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Your Brain is Hooked on Being Right
Old 03-16-2013, 12:58 PM   #1
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Your Brain is Hooked on Being Right

Ever notice some folks that won't settle until getting the last word in?

That may be because we are hooked on being right. I heard about this during a Saturday morning news program. It's them brain chemicals controlling us again

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That's partly due to another neurochemical process. When you argue and win, your brain floods with different hormones: adrenaline and dopamine, which makes you feel good, dominant, even invincible. It's a the feeling any of us would want to replicate. So the next time we're in a tense situation, we fight again. We get addicted to being right.
Your Brain Is Hooked on Being Right - Judith E. Glaser - Harvard Business Review
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:06 PM   #2
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Nice link. Thanks easysurfer.

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We get addicted to being right.
Never thought about it that way but I seem to feel better about myself when I know that I am correct and the other guy has taken a different stance. I guess I get a shot of euphoria at the victory and become defensive about my position as I don't want to get a minus euphoria ding. I know all of this behavioral psychobabble ("minus ding") may confuse some. But my idea is correct.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Ever notice some folks that won't settle until getting the last word in?

That may be because we are hooked on being right. I heard about this during a Saturday morning news program. It's them brain chemicals controlling us again



Your Brain Is Hooked on Being Right - Judith E. Glaser - Harvard Business Review
This is a very important observation. I used to joke that I would rather be dead than wrong, and unfortunately it was not a complete joke.

I have used this board to try to learn other approaches, and I think I have improved, but frankly it is still one day at a time. When the other drops his left, and bang here comes your hook, short term it feels good.

Ha
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:15 PM   #4
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:15 PM   #5
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I saw the story on CBS this morning too. Thanks to my Dad and career at least in part, unfortunately I battle the urge all the time, sometimes with success, and sometimes not. For me it's truly a jumbled mix of wanting to be first-helpful-right, the CBS story mentioned all that. They provided some suggestions for improvement, we'll see. Hopefully I'll get better as I mellow age keep working on it...
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:24 PM   #6
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Very funny! Thanks.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:25 PM   #7
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I'm addicted to CBS This Morning

I remember one time back in the days of w*rking, I had the graveyard shift as we had some critical jobs running that needed monitoring. So, during the wee hours of the morning (around 2 am) we had this conference call.

Can you imagine that? Not only the need to be right, but also crabby folks from lack of sleep. The conference call turned towards a shouting match and had me thinking, there are lot of psychological dynamics going on here
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:04 PM   #8
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Fortunately, none of this is a problem to me. I'm always right, so I don't NEED to be right.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:51 PM   #9
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Wow, I sure saw myself in this article.

I am pretty sure I was addicted to being right around the house about as much as I was at work, in fact it probably carried over from work to home more than I would like to admit. For those times I gave in to "fight" around the house, I wish I could undo the damage I know it caused. Wish I'd seen this article 10 years ago - although I probably would have been too stressed out to recognize myself in it then.

I do find myself consciously not arguing for the sake of being right these days - I'm much better at picking the important battles, which are much fewer and farther in between. I think being less stressed definitely helps with this as well.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:01 PM   #10
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In addition to your own brain chemistry, there are cultural factors to consider. I work in a competitive environment, where it is often safer to argue a bad point to the death, then give up and publicly admit you're wrong. Strenuously arguing a wrong-headed position actually seems to garner more respect than admitting to error.

In fact, I have known senior government and military people who refused to admit to me when they were clearly wrong and I was right - instead, they had their underlings apologize to me at third hand.

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Old 03-16-2013, 08:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
In addition to your own brain chemistry, there are cultural factors to consider. I work in a competitive environment, where it is often safer to argue a bad point to the death, then give up and publicly admit you're wrong. Strenuously arguing a wrong-headed position actually seems to garner more respect than admitting to error.

In fact, I have known senior government and military people who refused to admit to me when they were clearly wrong and I was right - instead, they had their underlings apologize to me at third hand.

Amethyst
Sweeet environment. I hope your pension is worth it.

Ha
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:34 PM   #12
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Interesting article, but the author is wrong!!!



j/k


Seriously, some of this takes place, but I feel some of the explanations are misguided. For example:

Quote:
When you argue and win, your brain floods with different hormones: adrenaline and dopamine, which makes you feel good, dominant, even invincible. It's a the feeling any of us would want to replicate. So the next time we're in a tense situation, we fight again. We get addicted to being right.
Fine, and we can compare that to anything competitive - winning at a sport or cards or a trivia game or anything. Sure it makes you feel good!

But I think it is out of context. What if you won by cheating? Would you feel good? And if you 'win' an argument even though you knew you were wrong, isn't that like cheating? So I think the 'feel good' response should be limited to 'winning' an argument because, as in a fair competitive sport, you were truly superior - not because you cheated. And as in sports, a good winner is gracious to the 'loser'. We don't deny the winner of the race their excitement over winning, why not the winner of an argument? Physical superiority is to be celebrated, but mental superiority must be hid under a basket?

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The body makes a chemical choice about how best to protect itself in this case from the shame and loss of power associated with being wrong and as a result is unable to regulate its emotions or handle the gaps between expectations and reality.
Again, that does happen. But often the best protection is to be able to admit you are wrong. Maybe you are faced with a sudden emergency (say a grease fire), and you go to throw water on it. Someone yells 'No! Not water on a grease fire!'. The best thing you can do is quickly realize/admit you were wrong, and find something to smother the fire. Arguing that you are right and sticking to your guns is going to work against you.

Maybe I'm just wired different, but I actually appreciate someone pointing out that I'm wrong. Like the grease fire, I learn and am better off for it. Why live under some false idea of what is right? How does that help me?

-ERD50
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:46 PM   #13
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When I lose an arguement I always learn something from it. I look at that as a very valuable experience. I enjoy competing in sporting events and especially like trivia contests and doing well in them. To me arguments are no fun win or lose.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:14 PM   #14
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Naturally I'd rather have been born rich or destined to inherit money, but as a 3rd choice...the pension sure beats a sharp stick in the eye.

As for the environment, one must learn to be "in it, but not of it."

Amethyst

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Sweeet environment. I hope your pension is worth it.

Ha
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:54 PM   #15
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Ever notice some folks that won't settle until getting the last word in?
Not before I became a member here.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:16 PM   #16
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But I think it is out of context. What if you won by cheating?
Cheaters never win. I know that you learned that in first grade.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:53 PM   #17
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Fortunately, none of this is a problem to me. I'm always right, so I don't NEED to be right.
I am not always right. I made a mistake. Once. I thought I was wrong, but I wasn't
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:36 PM   #18
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I always though this was a female trait, but reading the comments here I obviously was wrong.
Not that I mind, I was right once in an argument with the wife and have lived to regret it ever since
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:54 AM   #19
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Being right is not always worth the cost, i.e. other people feeling inferior or feeling like they lost. Not my style.

Mr B and I joke with each other about the "you're right" thing. We make little side bets
on who is right about something we disagree on and then go google it.

Life is too short for arguing over trivia.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:53 AM   #20
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Being right is not always worth the cost, i.e. other people feeling inferior or feeling like they lost. Not my style.
Depends how you go about it. If all you are trying to do is 'win' , then yes, that can make the other person feel inferior. But if you aim to educate, you may be doing that person a big favor. What good is it to live under a false assumption? That can have a very high cost.

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