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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Want to avoid trouble? Look at your personal problems from distance

IANS  Toronto, June 10, 2014
First Published: 17:47 IST(10/6/2014) | Last Updated: 18:10 IST(10/6/2014)

Have you heard of Solomon's Paradox - a phrase coined after a king who was known for his wisdom and yet failed at making personal decisions?

You can avoid being that king if faced with trouble in your personal life such as a cheating spouse - the key is to look at the problem from a distance like an observer.

According to a research, we are wiser when reasoning about others' problems compared to our own.

Read: A calmer you: so who’s running your life for you?

The reason for this discrepancy is we distance ourselves from the issue.

"The study is the first to demonstrate a new type of bias within ourselves when it comes to wise reasoning about an interpersonal relationship dilemma," said Igor Grossmann, professor, University of Waterloo in Canada.

Grossmann and Ethan Kross, professor from University of Michigan in the US asked participants to reflect on a relationship conflict of their own or someone else's, such as a spouse's infidelity with a close friend.

The research compared results from younger adults aged 20 to 40 and those aged 60 to 80.

Read: Failed relationship leads to better looks: research

Contrary to the adage that wisdom comes with age, the older adults were not more likely to reason wisely about their personal dilemma than their younger counterparts.

"There is a simple way to eliminate this bias in reasoning by talking about ourselves in the third person and using our name when reflecting on a relationship conflict," Grossmann emphasised.

When we employ this strategy, we are more likely to think wisely about an issue, said the study that is set to appear in the journal Psychological Science.


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