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Deciphering Reactions to a Change of Plans

22 Jul 2010

While exploring the relation between change and response, I struggled with how best to frame such a general idea. My thoughts gravitated to the floor decision making framework of psychology, and the key observable of personality.


The decision making portion of reaction is driven by intuition, experience, reason, and analogy. We have three broad categories of response to a change in expected plans:




Motivation for a specific outcome, the importance of the planned goal, and the relationship between collaborators all weigh into the decision making aspect of reactions to change.


How Personality Relates to Reactions




A course measure of persona is to look at an average response to change. On average people are predisposed to react in a manner that reflects their personality. We have two poles of emotional response




Most of us have personalities which drift between roid rage and ice man, but most of the time we identify with one pole over the other. Final fantasy game mechanics nailed this idea with breakpoints. We all start out calm but as events push against our desired outcomes, we become increasingly frustrated.


Retraining Instincts




The subtitle is a bit of a misnomer, as we can't directly hack our proclivity to change response. But we can observe and eventually influence ingrained habits*. Drawing an analogy from addiction:The first step to breaking addiction is recognizing you have a problem. The first step to optimizing your reaction to unexpected change is knowing your default reaction.


* = Hacking Minds, Leverage Your Habitual Nature