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Gut Instincts Quiz: See How to Get Along Better

How well do you understand how gut instincts influence your likes, dislikes, and even your attention span? Want to find out?

Here are nine questions. Some of the answers may surprise you.

1. Do people get along better when talking to each other if they are facing each other or if they are standing side by side?

2. Who tends to face the person with whom they are speaking (men or women) and who tends to stand side by side, facing more or less the same way (women or men)?

3. If you want to increase the chance of knowing if someone is lying to you, what is one helpful phenomenon to notice about that person’s face when he or she is talking to you?

4. If you want to keep someone’s attention, is it better to wear a patterned shirt or blouse or a plain blouse or shirt?

5. What is the most directly emotional of all the senses, bypassing the thinking facilities and causing a quicker, more intense reaction in the limbic (emotions) system than any other sense?

6. Are you more likely to get someone to support you or buy something if you give them something up front, unasked, before you ask for the favor?

7. Who tends to maintain wider peripheral vision when entering a new place, men or women?

8. Who tends to be more specific in their descriptions, adults or children?

9. Of the previous eight questions, which is the one that people are most likely to ask for the answer to first.

Hint: It is the same one that, if you are reading these questions in a group, people are most likely to comment on first.

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Answers to Quiz

1. People get along better when they “sidle” stand or sit side by side rather than when they face each other.

2. Men are more likely to sidle than women.

3. Observe the timing and duration of the first “reactive” expression on someone’s face when you think that person is not telling you the truth.

When lying, most people can put an innocent expression on their faces, yet few (except pathological liars) will have the right timing or duration of that expression.

If you ignore the expression itself and, instead, consider whether the timing and duration of the expression seem natural, you’ll greatly increase your chances of knowing if that person is lying.

4. Wearing a plain (un-patterned) shirt or blouse will increase the chances that the listener will hear you longer. A patterned top or ornate jewelry or loud tie will break up the listener’s attention span sooner, and that person is more likely to go on more “mental vacations” sooner.

5. Smell is the most directly emotional of the senses. Some natural (non-artificial chemical) scents can refresh or relax you and others in your home or work place. Vanilla, apple, and chocolate are the scents Americans are most likely to like.

6. Yes, up to 14 times more likely to get their support or a purchase. This gut instinct is often called “reciprocity reflex.”

7. Women. That is why storeowners who serve men will increase their sales if they have prominent, eye-level signage over large displays where men will see the signage soon after entering the store.

8. Children are more vividly specific, hitting their prime around fourth grade. Then unfortunately, they begin to speak in generalities, more like adults.

Yet the specific detail proves the general conclusion, not the reverse. Specifics are more memorable and more credible.

9. Question number 3. It seems that we have an inordinate interest in lying.

Three ways to get along better with others, now that you know some of your gut instinctual reactions


Finding 1: Move to Motivate

Motion is emotional.

It increases the emotional intensity of whatever is happening. Further, people remember more the things they dislike or fear that they experience in motion, more than things they enjoy.

Motion is always an intensifying two-edge sword.

Motion attracts attention and causes people to remember more of what’s happening and feel more strongly about it, for better or for worse.

Tip: TV visual possibility:

This is another justification for golf.

Think of the golf swing. The more dimensions of motion involved (body moving up/down, left/right, backward/forward), the more memorable the motion.

Imagine the bizarre picture of someone swinging his whole body around, sweeping down low before you, and then reaching out to shake hands. While moving in many dimensions will surely make you more memorable, it won’t necessarily make you more credible.

Get others involved in motions with you that create good will: walking, sharing a meal, handing or receiving a gift, shaking hands, turning to face a new scene.  You are more likely to literally get “in sync.” As your vital signs become more similar (eye pupil dilation, skin temperature, heartbeat) you feel more familiar and thus more comfortable with each other.


Finding 2: Deep Convictions

The more time, actions, and/or other effort someone has put into something, someone, or some course of action, the more deeply that person will believe in it, defend it, and work on it further.

Tip: If you want more from the other person, wait to ask for it after she has invested more time, energy, money, or other resources. The more someone talks about it, repeats and revises what they have said, writes it down, and explains it to others, the more deeply they will believe it. And frequently they will tell others about it.

Idea: I can give you several examples of how a TV personality could inspire an audience member or other person he or she contacts by phone to become a more passionate advocate for a product, cause, person, and so on, literally as the TV personality involves them in more actions on behalf of it . . . and could follow up by phone or in person later to see how the intensity of conviction lingers.


Finding 3: True Timing

If a person likes the way he acts when he is around you, he often sees the qualities in you that he most admires.

The opposite is also true.

Two universal truths:

People like people who are like them, and people like people who like them.


Pick the moments when someone feels most at ease and happy to move the relationship forward.

Don’t make suggestions or requests when they are acting in an unbecoming way your efforts will only backfire.

Praise the behavior you want to flourish.

Don’t ask for more from someone until they have invested more time, money, other resources, or emotional “chits” in the relationship.

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