Experiments show thinking in third person can lead to better decisions

August 14, 20191 minute read

Whether a decision is professional or personal, recent research shows that simply ruminating on a question may not lead to the best answer. The better alternative can be something called “illeism” – or speaking about yourself in the third person.

According to an article in Fast Company, “the process of churning your concerns around in your head—isn’t the answer. It’s likely to cause you to become stuck in the rut of your own thoughts and immersed in the emotions that might be leading you astray.”

The article also says, ”In a series of laboratory experiments, they found that people tend to be humbler, and readier to consider other perspectives, when they are asked to describe problems in the third person.” For example, Jane could frame her dilemma this way: “Jane is concerned about how she can get the team more motivated?”