Thursday, May 10, 2018

#130 / Form 9

Yesterday, I advanced the idea that most of the time people will do what they think they are expected to do. People get a "tip" on how they should behave by looking around. They then conform their behavior to what they understand to be the social expectation. 

Of course, that doesn't always work, but it does in a lot of cases.

An article in the April 22, 2018, edition of The New York Times, entitled "What Hospitals Can Teach the Police," provides an excellent discussion of the phenomenon. I encourage you to read it. The article, about how health care facilities have learned to deal with "crazy" people, is interesting in and of itself, and police agencies should, as the article suggests, start trying to utilize similar practices.

Here is one of the stories in the article that I found particularly compelling: 

At the Boston University Medical Center, security staff members teach a kind of tactical pause to residents and fourth-year medical students who do home visits. Constance L. Packard, executive director of support services for the center, told me, “Sometimes if the patient gets too anxious we’ll teach a person to say, ‘Let me get right back to you, because I need to go get a Form 9.’ There’s no such thing as a Form 9,” Ms. Packard continued. “It’s just a way of stopping the action.”

There is no Form 9, but going to get one can be, to use an old advertising slogan, the "pause that refreshes." The agitated person calms down, as he or she waits for the arrival of that vital Form 9!

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