensitive. I also think that some older people are like screw it. It's too late. I'm just gonna ask it: do you see any age relationships we don't buy. Also our population was very limited, an age to point. I think. Yes, kids are known to ask a lot of questions after their head, kids are still developing their prefrontal cortex. That guides conclude behaviors and adherence to other norms in society in aspect also elderly people, their prefer the cortex, usually tents and degrade as well. so to your point, the other concern over what other people think of them. As probably lower, at least if my grandma is a good pace,
Nor did the study get into the area that first got heart, Schweitzer and Van apps thinking about the subject, how people in different cultures ask and answer different kinds of questions, but here's what heart thinks, while that set of sensitive topic SEC machines can vary clay lie across cultures. I think the arrival mechanism is the same where we just don't want to ask things that we think are counterpart will perceive ass. To do so hard and her co authors having hit the Tipp of this interesting iceberg now have a long list of follow up research to do. How do we behave across different groups and cultures and with different new ones? Would I be more willing to ask questions if I think you can also asked me telling recurrent and
or are we talking? Where is it someone that we know don't know how much power do they have over us? An initial project looking into involves sensitive questions for specific groups, so you can think of save my shoe lies groups and what questions are we willing to ask or when or why? What questions do we ask of disabled people? What question do we ask of people different racial groups? Do we just want to know where the group lines are and how's our curiosity and value information play out in these settings? There are also questions to be asked about answering sensitive questions, while hearts research shows that peat Oh generally, overestimate the discomfort level. Plainly there are limits, especially when it concerns a private or intimate question. Let's say you are suffering from deep depression and you call a doctor's office. How candid will you be
what if the intake screener is actually a chat, but they are in recently being used in medical settings just like this and elsewhere Ryan Schussler, an assistant professor of info, patient systems that Brigham Young University has been studying, chat, Botz and how people respond to them in one, study. He and his co authors found that the more human a chat bought seems the less likely someone is the answer. Sensitive question truthfully This would seem to be an important finding to consider as chat bought use grows not just in the screening of patients, but even to treat depression, but I think the biggest take away from the research, my heart Schweitzer, and then it is that we should all put ourselves more for conversations that may inevitably include some sensitive questions, because there is a significant opportunity cost of not asking such questions. How significant?
Given the range and variety of sensitive questions and topics, I don't think you could put a number to it. I wish I could buy. There is data to suggest that if you don't know what your salary expectations are and also don't you go gave them. You can miss out on about ten percent. Maybe when I first read this research will entreating so much was thinking about it, not even in the labour markets, but just how much any person can miss out, on opportunities in life. Like oh, you look like a really
trusting person. Can we be friends? I assume that's a question that most people don't ask. Maybe it's not a sensitive question per se, but I'm just sing about the broadest implications of our over sensitivity. Do you have any insights into the same think you can think of these potential gains, or in this case, MRS, if we can t just talking about the weather, we didn't actually learn that much about people and who we like- and we are good friends- are enticed pebble. Imagine a good friend of boys had a personal tragedy? You might be hesitant to ask him about it because again, its sensitive topic and they might be unlikely to talk about it because they also because we want to burden you, but actually both sides might want to talk about it. I have a very dear friend too, had a tragedy involving the loss of a child very young, and he made the note
tat. No one would ask him about it because he assumed they thought he didn't want to talk about it when, in fact, that was only one to talk about avoiding the question also means that we don't learn but this is actually fine or even a good idea to ask We're missing often some really port information that is Schweitzer again, so we can think about asking peers for their salaries. When I go to negotiate my salary suppose I just got promoted, I'm going to be at the managerial level. I need to walk into that and know what kind The thing should I be asking for once salary is the right range I might. Without that conversation, Thirdly, Miss operators to say, hey. I should be asking for own parking spot be asking for my own assistant. I should be asking for coaching.
pretty things that I fail to think about, because I haven't had those conversations. Let's see I reader research and believe it that sensitive questions are a good thing to engage in for the asker and the answer, and then I say to you look Maurice just met on the line here, but a while ago. I want to demonstrate the value of your argument, or I want you to back up the value of your argument. Ask me sensitive question that you think will provide good evidence that this argument is worth. So am I to ask you if you do, can you describe the pleasure and pitfalls of writing your first book? What makes you categorize out of this that, if question, why they may have focused on the pitfalls or for a say, Where did you really struggle running your first book? I think that might cast you in a negative light. cause you to reveal some weakness or shortcoming. I think, actually,
it could be reaching launching point for developing it? the understanding and a deeper conversation around something that could be quite useful in hell, Would you measured the efficacy of asking the sensitive question verses? feeling sensitive piece of information about yourself. What we asked questions were almost invariably inviting a reciprocal reply. So I ask you how you weekend was mine, was good end of story, Right, I'm also coming back to the idea that the questions that we ask convey information, I'm demonstrating what I'm interested in I'm giving you a sense of how certain If I'm going to be what sort of knowledge I have you, I guess I'm thinking about seeding thee conversation with more information than just what's contained within the question of years of, for instance, let's say
the child of mine, goes off to college a freshman, and I want to know how their doing like really how they're doing emotionally academically socially. But if I just say, hey How are you doing is everything ok, which I feel are the pro forma questions that will get pro forma answers? What, if I say you know or child of mine. I remember my first couple months. A freshman year end I was miserable. I didn't know how to register for classes. I didn't know how to make friends. I didn't know how to do laundry how's it going with you ill. Is that useful, or is it more useful to just straight up? Ask a question that, as you said, contained some contextual information? So what I like about your approach is that it demonstrates and vulnerability and it's likely make it easier for somebody else to demonstrate some vulnerability. What I say
others having some college age, kids myself, you can ask a question like one last time you went out on a date. That's a more direct, sensitive question right, that's gonna. Give me some insight into like hey, what's what's happening, but I like your approach where I'm making myself vulnerable, I'm sharing information and I'm effectively changing the dynamic of the conversation, the lowers the bar for people to be more forthcoming. What can you tell us about how people feel about being asked questions generally, whether sensitive or non sensitive questions? I'm curious. Could I ask a lot of questions and I always assume that it's taken generally is assigned of curiosity in the person and that most people really like to talk about themselves and their work and their lives. On the other hand, some people seem to just turn right off There is some recent research, the
in general, people love being asked questions, particularly if it's about my very favourite subject in the whole world, which is me asking people questions it demonstrates interest, demonstrates, can turn it can build report relationships and people generally like king, asked questions Just calling somebody up out of the blue and asking them a sensitive question might be really aggressive, are really uncomfortable and that again is Eric Van Apps from University of Utah I've a two year old, son and in the months leading up to his birth, I decided I wanted to do interviews with my parents to hear their oral history of us that we would have a record of that. In that context, I found myself quite It willing uncomfortable asking pretty sensitive questions that we have.
Conversations with my dad that I have never had before, because we had created this framework of we're gonna talk about our lives and we're gonna get things down on paper that we otherwise wouldn't talk about, and so to the extent that we can create opportunities to be an interview or to assign ourselves the role of being on asker of questions. I think that generally makes people or willing to ask a variety of questions, including sensitive questions. I think the best advice would be this and Marie Schweitzer again, if you're on the fence about asking a sensitive question, go for it if it seems like something that just crazy don't do it, but I think he's fine should give people a small part. in the direction of going forward and asking a question, so we know from the litter turned sick.
Ology any economics that what is called loss aversion is real and substantial that the peoples suffer more from a loss in they take pleasure in an equal size gained so from a loss aversion perspective when it makes sense to avoid sensitive questions, because if I asked the question there's a chance, I might blow up the personal relationship or ruin a work relations whereas the gains to be made are in some cases at least not life. Changing. I think that account helps explain why people might not do it. Did I push that further to say first of all, loss aversion is about. as so the fact that we feel more painful, we lose twenty dollars than we gained twenty dollars. That might cause us to be far more risk averse than we should be, and second, what were finding is that that perceived harm is likely to be farmers far smaller than we expect. That is, I think, I'm to make
the extremely uncomfortable? But in fact it's the launching pad an interesting conversation We end up in a much better place as a result. Did we end up in a better place? I mean here today in this episode. Your feedback is always welcome. We are at radio at freak dot com? If you did like this episode, there's another one from our archive, you may enjoy its episode one. Ninety two, it's called that's a great question. It explores why people say that so often, and why the question They were asked, is often not great at all. If you Like the sound of that episode, there are more than four hundred others to choose from. You can now get the complete archive of economics, radio, free and any podcast app and
check out. The other shows in the friggin amongst radio network no stupid questions and people I mostly admire come up. Time on for economics, radio he ran. One of the big companies in the world until it wasn't- and he didn't, I know their people that feel like I let them thou, then I think, but every day my life Jeff, NL, the former CEO of General Electric, on how his hot see when very cold that is next week until then take care of yourself and if you can someone else to Friggin Amis radios produced by sticker and render radio. This episode was produced by marriage. Duke our staff also includes. I was incredible: Mark Mccluskey, Gregg Ribbon, Zack Le Pen, Ski Daphne, Chen met Hickey and immaterial. We had help this week from Jasmine, cleaner
our theme, song is MR fortune by hitchhikers. All the other music was composed by Luis CARE for economics. Radio is available on all pot cast apps and you can also here on many NPR stations across the country. As always, thanks for listening, let's say you had fourteen cats- and I ask you: why do you have so many cats or let me ask it: or offensive way. Why do you have so many cats? Well, maybe I just enjoy the disks, look at my furniture? I don't know, stature.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-09.