The human mind is an innovative hybrid that allows us to anticipate the future - to think big thoughts. That's the good news.

However a growing number of psychologists and behavioral scientists are finding evidence that our brains are hard-wired for mistakes in today social environment, especially when it comes to assessing the personality and predicting behavior of people we encounter.

Why are we so bad at reading the intentions of others? Built on top of the older "emotional" parts of our mamallian circuitry, there is a "rational" cerebral cortex. The two are often at odds, and under the surface, our protective instincts are always lurking. Unfortunately the "emotional" circuitry frequently overwhelms the "rational" cortex. We simply give more weight to elements in the personality of people we encounter that supports our beloved preconceptions than to any evidence to the contrary. Thus we frequently completely miss the target and pay a price of our misjudgments.

ARBITARY OBSESSIONS.. The frontal lobes have fallen in love with our preconceptions. This hard-wired programming undercuts us in a host of sadly familiar ways. The most common is how our preconceptions and prejudices distort perception of individuals we wish to assess.

CONFIRMATION BIAS. It's our all too natural ability to convince ourselves of whatever it is that we want to believe. How? We simply give more weight to events that support our desired prejudice or preconcpetion than to any evidence to the contrary.

Consider how many great opportunities are lost by what I call "semantic sabotage". If you've ever found yourself stumbling over your words, or simply not knowing what to say next you've experienced "the dialog dilemma. Or if you've uttered a statement, then realized that isn't exactly what you meant to say. These are all curable maladies.

Someone introduces themselves to you. Then you tell them your name. Suddenly you realize you can not recall their name. Why does this happen so often? Simple, you didn't forget their name- you never really heard it in the first place! You still had yourself in the middle of the picture.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand - they listen with the intent to reply or impress. This is never successful because the mind does not have simultaneous capability. Therefore, if you are contemplating your next statement, you are not focusing on his words, tones and actions.

In order to read a person like a book, you must get them to open up, get them talking. Getting people to open up is a skill that you can learn.

A skilled conversationalist uses specific question in three different categories. (1) Conversation starters. (2) Personal questions. (3) Philosophical questions). Once you've mastered a small inventory of optional question you can switch categories to control the outcome.

He who does not ask the right questions always hears the wrong answers

An unclear question has an infinite number of answers

Many say that information is the path to power. The wealthiest people will tell you that it's their ability to make wise choices dealing with people is their greatest asset. And that when they did make mistakes, it was often disastrous for them socially and financially. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you would liketo "read people like a book" and upgrade your personal communications subscribe to Oscar Bruce's FREE NEWSLETTER. Visit his web site at For Questions or Comments email him at (

Author's Bio: 

Learning to gain and maintain control of your environmnent, anytime...anyplace.