The Lock-on/Lock-out Principle

To demonstrate the Lock-on/Lock-out principle to my students, I divide them into pairs.

The Instructions

I then instruct them to close their eyes, and remember the steps they took to prepare for school that morning. This might have involved exercising, making breakfast, or preparing their children for school.

After about a minute, I instruct them to open their eyes and turn their chairs so that each pair is directly facing each other.
With each person looking at the other feeling a bit awkward, I tell them that at the count of three, one partner will describe the steps he or she took to get ready for school. At the same time, the other partner will do the same.


In other words, both partners will be describing how they prepared for the day at the same time. I then tell them that after about five minutes, the first partner in a pair will describe to the other what the second partner had said, and then the second partner will repeat what the first partner had said.
An Audible Grown

When I give these instructions, an audible groan wells up in the room, for they sense what is coming.

Complete Chaos!!!

At the count of three, utter pandemonium fills the classroom as EVERYONE attemptsto describe their day to their partner, and listen to their partner at the same time. After just a few seconds, everyone is talking loudly, laughing, smiling, and shaking their heads in frustration.

After about 30 seconds (I lie about giving them five minutes to do this) I instruct everyone to stop talking. We then discuss what just happened.

They have discovered that they cannot talk and listen at the same time. Their brain had to make a decision. It had to either concentrate on what they were saying, or concentrate on what their partner was saying, but it could not do both.

There was simply too much for the brain to take in. 

My students discover through this exercise that they had to lock-on to their own talking while locking-out that of their partner’s, or they had to do the opposite.

This is called the Lock-On/Lock Out principle.

What My Students Learn

In his book “Self-Talk – Key to Personal Growth,” Dr. David Stoop, a clinical psychologist in Irvine, California, sites recent studies which have shown that people who begin to talk about the possibility of divorce (in other words, they “lock-on” to that possibility), or never finding a job, they often find themselves proceeding in the direction of divorce, or being jobless..

However…I know people who have actually made models of the house they intend to find, purchase, and raise their children in.  One couple spent a year developing that model  And guess what?  You guessed it…more often than not they find it.

 So watch what you lock onto! Your brain locks onto it also!

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