Let's take a deeper look at questions, and I want to think about what questions really do. And we can look at experts in linguistics that have guided us to think about questions, they've studied them for a long time. They structure a conversation. They focus us on pillar topics, they also move narratives forward, so what happened next? Or they pause to ensure understanding, so do you know what I mean by that? Or how do you know who was calling? So these questions are often created to elicit information. But I also want to suggest that questions do something different as well. They often not only solicit information, but they often guide our answers and sometimes convey information as well. Now we think of this with leading questions. And Loftus did some of the most important work in this area. Loftus had people do things like watch videos of two cars colliding. So these cars got into an accident. And then, Loftus asked questions, and she asked, how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other? Or how fast were the cars going when they bumped into each other? Or how fast were the cars going when they contacted each other? Now in every case, we're asking how fast were the cars going? But here's what's really interesting is that when people answer these questions, they thought the car was going fastest with the smashed wording. And they thought the cars were going slowest in the contacted wording. Some people think the car's going almost 41 miles an hour when they're asked how fast they were going when they smashed into each other. But only about 32 miles an hour when they're asked how fast were the cars going when they contacted each other. So that is, the questions we ask can guide the answers that we get, particularly for questions that have kind of vague or uncertain answers. So here's some other examples. So do you get headaches frequently, and if so, how often? Or do you headaches occasionally, and if so, how often? And again, we're getting very different answers. So frequently people say over two a week. When we say occasionally, it's less than one a week. And the idea is that the way we ask questions can guide us to be very different in how we answer those questions. And we think about, for example, jurors. We somehow just limit questions lawyers can ask potential jurors. So potential jurors might be asked could you be impartial if you knew the defendant was a member of a gang? Now, it turns out that person may or may not be a member of a gang, but we've now just implanted an idea by suggesting that they were part of a gang. Or we say, when did you stop taking the money? And we're presuming that you were taking money. So the idea here is that the way we ask questions can guide people and sort of plant ideas that are very difficult for us to really get out of our minds. Now, this is another study that Loftus did that I particularly like. She had people watch a video of a car going by on a country road. And again, she asked how fast was the car going? Now, a week later, she brought people back in and said I'm going to ask you about that video. And she asked, did you see a barn in the video? Now, there was no barn in the video. But here's what's interesting. So that week before when she asked how fast was the car going, she had asked that question in a few different ways. So one question was, how fast was the white sports car going while traveling along the country road? That was one phrasing. Another phrasing was, how fast was the white sports car going when it passed the barn while driving along the country road? So remember that there was no barn but by asking the question that has the barn phrasing, what you find is that a week later when people were asked, did you see a barn? People who have been ask that question with the barn wording in it, they reported that they saw the barn about 17% of the time. In contrast, people that never saw a barn, there was no mention of a barn, when they were asked did you see a barn, less than 3% of them said they saw a barn. So that is we're seeing a dramatic increase in responses that are completely fabricated where traditionally, we think of questions as just gathering information. But we also know that questions are also revealing information and guiding answers. And so questions can actually play a really important part in the communication process. So we think about what questions do. The traditional idea is they gather information, but I'm arguing that they actually also reveal information. And they reveal a lot of information about what the asker knows, as well as information about the context or guiding the answer. So we get different answers as a function of the questions that we ask. I'm going to explain a short experiment that I ran that reflects a stream of research that I've conducted that looks at how different questions can elicit different kinds of information. And in this experiment, I told people that they're selling a used iPod, and that it frequently crashes. So there's a problem with crashing on this iPod, and they have a lot of other information about this used iPod that they're selling. Now, it turns out then we have these confederates. So I pay these research assistants to pretend that they were trying to buy the iPod, and they reached out to this participant, and they asked one of three different questions. One question, the general question said, well, what can you tell me about it? A second question was this positive assumption, it doesn't have any problems, does it? Or a negative assumption question, what problems does it have, okay? So here, if we think about it, the general question doesn't reveal any specific knowledge. The other two questions suggest there's a problem, and the negative assumption question, in particular, suggested there really is a problem. So the what problems does it have suggests that there's actually a problem that I want to learn about. So it's a direct approach. And the negative assumption's the most direct. The positive assumption and the general question are less direct. And when we look at the responses that we get, these participants thought that the buyer was much more knowledgeable, when they asked the negative assumption question and least knowledgeable when they asked a general question. They thought that the buyer was much more assertive with the negative assumption followed by the positive assumption and the general question. But the key idea, the most important idea here is the kind of responses. So suppose that you are potential buyer and you want to learn negative information. It turns out that when people are asked a positive or negative assumption question, they're getting much more reliable information. They're learning a lot more information about their crashes, when they're asked these positive assumptions or negative assumption questions. And they're learning very little information when they answered a general assumption question. In fact, in the general assumption case, they're learning a lot of information about totally irrelevant, general stuff, they're not learning about this problem. So the key idea, and this is just one of several studies that I've run, is that when you ask these more direct questions, you're getting far more reliable answers. And the negative assumption, when you presume a problem, you're getting the greatest veracity of all, the most truthful response comes with that negative assumption question, okay? And in fact, people found when it had independent raters judge the responses, they, of course, judged the seller to be most honest when they were asked the negative assumption or positive assumption question. So one of the ideas here is that when we want to ask these questions, we should be sure to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. We want to seek disconfirming information. So we want to challenge assumptions that we have. So if we're asking a patient how compliant they've been with their medication, you might want to ask what medications have you missed, as opposed to a question like you haven't missed any medications, have you? Or you want to ask what challenges are you facing meeting this deadline, as oppose to presuming that they haven't had any challenges like, we're right on track, aren't we? So we want to presume a problem, and we're then more likely to gather accurate and truthful information.