December 10, 2012

A not so well-known downside of advice giving

I think the effectiveness of giving advice is, in general, overrated. Even when advice sounds reasonable and useful, people may still be reluctant to act upon it. In this post I argue that solutions which are self-found and based on one's own previous experience have a better change of being accepted and used.

Now I came across evidence which suggests that advice may also be not so beneficial for the person giving it: Advising someone to act in a certain way may make it less likely that you yourself will act in that way.

Quite surprising. But it does provide an explanation for a the situation of a doctor I once knew well was in. He seemed to do everything doctors are supposed to advice their patients to stay away from (heavy smoking, eating, drinking, not exercising, etc.).