Thin Slicing

Refers to the ability of our unconscious to make accurate judgements based on experiences to evaluate patterns, situations, behaviours, etc when confronted by very narrow slices of information). Sometimes it is called having the "6th sense"; some people who were said to have it were brilliant military generals like Napoleon and Patton; billionaire investor George Soros.

From US research, some examples of thin slicing include

. John Gottman's work involves studying a few negative emotions can to predict whether a couple will stay together or not. The main negative emotions are defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism and contempt; with the last being the most important. If one or both partners are showing contempt, then the marriage is doomed.

"...Looks closely at indirect measures of how the couple is doing: that telling traces of emotion flickered across one person's face; the hint of stress picked up in the sweat glands of the palm; a sudden surge in heart rate; a subtle tone that creeps into an exchange..."

Malcolm Gladwell, 2005

. More work by John Gottman showed that a quick glance at an individual's private space or their belongings, like what is in the medicine cabinet, on the bookshelves, in their bedroom, in their laundry basket, what is hanging on their walls, etc will give you enough understanding to create an accurate opinion about the person's personality. You don't need reams of information and/or to meet them frequently.

. Nalimi Ambady's work has shown that the most important indicator of whether a doctor will be sued depends on how they talk to their patients, ie their tone of voice, not malpractice. It revolves around a matter of respect. The simplest way to communicate respect is through tone of voice.

"...if the surgeon's voice was judged to sound dominant, the surgeon tended to be in the sued group. If the voice sounded less dominant and more concerned, the surgeon tended to be in the non-sued group..."

Malcolm Gladwell, 2005


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