Give Me the Bad News First

I read an excellent article last week on on the topic of communication amid uncertainty. It was fascinating! On the topic of uncertainty and the human brain, the authors noted the following:

Given a choice, we’d rather experience an electric shock right now than not know whether we’ll get shocked later. That’s right: Pain is preferable to uncertainty. Our brains seek what scientists have called “cognitive closure,” which motivates us to resolve ambiguous issues in our minds.

Can you believe that pain is preferable to uncertainty? Yet, when you stop and reflect on it, it’s true. Once we know the “bad news,” we can start figuring out how to handle it. It’s the not knowing that’s the killer. Humans need clarity and closure.  (more…)