Monday, April 19, 2010

What is the best way to give advice? | Psychology Today

A paper by Reeshad Dalal and Silvia Bonaccio in a 2010 issue of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes looked at several different kinds of advice that people get and give to understand how likely people are to use them. They distinguished between four types of advice.

Advice for is a recommendation to pick a particular option.

Advice against is a recommendation to avoid a particular option.

Information supplies a piece of information that the decision maker might not know about.
Decision support suggests how to go about making the choice, but does not make a specific recommendation. (For example, you might recommend that a friend looking to go to a movie check out a website that aggregates movie reviews. You aren't recommending a particular movie, but just a technique for making a decision.)

In the studies, college students were asked to imagine making a particular decision. Some participants considered a choice of a job after graduate school. Others selected among candidates for officers in a student group. They were given a variety of different kinds of advice and asked how satisfying and useful the advice was for making a decision.

In general, people found all of the types of advice to be useful to some degree. However, information was the most useful kind of advice across the studies. That is, people found it most helpful when people told them about aspects of the options that they might not have known about already.

What implications does this finding have for evangelism?

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