Pop’s Pop Psychology

The mariner learned at his father’s knee. Father was attending college at the time and mariner was the one available to hear a recounting of many of the ideas that college provided for him. Father was a fan of pop culture – over simplified descriptions of personality, organization, emotion, and many other pseudo-psychology definitions. In memory of mariner’s father, a couple are defined in this post.

A popular one that many know is that there are three kinds of people in the world: WHY people, HOW people and WHAT people. The WHY person thinks about daily life in terms of ideas. It is difficult to define a situation or make a decision until the person understands why the situation exists. A classic example is Albert Einstein. If a person is extremely WHY, a classic example is the three-toed sloth.

The HOW person thinks about daily life in terms of solutions. The HOW person is constantly reinterpreting the circumstances of life into new relationships that may, or may not, improve those circumstances. Nevertheless, a solution has been achieved. The HOW person actually makes a decent manager – all other aspects being accepted. A classic example is Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com. If a person is extremely HOW, a classic example is the African Honey Badger.

The WHAT person thinks about daily life in terms of procedure. Father’s favorite example was his wife’s attempt to open luggage, which often requires different steps similar to a key, coded lock, different kinds of sliding latches, zippers, etc. Confronted with a new set of luggage, the wife had to try different combinations one at a time from the beginning until one worked.

Another example, perhaps a well-known anecdote, is the woman cooking a ham. Watching her is her daughter. “Why do you cut off a chunk of the ham before you bake it?” the daughter asked. “Oh, I don’t know; that’s how my mother did it.” Later, they visit Grandma and ask why she cut off a chunk of the ham. “My pot was too small.” If a person is extremely WHAT, a classic example is the Marmoset monkey.

The truth of the matter is all people have a bit of all three behaviors. Typically, one is dominant and a second is used if the dominant one fails. However, it is impossible for WHY and WHAT to coexist.

Another pop psychology definition that father used quite often as one of his own tools (he was a professor of sociology) is the one about how people learn. Again, there are three ways a person may learn: learning with the EYES, learning with the EARS, and learning with the BODY. Learning with the EYES includes reading, watching and thinking in pictures. An eye person will learn more and be able to apply learning more efficiently if that person receives education through the eyes. One every day example is the person who watches facial expressions to understand nuance. A very simple example is to watch another person stick their finger in a fire. Having watched this, the eye person needs no explanation as to why the fire burned; the event is embedded for life and will influence decisions thereafter. Art painters and writers use eye-based intelligence.

An ear person will learn more easily by listening. The reader may take in more listening to a lecture than reading the same words from a book. Anything requiring hearing is more easily learned. For example, musicians, those who interpret nuance by hearing tones in the voice, “Tell ‘em one time and they know how to do it” are typical of those who learn best by hearing.

Finally, learning with the BODY encompasses sensitivity to body motion of any kind including dexterity, sports, dance, and touch sensitivity. A BODY person will learn more by doing; If a body person is told what to do, or is shown what to do, the instructions will not be absorbed meaningfully until the body person actually does the task. Some assembly lines may contain a majority of BODY types with their dexterity and ability to memorize hand and body movement.

The mariner’s father had many more like these two examples. Mariner is confidant the reader has a few of their own.

Ancient Mariner


1 thought on “Pop’s Pop Psychology

  1. Oh, I love the Honey Badger! Talk about an Animal Kingdom role model. Especially after the viral video, of course that’s how everyone achieves celebrity these days.

    I think the real problem is that 50%+ of people are actually WHO people. (In order to be a WHERE person, you need a deep appreciation of the other interrogatives to begin with.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.