25: You're a Blueberry!

by Max Leibman

A colleague at work, standing behind you, says “Blueberry.” What do you do?

The answer to that odd question—and Max has a doozy of a story about one former co-worker’s response—depends on what you bring to the situation. Faced with ambiguous or uncertain circumstances, our expectations shape our experience of life and work.

Examples abound: a manager who expects a job candidate to flirt during the interview will elicit flirtatious behavior; expectations of children’s performance change how we treat them, in turn changing their performance. Caitie gives us a tour of the social science of expectations, anticipation, and the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. Where does it lead—and how does the blueberry story end? Listen and find out. We promise that the answers will be . . . satisfying.

(What, you expected us to say, “unexpected?” That’s what we’re talking about!) 


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