Emotional Context

Check this out. What you will see is the story of a doctor who gets a surprise. A patient who he actually hates seeing in the office, thanks to her complaining and dour demeanor, was witnessed actually having a good time, a very good time, in a setting outside the office where she was surrounded by her family. On a subsequent office visit, the doctor questioned “Ruth” as to why she wasn’t more joyful in the office? Her response? How could she be joyful at the office? That’s where she goes to complain about her knees!

In all of the gazillion words I have laid down in these blog posts and elsewhere during my professional career,  I don’t think I have ever typed the words “emotional context.” My fellow ThinkGen Advisor and Habit author Neale Martin always stresses the importance of “context.” Habits, Dr. Martin preaches, not only require cues to set them off. Habits occur in context. When you open the refrigerator, your habits respond to a different context at breakfast time, when your hand reaches for the orange juice, vs. at dinner time when your habit likely directs you more to the bottle of chardonnay. Both habits, different context.

Just so with our emotional habits, which also often respond very strongly to the context in which they occur.

Bottom Line. Emotions. You know what? I don’t think I have ever typed that word before either. Funny. In his seminal book, How Doctors Think, Dr. Jerome Groopman clearly points out that “. . . few of us realize just how strongly a physician’s mood and temperament influence his medical judgment.” And heaven knows emotions influence patient compliance and clinical outcome. But even as a Psychologist who has focused his entire career on understanding the way our customers think, I haven’t really ever written about, asked about or really even thought about emotions or emotional context. 

As my ThinkGen colleagues and I pursue our new Habit EngineeringSM  approach to pharmaceutical marketing and marketing research in 2019, look for all of that to change. Big time!!!

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