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33 Cards in this Set

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Mind Reading

"He's probably thinking how fat I look."
"How could you find out?"
Believing one knows the thoughts, feelings, intentions, motivations, capabilities or other internal processes of another person -- with no basis in reasonable, logical grounds for interpretation or direct sensory observation.
Nominalization

"My belief in myself has been shattered."

"What do you believe about yourself?"
A dynamic process (a verb) which has been converted to a static thing or event (a noun).
Emotionalizing

"He loves me, I can tell."
"How can you tell?"
Using our emotions for gathering and processing information: "I feel it, so it must be true." Emotionalizing confuses internally generated and externally generated experience, so that instead of simply experiencing an emotion, we use it as evidence of a corresponding negative external situation.
Universal Quantifier

"Nobody wears red shoes anymore."
"Nobody in the whole world?"
Words that are absolute generalizations which are missing a referential index, such as: always, never, every, all, none, no, nothing, everything, anything, anybody, anyone, nobody, no one, everybody, everyone, etc.
Unspecified Referential Index

"A body has to wonder what's going on in that brain of yours!"
"Whose body?"
Words or phrases which delete who is doing the acting; using a general subject that doesn't refer to a specific person; such as: a person, someone, people, they, one, we, you (universal). Also, generalizations which apply to classes or groups of individuals: Americans, Catholics, Jews, managers, workers, men, women, etc.
Unspecified Verb

"She revealed a reluctance to step aside."
"Revealed how? Step aside how? About what?"
Process words which are vague (missing a complete description), or verbs that are, to a greater or lesser degree, unspecified. Also, omitting the verb altogether, or the object of the verb, or both.
Modal Operator of Necessity

"I have to be perfect."
"What would happen if you weren't?"
Words which dictate or imply what is absolutely right or necessary, such as: must, mustn't, have to, got to"
Either/Or

"I'll be in charge of this vacation. Or would you rather I make your life miserable?"
"I'll take the option you didn't mention."
Statements or questions which engage one's attention on a consequence which presupposes something else. It creates what Milton Erickson called, "an illusion of choice," and directs attention to consider only the two possibilities mentioned.
Modal Operator of Judgment

"I'm not eating the way I should."
"If you could, how would you prefer to eat?"
Words which dictate or imply judgments about what is right, proper, etc., such as: should, shouldn't, ought to -- (related to "Lost Performative")
Simple Deletion - Unspecified Adjectives

"I feel overwhelmed by work."
"How do you get overwhelmed?"
Adjectives the meaning of which are unspecified. Unspecified adjectives are a frequent indicator of interpretation rather than observation and often involve lost performatives.
Cause & Effect

"Smoking causes cancer."
"So everyone who smokes gets cancer?"
The implication or direct claim that one thing causes, or is caused by, another when there is no well-formed logical support or demonstrable, sensory-based evidence to support a causal connection. Frequent words: makes, because, if...then, as...then, then, since, so, whenever this...that
Comparative Deletion

"I'm not good enough."
"Good enough compared to whom? (Good enough for what or whom? How good is 'good enough'?)"
Sentences and phrases which imply a comparison to someone or something but say nothing about the person or object on which the comparison is based, or which do not specify the basis of comparison. Example words: even, very, too, more, less, greater, lesser, better, enough, worse, bigger, brighter, smarter... etc. (than what? how?)
Either/Or

"Are you being deliberately malicious or are you just naive?"
"Are those the only two possibilities you can think of?"
Statements or questions which engage one's attention on a consequence which presupposes something else. It creates what Milton Erickson called, "an illusion of choice," and directs attention to consider only the two possibilities mentioned.
Milton Model: Conversational Postulate

"Would you mind passing the salt?"
"Not at all. (Not doing it.)"
A question, posed conversationally, to which it is assumed that the listener will answer with behavior rather than words, with an obligatory or generally accepted reply, or with a default answer of "yes."
Universal Quantifier

"I always feel that I am letting her down."
"Always?"
Words that are absolute generalizations which are missing a referential index, such as: always, never, every, all, none, no, nothing, everything, anything, anybody, anyone, nobody, no one, everybody, everyone, etc.
Milton Model: Syntactic Ambiguity

"The Smiths are visiting relatives."
"Are they relatives who are visiting? Or are they visiting someone's relatives? Or both?"
Where the function of a word can't quickly be determined from the context. Frequently, the addition of -ing to a verb creates the potential for ambiguity.
Simple Deletion - Unspecified Adjectives

"I feel guilty for missing my daughter's school play."
"Guilty in what way? For what part of missing your daughter's school play?"
Adjectives the meaning of which are unspecified. Unspecified adjectives are a frequent indicator of interpretation rather than observation and often involve lost performatives.
Milton Model: Conversational Postulate

"How many times do I have to tell you to take out the trash?"
"I don't know."
A question, posed conversationally, to which it is assumed that the listener will answer with behavior rather than words, with an obligatory or generally accepted reply, or with a default answer of "yes."
Milton Model: Tag Question

"You always manage to turn the tables on me, don't you?"
"Is that what you believe?"
A question added at the end of a statement, which changes the focus of the listener's attention to answering the tag question, away from the preceding statement. Tag questions are sometimes accompanied by a temporal shift.
Metaphors

"We are swimming in a sea of man-made toxins."

"The 'sea' is like what in your experience?"
Understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another.
Cause & Effect

"She couldn't succeed because, when she was a child, her parents were abusive."
"Some children with abusive parents succeed very well."
The implication or direct claim that one thing causes, or is caused by, another when there is no well-formed logical support or demonstrable, sensory-based evidence to support a causal connection. Frequent words: makes, because, if...then, as...then, then, since, so, whenever this...that
Lost Performative

"It's a good thing your head is attached or you'd forget it."
"According to whom?
Value judgments made without specifying who is making the judgment (e.g., the performer of the judgment is deleted from the statement.)
Multiordinality

"This isn't a marriage."
"If this were a marriage, what would be different?"
Over-generalizing to the point where a word has a multiplicity of meanings and can be applied, ad infinitum, to itself.
Either/Or

"My only choices are fight or flight."
"If you had another choice, what would you like it to be?"
Statements or questions which engage one's attention on a consequence which presupposes something else. It creates what Milton Erickson called, "an illusion of choice," and directs attention to consider only the two possibilities mentioned.
Personalizing

"He abandoned me. Every football season he was glued to the TV."
"How did you know to take that personally?"
Erroneously interpreting events, especially the actions or words of others, as specifically targeted toward us and/or as an attack on us.
Complex Equivalence

"The boss closed his door. I'm going to get fired."
"Has your boss ever closed his door and you didn't get fired?"
Statements where complex situations, ideas, objects or their meanings are equated as synonymous. Frequent phrases [which are often omitted from the surface structure of the sentence]: that means, that just means, therefore, it must be that, [rhetorical] what else could it mean?
Milton Model: Scope Ambiguity

Dogs and things that go 'BEEP' frighten me."
"What kind of dogs go 'BEEP'?"
Where the scope of the linguistic context can't be determined. Using a modifier in such a way that the part of the sentence referred to is unclear.
Universal Quantifier

"You always wear that shirt."
"Always? Every single time?"
Words that are absolute generalizations which are missing a referential index, such as: always, never, every, all, none, no, nothing, everything, anything, anybody, anyone, nobody, no one, everybody, everyone, etc.
Identification

"This car is so 'me'."
"How is it like you?"
The root of the word 'identity' is 'idem', meaning "the same." No two things are ever exactly the same in all respects, so no two things can be identical. No one thing is even the same from moment to moment. Therefore, identification is abstract, resulting from deletion of distinctions.
Pseudo-Words

"I have a sense that I am flawed."
"Flawed as opposed to perfect? What's an example of perfection?"
Linguistic maps that reference nothing either in the mind (including abstract logic) or the external world.
Presup: Selectional Restriction Violation

"Cats think, 'Humans are idiots.'"
"When did they learn not to think, 'Humans is idiots'?"
Attributing a capability to a thing or being that doesn't have that capability. Also, denying a capability in a thing or being which does have that capability. Excluding complementary categories by definite description (gender, race, religion, etc.) (Presuppositional).
Modal Operator of Possibility

"It's impossible. It can't be done."
"Are you sure? Sometimes the impossible is what can't be done until someone does it."
Words which dictate or imply what is possible, such as: can, can't, could, couldn't
Presup: Selectional Restriction Violation

Joe Pyne to Frank Zappa: "I guess your long hair makes you a woman."
Frank Zappa: "I guess your wooden leg makes you a chair."
Attributing a capability to a thing or being that doesn't have that capability. Also, denying a capability in a thing or being which does have that capability. Excluding complementary categories by definite description (gender, race, religion, etc.) (Presuppositional).