Useful Psychological Theories and David Rock’s SCARF Model

Summary: If you want to win friends and influence people, treat them with Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness.

I use a lot of psychological models and theories to conceptualize my world. The ones I refer to most often are Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development. Look them up, memorize them, use them. They are useful!

I just heard about the SCARF Model and I’m pretty excited about it (a model isn’t as generalized as a theory but can be useful nonetheless!)

The SCARF Model was developed in 2008 by David Rock, in his paper “SCARF: A Brain-Based Model for Collaborating With and Influencing Others.” SCARF stands for the five key “domains” that influence our behavior in social situations. These are:

  • Status – our relative importance to others.
  • Certainty – our ability to predict the future.
  • Autonomy – our sense of control over events.
  • Relatedness – how safe we feel with others.
  • Fairness – how fair we perceive the exchanges between people to be.

The model is based on neuroscience research that implies that these five social domains activate the same threat and reward responses in our brain that we rely on for physical survival. So, in brief, look at each of the domains above and think. For example, if a person places you in a lower status than you, that stress can easily trigger your fight-or-flight response (imagine a boss talking down to you). If they put you in a higher status, that can trigger your reward system (imagine getting an award). This works in more situations than you’d initially consider. And there’s lots to consider. If you want to win friends and influence people, treat them with status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness.

Here is the original paper about the SCARF Model by David Rock

There’s many sites that talk about the SCARF Model in more depth, here’s a pretty good one.

update 7-29-20, I came across a random “How to influence people” post on Imgur and about 3/4 of the items are applied versions of the SCARF model, nice. (though admittedly, some of the tactics in this image are ethically questionable!)

The Velocipastor

You’re going to think this image is just a mock-up. It isn’t. As the top review on Amazon says, “This is not a good movie, but it’s a wonderful movie”!

I saw it tonight on Amazon Prime fer free. Highly recommended!

See the trailer so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Consider watching it stoned.

Podmatch: Matching School Families During the Pandemic

I just heard about this service. It’s totally brand spanking new so don’t fret if there’s not many people on it yet. This could be helpful for building your “pod” for the school year! We’re trying it.


Resetting Email Notifications

If you’d still like to get email notifications from me, please sign up again in the upper right corner of my site at I had gotten so many fake email subscribers that I’m going to wipe the whole list and start over.

I just turned email notifications on today after some 7 months. You can go back to the site or the archives to catch up. It took me a while to get around to fixing it.

TV Watching Parties

I love and hate how new TV shows come out a full season at a time now. It’s nice that it’s all “just there” to watch. But there’s a lack of excitement and discussion about what’s going to happen next. Would you like to watch some shows together… SLOWLY?

This was brought to a head for me when I saw episode 4 of The Witcher the other night. I thought “Wow, that was awesome! I want to talk to somebody ab…. wait. Most likely any of my friends have either seen the whole season already or they haven’t seen the show at all.”


Archives Fixed

After several years, I’ve fixed the Archives page. You can now see a list of all the posts on the site. You can find the link in the sidebar and here.

I’m glad to have found the Simple Yearly Archive plugin by Oliver Schlöbe!

Preschool is Nearly Over

Abigail went back to preschool this week. The school is doing a lot to minimize the spread of Coronavirus. This is her last 5 weeks of preschool and Step One School has been amazing to promote her growth! I am truly bothered that the pandemic robbed Abigail of part of this experience. At every pick-up, I was learning more about how to become a better pediatric occupational therapist and dad!

Megan and I are going back to work in what will assuredly be a “complex” working environment in about a month in the school, so we welcome the quiet prep time. To give you a taste, here’s the update from her main teacher on the first day back:

Dear Room 1 Families,

We are in the midsts of having such an amazing day back at school. It has been so wonderful to feel the love, joy, and energy of the kids being back.

Our day started at circle, where they met our pet “Queenie”. Ask your child if they can remember what kind of snake she is. She was also feeling shy and nervous, which helped some kids feel better. Here is a picture from circle. We went over some of the new procedures. Ask them if they can remember some of them, like where do they put their toy when they are done or what airplane arms mean.

After circle the kids were so busy playing around the room. Some of the activities were:

  • Making placemats
  • Playing with their own ball of play dough
  • Building with Magnatiles
  • Playing in the playhouse
  • Playing with the trains
  • Listening to stories
  • Swinging on the rope ladder
  • Jumping onto the pillows
  • Painting
  • Playing at the water table
  • Building on existing friendships and making new ones

After playing inside we headed up to the deck for snack. Here is a picture from snack time.

After snack was our first outside time. Some of the activities outside were:

  • Washing babies in the water table
  • Swinging on the swing
  • Playing on the monkey bars
  • Riding the bikes and scooters
  • Playing under the gatehouse
  • Playing in the waterfall (ask your child if they were part of the big leaf removal at the waterfall)

After our outside time we were back to the deck for lunch and to listen to a story. The kids had fun using their placemat that they had made in the morning. After lunch is another outside time and nap time for a few (more rolling around than napping so far). That’s a summary of our day so far.

A few reminders:

  • Please remember to sunscreen your child in the morning. We are doing it when we first come out.
  • Please send your child with a hat. We have the sun shades around the yard but a hat could help.
  • Check in with your child about how they felt about being at school. It’s a big change for all of us.

We are so excited to have your child in our class and look forward to all that is yet to come. Please email us (please cc all of the teachers) if you have any questions.


Steve, Raquel, and Leticia

It’s Better Than a Poke In The Eye

Well, actually, it is a poke in the eye, but that’s ok! I’ve been getting monthly treatments for macular edema caused by CRVO. I keep reminding myself that the technology to repair this problem has only existed for about 20 years. The previous treatment, with steroids, wasn’t very effective, and before that, I simply would have gone blind in that eye.

The treatment is getting a few needles in the eye. It’s oddly exhausting for how little actual pain is involved but I’m right as rain the next day.

Happily, my treatments are very successful. My next appointment is 5 weeks away instead of the previous 4 weeks. In a few months, the treatments will hopefully not be needed any more :-)


WCCUSD Learning Framework for the Fall

My school district is planning on starting with a mostly-distance-learning program in August. The final plan will be in place July 20th.

Here are some relevant screenshots from the meeting. The plan is to go with “option 4”:…/19ATiGmBWD3KHwNOjUg9_DH2be5…/edit…

If you want to watch the most “important” bits of the meeting, I’d start watching the video at about the 51 minute mark.. Here’s a link:

Or watch the whole meeting on Facebook…

A Revelation

Visit quiet places during the pandemic.