Beliefs and Motivation

Should you take the band aid off slow or fast?

Dan Ariely shares an interesting story of whether you should take the band aid off slow, or fast.   If you do it slow, the pain is less intense, but over a longer period of time.  If you take the band aid off fast it is more intense, but for a shorter period of time.

You might not think this is an unimportant question, but he debated this with the nurses while recovering from burns over 70% of his body.  Each time the nurses took his bandages off it took an hour,,, and they did it fast.  The nurses had their beliefs about why it was better for him.  After he got out, he engaged in careful research and discovered they were wrong.

They were operating from an assumption and false beliefs.  He discovered that it would be even better to start on his face and head where the pain was most intense, and work towards his feet that were less sensitive.  This way the intensity lessened during the process and creating a sense of relief as it was happening.

What is more interesting is that Dan Ariely studied peoples beliefs about cheating and money as it relates to economics.  He has good insights on how people’s belief systems operate in an environment like Enron, and shady stock trading based on his studies.

It turns out that most people’s morality is flexible depending on their social circumstances.  Check it out.

What I found most interesting was his interview with the nurse that cared for him.  One of her contentions was how she felt taking his bandages off.   She remarked that it was painful for her as well.  If you understand that paradigm of beliefs, then you could see how she would be motivated towards a belief that taking the bandages off faster is better for the patient.  Her beliefs about her self were justified on the patients experience, even though it was not true.

It’s about perspective, and being aware that other people’s experience may not match up to your assumptions and beliefs.

Video from Ted Talks