Open-mindedness. It's a virtue we talk about, and argue about. It's something we say we want as a society, but hardly work for—or understand, for that matter. And it's incredibly important.
The good news is we're finally starting to understand how open-mindedness works at a neuroscience and psychology level. And with that understanding comes some huge opportunities.
what is open-mindedness?
University of Pennsylvania: "Open-mindedness is the willingness to search actively for evidence against one’s favored beliefs, plans, or goals, and to weigh such evidence fairly when it is available."
University of Oklahoma: "To be open‐minded is to be aware of one's fallibility as a believer, and to acknowledge the possibility that anytime one believes something, one could be wrong."
Dr. William Hare, Mount St. Vincent University: "Open-mindedness is an intellectual virtue that... means being critically receptive to alternative possibilities, being willing to think again despite having formed an opinion, and sincerely trying to avoid those conditions and offset those factors which constrain and distort our reflections."
Basically, being open-minded is pretty badass.
And contrary to what some say, open-mindedness isn't about being gullible. It's about being smart, instead of stupid.
And until recently, scientists had NO way to measure Open-mindedness. But some brand newly published psychology research made it possible by tying a bunch of different scientists' work together...
what are the attributes of an open minded person?
Open mindedness isn't just one magical quality.
The virtue, as it's imagined by philosophers, is actually more like 5 virtues. But in a nutshell, we can basically say that open mindedness is two basic things: 1) Being willing and able to experience new things; and 2) Being willing and able to change because of them.
In other words, open mindedness sits at this intersection:
Getting better at each of them can help us to become far better collaborators, better at dealing with difficult people, and unlock the natural creative confidence we were born with—so we can work smarter and build better relationships with people (and even coworkers and customers).
How open-minded are you?
How do you compare? Where can you improve?
According to the definition above, there are 5 sub-factors that underpin Open-Mindedness. By combining scientifically bullet-proofed research scales for both Openness to Experience and Intellectual Humility, I developed the an Open Mindedness Test that measures these five factors—and can help you understand how to improve.
You can take the test here (it takes about 5 minutes), and not only discover your own areas for improvement, but also help build the data set to further develop the research field!
All data is anonymous. This ain't Facebook. Only you get the report. I just see the overall trend data from all of the tests that get taken.
The implications for this are enormous. The more we understand OM, the better equipped we are to change the world—or even just our own.