Yesterday just before the start of a seminar I went to the thermostat to try to warm up the room.  The speaker saw me fiddling with it and nodded with approval.  I said nothing, turned up the heat and returned to my seat.

The thing is, she couldn’t see whether I was raising the temperature or lowering it.  She just assumed that I would be moving the temperature in the same direction as her preference.  And of course with good reason.  We both want a comfortable room.  We each get private signals about whether the room is currently too cold or too warm.  Our private signals are correlated. If her private signal suggests the room is too warm then she knows that more likely than not my private signal says the same thing, and since I am acting on my private signal and nothing more I am most likely adjusting the thermostat exactly how she wants it.

I know all of this and therefore I strictly prefer to say nothing about what I am doing.  By saying nothing I allow her to continue to believe that I am doing what she wants me to do even though I don’t know for sure what it is she wants.  Her signal of course could be different than mine.  If instead I tell her I am raising the temperature then in the best case I am just confirming what she already believed and nothing is gained.  But there is the risk that I inform her that actually I am doing the opposite of what she wants and then we have a conflict.

Her seminar was awesome.

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