Sunday, August 8, 2021

Book Report

  The Influential Mind, by Tali Sharot 

    Tali Sharot is a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the university of London where she runs an "affective brain lab", investigating the neuroscience of motivation and emotion. Her book "The Influential Mind" explains the phenomenon of influence (changing others minds) from 3 different perspectives (a) Why we often fail to influence others, (b) What we can do to influence others, (c) How to recognize when others influence us. The book covers different techniques to influence and guide human behavior. "What the brain reveals about our power to change others."

    One of the core elements of Sharot book is "The sense of control" or "agency". The author strongly points out that eliminating or reducing ones sense of control leads to anger, frustration and resistance. Thereby reducing chances of any influence. On the other hand, enhancing peoples sense of control over choices being presented makes them more content and motivated. I thought about this core element as it relates to covid 19. We've had no end of fear mongering about the dread of covid since March 2020. The news doing nothing but brining on stress, fear and sadness leading to depression while people are at home isolated. 

    The media did not report on certain things during the briefings, horrible things left unmentioned, like the number of opioid overdoses and how drastic they increased from lockdowns, or the number of people out of work and businesses going under, young learners failing dangerously behind in math and reading skills. One has to question the effectiveness of lockdowns and to point out their harm. I feel the cases will go up again this fall, as will fears, but i doubt we will lockdown again. The more data that comes out about the destruction brought by lockdowns, the harder it will be to use fear to persuade Americans to embrace them again. 


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