Aim of this
seminar was to provide a brief introduction to issues in
interpersonal relationships, and some useful knowledge on how to
solve problems when other people are around and impacting in
various ways on our goals.
We worked with
this in the context of applying useful GS formulations to these
We read some
quotes from the book “Mindfulness” on being trapped by:
categories, automatic behaviour and single perspectives.
We also read
“Mindful Learning” about how real life problems have many
solutions unlike classroom exercises.
We reviewed GS
formulations that could help relationships, such as:
structural differential, identification e.g. fact-inference
confusion or map-territory confusion, correct symbolism to fact or
check out the territory, projection, viewpoint / to me,
extensional devices(date, index, etc), circular causality &
positive feedback loops (virtuous and vicious),
punctuation, either/or distortion (degree fix), and
elementalism, e.g. The Cheshire cats grin stayed as the cat faded
away (from Alice in Wonderland).
principles of perception
* We tend
to see what we expect to see.
* We tend
to see what suits our purposes.
* We tend
to see what our background has prepared us to see.
these can change with time and context.
relationship types: cooperation, competition & conflict.
theories from social psychology which relate concern for my goals
v’s concern your goals./yours, with the Managerial Grid theory of
management which looks at concern for people v’s concern for
this was related to Transactional Analysis, I’m OK v’s You’re OK
model of relationship types from passive or assertive, to
With team sports
we have cooperation in the team and competition between teams.
And in some games like chess, people both cooperate to
follow the rules of the game and compete with each other to win.
Game theory with saddle points and specifically Prisoner’s Dilemma
game to show the advantage of cooperation.
The "Tit for Tat" strategy was shown as optimal for the
repeat prisoner’s dilemma game, i.e.
Cooperate at the beginning and then copy other person’s
Responses to conflict:
• Flight: We can
avoid dealing with a conflict by running away.
• Fight: We may
decide to deal with the conflict by confrontation.
The win / lose model.
• Move beyond
conflict: deal with the conflict in a way that solves the problem
and improves our relationship with the other person.
The win / win model via
cooperative problem solving.
There are many
ways to cooperate which include:
else to solve the problem for you, e.g. going to the doctors for a
diagnosis and a treatment plan.
* Group problem solving
size is 3 to 7. Over
7 is too many and 2 often cannot agree.
* Try to
minimise interpersonal conflict
Use diversity to
maximise knowledge and viewpoint i.e. diversity is useful.
A group with 3 experts is often not as creative as a mixed
group of 1 expert, 1 person
of average skill and one beginner.
* Problem Solver –stakeholder
When solving a
problem you need to remember the other stakeholders and their
Stakeholders are concerned with the outcome of the solution but do
not directly help come up with a solution plan.
If you don’t
take them into account, then when you try to implement your
solution plan they may oppose it.
People do not
like bossy or nagging communication.
So we looked at
Nonviolent Communication, which follows the process of telling the
1. What concrete
actions / events that are affecting us.
2. Feelings and
consequences that follow from observed actions / events.
3. Our needs,
values, desires, etc., that along with the events,
we create our feelings from.
about the concrete actions we would like to improve the problem.
We discussed the
"Five Blind Men" with elephant fable as an example of different
use Cooperative Problem Solving, where we shift our viewpoints
from positions to interests.
Positions are what we are trying to get (the solution to
our problem) and interests are why we want them ( problem goals).
Positions are like the ten percent of the iceberg that is
visible above the water, while interests are the ninety percent of
it hidden below the surface.
By moving away from fixed positions to interests, gives one
more flexibility to find new positions both parties might find
Cooperative Problem Solving
1. Accept that
conflicts are normal.
They are inevitable from different ways we abstract and that our
maps are not all of the territory.
conflicts as a resource.
Deal with the problem and the other person in an effective
3. Treat the
other person as a partner and not an enemy.
How can we work this out together to both win?
4. Listen to the
other person to understand their point of view.
the differences in interests and make the most of commonalities to
a) Generate new solutions, i.e.
possible ways (new positions)
to meet everyone's interests.
b) Develop mutual agreements for these
7. Respect the
people and attack the problems.
8. Choose your
approach or as Korzybski might say, behave in a conditional
manner. You have choices about how to manage conflicts. Some
conflicts can be solve by working with the other person.
Some are just not worth dealing with so walk away or just
say "no", i.e. agree to disagree. Other solutions include going to
third parties like a mediator. So
realise that you have choices.
If you planned
the solution to a problem (maybe because it was delegated to you),
you then have to sell that plan to the other stakeholders.
So we looked at social influence methods such as:
Social Influence: One person accepts information from another as
evidence about reality, e.g. when one student who sees another
student, who is known to be bright, mark C on a test question, and
they copy the answer, then ISI has occurred.
(internal reward): We have habits, routines and self expectations
that occur dependably when appropriate cues trigger them.
So if another knows of these, they can provide the cues to
elicit the pattern of thought or behaviour, e.g. advertisers know
that a lot of people associated yellow with lemons and freshness
so they package their air freshener in a yellow can.
control (external reward):
People want to get rewards or avoid punishment.
So sell your problem solution plan on its benefits /rewards
or how it avoids negative outcomes or risks of negative outcomes.
We covered a
series of exercises to develop skills on topics like:
is dead, long live the King”.
Which of the extensional devices does this use?
disagreeing on the P1 => T1 diagram.
This a perennial source of
lively contention for us!
good for you? One expert said NO.
And followed up with more detail by saying that if you
have over 20% protein in your diet, it's bad for you with
respect to a long life.
This means the Atkins and Paleo diets aren't good in
the long run.
Another expert said YES.
This Professor said that red meat 2 or 3 times a week
is OK. As long as
you do not have more than 70 grams/ day on average and that
the serve is not bigger than a 1 cm thick slice that would fit
into the palm of one's hand. So a GS students can resolve this
problem if they use the converging inferences and degree
orientation formulations, and
say that red meat is bad in the long run if you eat too much
but OK in small amounts, as specified.
issue was about amount of time to exercise each week.
One professor said 150 minutes a week was adequate and
that one could do too much exercise. Another professor said
that 450 minutes a week was better and that there was no upper
limit to healthy exercise. We have used viewpoints, converging
inferences and degree formulations to resolve the issue, e.g.
another study on 32,000 Americans taking part in the Health
Professionals Follow-Up Study showed that while 150 minutes of
exercise reduces the risk of diabetes by 34 per cent, 300
minutes a week reduced it by 59 percent.
This implies the optimum amount of exercise is above
150 minutes a week. And there is evidence of too much exercise
like the woman triathlon athlete who got heart problems from
exercising 1800 minutes a week.
So both professors were right under some conditions.
So today we had a new look at lots of familiar material, and
encountered some new concepts and challenges!
The usual: Plans for the year: Dates and places of meetings, international liaisons, finances etc.