Modify the ResMed Airfit P10 CPAP Nasal Pillows face mask for a better fit

ResMed P10 Nasal Pillows face mask modified with cheek cushions and adjustable strap.

The purpose of this article is to show how one user of the ResMed CPAP P10 nose mask made the head straps adjustable, cut down the size of the harness to keep the top and back straps apart through the night, and added padding to prevent morning face lines.

As a long-time user of the ResMed CPAP machine I have tried many face masks. The one I have been using since it came out a couple of years ago is the Airfit P10. Or, as ResMed’s literature refers to it, the Nasal Pillows system.

I will refer to this as a “mask,” or “face mask,” but it is actually a nasal cannula because the business part goes into the nares, or nostrils, and there is no actual mask over the face. So even though I say “mask” you will know what I’m talking about.

ResMed P10 Nasal Pillows system.
Figure 1. The ResMed Airfit P10 face mask.

I like this mask a lot but it does have a few drawbacks. One is the one-size-fits-all approach that has infected so many American products. The strap that attaches to the cannula of the P10 comes in only one size, as far as I know. ResMed does make an adjustable headstrap for the nasal pillows but for me it falls far short in the way it adjusts.

The nasal pillows themselves come in the three standard sizes that we have all been programmed to think of as enough choices to cover the whole world of whatever the product is: small, medium and large. Whether that narrow field of choices adequately covers the universe of different nose shapes and sizes, I have no idea. The “medium” works for me so I don’t dwell on it.

The harness, which as I mentioned comes in only one size, is packaged with a couple of little plastic thingies that are supposed be used to tighten the straps if they are too loose.

I tried a long time to get those thingsResMed plastic clips for P10 mask. to work but never had very good results with them. I have never been able to get them to work the way ResMed says to use them; the straps just pull out of them. I’ve tried numerous other ways to use them, like tying them in knots in various ways. But that created uncomfortable lumps. And after the straps had stretched enough to require readjusting, the knots were hard to untie. Especially in the middle of the night.

So that’s the first problem. We need some way to easily adjust the straps, and to re-adjust when they have stretched too much to hold the nasal pillows snugly in position.

The second problem—these problems are not in any order, by the way—is the length of the strap. When it is not right for a particular head the over-the-crown part of the strap tends to slip down, wanting to join its twin strap at the back of the head. The back strap can also tend to slip upward.

The head strap is divided into two straps in its middle. The two places where the strap splits I refer to as a “Y.” The purpose of these two Ys is to provide a strap over the top part of the head and a strap behind the head down closer to the upper neck.

If the Ys are far back—that is, the sections of the strap between the cannula and the Ys are too long—the upper and lower straps won’t have enough of your head between them to keep them apart. This is for some people a second problem with the P10 headgear. The solution I have found for this is to shorten the strap at the cannula ends.

The third problem is that lines across the cheek can be caused by sleeping on one’s side. In my case these lines, caused by lying on the strap, would be quite prominent and sometimes would be visible all day. They could, I feared, become permanent. I don’t need any more lines on my face than I already have. This problem I have solved with pads, or cushions, the the cheek sections of the head strap.

When the CPAP head straps are too long

To deal with the first problem—some way to adjust the tightness of the straps on the head—I simply cut the bottom strap and added Velcro. Begin by removing the strap from the nose part. Here is the graphic from ResMed’s instructions showing how to do this.

ResMed instructions for removal of head strap.
Figure 2. Instructions from the ResMed P10 mask literature on how to remove the head strap from the nose part of the nasal pillows face mask. Fine these instructions and more here.
end of cpap head strap showing parts.
Figure 3. ResMed P10 strap removed from stabilizer struts. Note that the “Back of head” and “Crown…” parts of the strap applies if this strap is connected to the left side of the mask. These are reversed if the end of the strap as shown is attached the right side.

Figure 3 shows one end of the head strap removed from the mask. Both ends are the same. The end shown in Fig. 3 would be attached to the right side for use (but see caption).

The sides of the strap are different colors. The blue side goes next to your face and head, and the grey side is the outside. The older the strap the harder it is to identify these colors. Just remember that the buttonhole side of the strap is the outer side.

If you are modifying an older strap that has had some use, you will probably find that one of the two head straps is longer than the other. It is generally a good idea to cut that one and, when you are done, make sure it is on the bottom when you reattach the strap to the mask. If you need to shorten both the upper and the lower head straps then left-and-right is not an issue.

The straps are constructed of some sort of elastic material and I have found that cutting them with a knife is not easy. Scissors are.

Measure the strap you are going to cut and make a mark close to the middle if the amount of adjustment you need is not great. If you need you need significant shortening you may have to cut out a section from the middle with two cuts. That is, mark the middle and then make marks one-half the length of the section you will remove on each side of the middle mark.

Figure 4. Mark close to the middle of the strap where you want to cut. If you need to significantly shorten the strap you will want to remove a section, rather than make one simple cut. Cutting the strap in this picture, It would be best to select the upper strap since it appears to be longer.
Figure 5. Cutting the head strap to apply Velcro for an adjustable strap.

Once you have made your cut, or removed sections from both straps, attach the Velcro.

Figure 6. Velcro up close, in case you are not familiar with it. It is called hook-and-loop fastener and made of two parts. The “hooks” are on the left above and are the scratchy part. On the right of the picture is the “loops” part. It is soft. (es:Usuario:Alberto_Salguero, CC BY-SA 3.0)

I recommend you use a longer section of the loop part and shorter section of the hook part. Put the hooks on the side away from you head, the loops on the side facing your head. That way it should not scratch you in use. I suggest you use about a 3/4-inch piece of the hooks and 1½-inch for loops.

The Velcro tape I bought has adhesive on the back for sticking to cloth. It does “fix” after a while and be harder to pull off, but my wife sewed the pieces on to make them permanent. I can’t attest to the self-adhesion of the Velcro’s sticky back.

Be sure to cut the Velcro lengthwise to fit the head strap. If you don’t you may find it uncomfortable and tending to pull your hair out. If you are thick skinned and bald then it may not make any difference.

Figure 7. Strap cut and Velcro applied. The piece on the left is loops (soft), and the piece on the right is hooks (scratchy). Note that the right-hand strap is twisted in this picture. Another way of putting this is: one part of the Velcro is on the gray side, and the other part is on the blue side of the other strip. Do this to keep the strap from being twisted when connected.

When the top CPAP head strap keeps sliding down

Due to the shape and slope of the back of my head, the top head strap was always a problem. Tight or loose, during the night it would repeatedly slip down to the level of the lower strap on the back of my head. When that happens it is impossible to get an air-tight fit of the cannula at the nose.

I would wake up several times during the night, mouth as dry as Denver air in winter, and have to move the strap back up to the top of my head.

I found the solution was to shorten the distance between the ends of the strap and the Ys. In other words, for me the Y was too far back and needed to be moved forward.

Figure 8. One end of the P10 head strap disconnected from the nose piece. Make this modification to both ends of the head strap to stop the top strap from slipping down.

Cut the strap at the end of the buttonhole as depicted in figure 8. If you think the strap needs to be even shorter, adjust where you cut it accordingly. Use the end you just cut off as a guide to the location where you will cut the new buttonhole. HOWEVER–TWO CAUTIONS!

Caution one: Do not put the cut-off section on the absolute end where the cut is. Move it down an additional ⅛-inch or so. This is because your closure of the end is likely to take up more of the strap than did the original. So give yourself a little extra space.

Note: If after you have finished your modification and reattached the straps to the cannula you did not position the buttonhole ideally, you can fix it. If there is a wrinkle between the button and the end of the strap, the hole is too far from the end. Carefully make the hole longer toward the end. If the buttonhole is too close to the end, sew the buttonhole tighter and cut it an equal amount away from the strap end.

Caution two: Do not cut through both layers of the strap when you cut the new buttonhole. Put something like a popsicle stick inside the strap (it is a tube). That way you are cutting against a firm background and you will not cut through to the other side. I doubt that anything very drastically wrong would occur if you did happen to cut through the face side of the strap, but it is better not to.

Use a sharp, pointed knife to cut the buttonhole. The stuff of the P10 strap is tough. Make the buttonhole the same length as the original, or no more than about a quarter of an inch.

Once your buttonhole is made, and not before, sew up the end of the strap where you cut off the end. You can do the sewing by hand or with a sewing machine.

Make sure you have at least about an eighth of an inch from the end of the buttonhole to the closure on the end (that you just made by sewing it up).

Repeat on the other end of the strap.

When the CPAP strap creases your face from sleeping on your side

One of the nice benefits of sleeping with a CPAP machine is that it allows you to sleep on your back. Some people, however, never sleep on their back. And those of us who do, don’t do it all night.

Most of us spend at least a portion of our time sleeping on our side, and that means the P10 strap is going to be between your face and the pillow. And that in turn means you are likely to wake up with a crease on your cheek that looks something like a dueling scar.

Fixing this problem is fairly simple. All you need is a cushion on the cheek section of the P10 strap.

ResMed P10 Nasal Pillows face mask.
Figure 9. ResMed P10 head strap with face cushions (the fluffy white things) to prevent facial disfigurement.

As you can see in figure 9 I have added face cushions to the cheek section of each side of the strap. The cushions pictured here are made of fleece fabric and I have to say they are a bit too much. The fleece fabric is fuzzy and tickles my sensitive skin, so wife Christine made two new ones from a less fuzzy fabric. But the procedure is the same regardless of which material you use.

Begin with your chosen piece of fabric about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. (You will duplicate these instructions for the second cushion.)

diagram for material to make cheek cushion
Figure 10. Material pattern to make cpap cheek cushion.

With the material inside-out and folded in half, sew a seam along the length of the material forming a loop or tube that is about ½ inch on the inside. It can be less (tighter) than this, but not by very much. Trim as much of the excess material as possible without damaging the seam.

Feed the tube through itself to turn it right-side out, putting the seam inside the tube so it will be away from your face when in use.

Now thread the end of the face strap through the tube.

Figure 11. Threading the face strap through the finished cushion. The pencil is dull to keep it from puncturing the closed end of the strap. I probably could have used the eraser end of the pencil for this.

Repeat for the other end of the head strap and your P10 should now look something like the headgear in figure 9.

Your head strap (straps, if you did both the top and back strap) is now adjustable. You have probably discovered that there is range of tightness that is best; not too tight, but tight enough to prevent leakage around your nose. You will find this much easier to achieve with this new, easier method of adjusting the straps.

Gnome Chomsky

gnome in the likeness of noam chomsky
Gnome Chomsky, semanticist and intellectual from MIT.

This garden gnome in the likeness (more or less) of Noam Chomsky has been with me for about 15 years. The name on the front, which is under the snow in this picture, says “Gnome Chomsky,” I am particularly fond of this gnomic icon of an American intellectual icon.

We don’t have that many of them, I’m sorry to say. Public intellectuals, that is. The larger pantheon of American heroes encompasses primarily people with money.

Gnome began existence in our yard in New York and now adorns our property in Wisconsin. (If you’re thinking, boy, what a contrast, New York to Wisconsin…yes.)

Out of all the years Gnome has been on display no one has ever commented on him or made mention of him. I guess I don’t know the right people.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Grip stick

Dowel with tape wrapped around it for hand strength.
One inch dowel wrapped in foam and tape for strengthening grip.

Injury to my right wrist and hand has weakened my grip so I made this grip-stick to exercise with. I hold it tightly while doing other parts of my workout. We may someday be back to handshake greeting and I want to be in shape when that time comes.

Looking at the picture of my hands reminds me I’m not twenty anymore. (That was loooong ago, I’m afraid.) But that does not bother me. I don’t seem to have that gene that makes a person willing to move heaven and Earth to avoid showing any signs or symptoms of age. Just because we live in a culture that reveres youth does not mean it is worthy of reverence.

So I’ll try to make my hand better but I’m not interested in making it look younger. Or any other part of me, for that matter. I find it interesting that I looked older than my age when I was young and now I look younger. Sometimes people don’t believe me when I tell them my age (not that it comes up all that often). My response to that is something I heard someone say when I was a kid: “You’ll believe it when you hear me get up.”

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Covid-19 hypodermic needle

Covid-19 vaccine ready to jab.

Being essentially essential and all, I just received my second injection of the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

I’m confident that by now everyone is familiar enough with all the terminology it is adequate to just say “covid.”

This as we are turning 500,000 covid deaths in the US. Outrageous!

It surprises me the number of people who still believe the pandemic is a myth conjured up by who-knows-who to do who-knows-what. That there are still people who remain so abysmally ignorant as to believe that mandated mask-wearing is an infringement of their freedom.

Well of course it is. Just as speed limits and taxes and laws against child rape are an infringement. Education has obviously fallen down somewhere along the line for these people who do not get it that laws and regulations are necessary to protect people from idiots.

Speaking of which, Texas has certainly got their comeuppance with this cold snap that has destroyed their basis for believing themselves to be special. Their belief in their exceptionalism has always been laughable. I know this first hand. I was born there. I know Texas. Which is why I will never go back there.

So now that the covid vaccine is being made available in greater numbers and maybe the end of the pandemic is in sight, will there be — as many are speculating — another Roaring ’20s? I’m guessing not. Or if there is, it will be cut short by something else. Living in dangerously warming climate in the grips of predatory, end-stage capitalism, there will be no shortage of potential disasters.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Pandemic Puzzle

“Houseplant Jungle.” One thousand piece jigsaw puzzle. Galison puzzle company.

We have worked several jigsaw puzzles over the past year as we have kept ourselves isolated from social contact.

I’m not that good at puzzles but Chris has excellent figure-ground perception and color vision. If you look at the picture you will notice that the upper right portion is almost completed. I did that part. The lower HALF of the puzzle is nearing completion and that’s Chris’s part. We have both spent about the same amount of time working on the puzzle.

The table under the puzzle board was painted by Chris. I provided the table. It is the table my sister and I grew up eating on. (Well, eating on plates on the table. You know.) We did our homework on it, too. When we did homework. Growing up in the Texas-Oklahoma panhandles you don’t have to do much homework if you’re good at football. (I was, Sis wasn’t.)

Chris might be pulling a Penelope stunt on this puzzle business. I suspect she sometimes gets up in the middle of the night and takes apart some of the puzzle she has completed. I suspect that because otherwise puzzles around our house would be completed much more quickly than they actually are.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Houseplant puzzle solved

completed puzzle of many houseplants

The “Houseplant” puzzle solved. Would that our more pressing problems could be solved as easily.

Who would have thought, a few years ago, that ordinary people in the state of my birth,  Texas, would be freezing and dying because of weather?
I guess it is a good thing global warming is not real, right? Maybe you guys could pray your way out of this. That’s what the mayor of Colorado City, Texas, suggested. Right before ye resigned in the middle of a mess.

The current weather in Texas reminds me of an old James Garner movie. He was a grizzled sheriff who, with two deputies, were out tracking some desperado. The weather was cold and awful and the two deputies kept up a constant litany of woe about their misery. Garner’s response was, “It’s just weather.”

I don’t suppose the folks in the Southwest would care to hear that right now. Twenty years or more of end-stage predatory capitalism has rendered the electrical grid in Texas only marginally functional in the face of “just weather.” It will be interesting to see if they have learned anything from this life-threatening utility debacle. (But hey, ya’ll ain’t regulated by the Feds!)

My guess is this will all slither down that slippery slope into the pit of forgotteness when the temperature goes up.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

The Ashlawn guard rabbit

Ashlawn rabbit

This rabbit lives in a burrow—its entrance is about eight inches from the rabbit’s nose—just a matter of feet from my office window. I joke about it being our guard rabbit but in reality it is a rather meek animal. Rabbits come and go around here with regularity. It occurs to me their well-known fecundity is nature’s way of provide and abundance of fodder for more predatory creatures like raptors, coyotes, foxes, and so on.

I like seeing this rabbit, even though the little rascal’s eating habits are not kind to our shrubbery and bushes. Even though we put out vegetable scraps in the harder winter months, we know that when spring comes we will have landscaping fatalities caused by rabbits’ culinary indiscretions.

Ashlawn rabbit (name and rank unknown) on guard duty outside my office window.

There used to be more wildlife around here. We would occasionally see foxes go trotting by; hear an owl at night; see deer herds moving across Cemetery Ridge just above us; eagles, hawks, vultures, and lots of other birds, during the summer; squirrels and chipmunks of course; and lots of sandhill cranes. But not so much anymore. Residential development has driven most of the wildlife away.

But, for now anyway, we still have our guard rabbit.

Hazardous airports in populated areas

airplane debris sitting in a yard in broomfield colorado where it fell off a plane in the air.
Debris dropped in a populated area from a United Airlines plane February 20, 2021.

Today a United Airlines plane dropped several pieces of debris in the populous are of Broomfield, Colorado. It could easily have killed or injured someone or a pet, or done serious damage.

Airliners and in fact all aircraft, including military craft, should be routed away from populated areas. If airports have to be moved to do that, then move them. It is unreasonable for all of us to be subjected to the threats posed by air traffic, and to the noise and pollution they create.

We have a small private airport in our town and one end of the runway is only about 300 feet from the high school. That makes no sense.

Parents always seen ready to do battle for real or imagined threats to their children. Does it take a genius to see the unnecessary threats posed by aircraft?

C’mon, folks, let’s start trying to shape things up in this country.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Hypocrisy rampant on a field of duplicity

hyprocisy word on background of reddish texture

Hypocrisy used to have a bad odor. When someone was accused of being a hypocrite they would either deny they were or try somehow to free themselves of any justification for being called a hypocrite.

However that seems no longer to be the case, at least with people in the public eye. Some people staunchly support and defend one set of principles or practices, then oppose them and deny their truth or validity when that is more convenient. Classic hypocrisy. You would think everyone would know that. Know what hypocrisy is, recognize it when they see it, and at the very least try to hide their own hypocrisy if and when it crops up.

Three questions . . .

One, what is it that makes hypocrisy such an undesirable characteristic in a person?

Being now in numbering mode and all, I would have to say there are three qualities that give hypocrisy its badness:

1. Hypocrisy is unfair.

Fairness ranks pretty high on my scale of desirable qualities and hypocrisy is nothing if not the epitome of not-fairness, of being unfair. To use a sports example: the height of hypocrisy, and therefore unfairness, would be a sporting event where there was one set of rules for the home team, and another set of tougher rules for the opponent. No good American would accept that, so why is hypocrisy so broadly engaged and accepted these days?

“Playing by the rules” has become a common mantra. We want everyone to play by the rules, and we want the same set of rules for everyone. Basically that means no fair rigging the rules to suit your agenda. We don’t like cheaters, and we don’t like hypocrites because hypocrisy is a form of cheating.

2. Hypocrisy is dishonest. 

How can you trust someone who thinks it is okay to be unfair? If a hypocrite can take opposing positions on one issue, there is no telling when they will do it again. When the only reliable aspect of a person’s value system is that he will assuredly act in his own interests despite how bad the behavior is for someone else, that person is surely an undesirable. Undesirable as a friend, undesirable as a mate, undesirable as an employee or employer, and so on. Liars don’t make good anythings in the Western canon of human value.

3. Hypocrisy is insulting.

No matter the good values or qualities of a hypocrite, none of them can be counted on. If a person can hold opposing values on one subject, they can do it with others. That makes everything they say potentially duplicitous and devoid of logical reason. Their story varies from one audience to the next, from one situation to the next. Such treatment is an insult. There are more than enough insults to life on this planet without having to put up with hypocrites.

So, yeah, hypocrisy is a bad characteristic in a human being. More negatives could be generated but for me these three are enough to put hypocrisy clearly in the undesirable column.

Two, what’s going on in the hypocrite’s mind?

Does the hypocrite know what hypocrisy is?

The answer to this question depends, for the most part, on education. Some of the most egregious hypocrisy I’ve witnessed in the last decade or so has been perpetrated by Republican politicians. Most of them have been through the educational system, many with advanced or professional degrees, and must surely know the fundamental dictates of logic. They certainly must know what hypocrisy is.
On the other hand there are the woefully under-educated classes in America who probably slept through the class on hypocrisy. They probably know not what they do when they hypocrasize.New word. Neologism, if you please. You first saw it here. These are the people who, when accused of being hypocritical, probably respond with something like, “I can criticize whatever I want. This’s a free country!”

Does he know when he is being a hypocrite?

Is he aware of his hypocrisy? Formal logic is one of those categories of knowledge that is very hard to come by. I taught argumentation and debate at both the undergraduate and graduate level and I all-too-infrequently sensed that very many of the students were getting it. That might have been because of limitation in my teaching skills, but there is no doubt that in general students don’t enjoy, and certainly few grasp, the fundamentals of formal logic.

To avoid hypocrisy requires the tools of logic. One of the key ingredients is the syllogism. Syllogistic reasoning is deductive and involved in something like this (sort of): All human being are mammals. Mervin is a human being. Therefore Mervin is a mammal. Pretty simple stuff, and true. If you are reading this, take it from me, you are a mammal. Okay, if this statement jimmied your jammer, you are a clever devil and indeed onto something. Nothing in my example syllogism said anything about reading. We would need another premise or two to get to that. But you know it is true. If you don’t…were you one of my students?

If there is self-awareness, is the hypocrisy a strategy?

Not being aware of their hypocrisy, or that hypocrisy destroys credibility among those who are aware of it and despise it, is likely existent only among people with less education. Those more educated are likely to know what they are doing. That is, they know they are talking out of both sides of their mouth. Thus it must be a strategy.

At this point I am relying primarily on logic and reason; I have no empirical evidence about who does and who does not understand hypocrisy, nor can I speak with any scientific authority on what self-aware hypocrites are up to. I can only guess. But of course my guess is predicated upon nearly a lifetime of observing, studying and experimenting with human beings’ beliefs, attitudes and behavior at the highest formal research levels.

If you don’t have any idea what I mean by this, then it would not help you to know. So here’s my guess, and it breaks down into two parts:

Part 1. Human beings have an almost infinite ability to delude themselves.

It never ceases to amaze me just how completely some people can blind themselves to inconvenient facts. They can “fail” to see their hypocrisy relative to two opposing positions they hold, although they may be singularly astute when it comes to detecting hypocrisy in others.

Case in point. I was once part of a faculty that included one of the world’s foremost authorities on human communication and also an authority on scientific research methods. God help any of his graduate students who did not adhere rigorously to scientifically demonstrable evidence and the strictest use of logic and evidence in theory construction and hypothesis testing.

Yet this world renowned scholar and scientist was an unreconstituted, born-again Christian. In his professional life he could accept only a rigorously lawful universe in which everything was lawful and, if you knew enough, predictable. Yet in his religious life, steeped in Christian theology, anything was possible. Virgins can have babies, the dead can come back to life, magic is real, and so on; his “lawful universe” was put on hold when it came to his personal theology. This man epitomized the highest form of hypocrisy, one in which two mutually inconsistent forms of systematic thinking can exist side by side.

It is obviously possible for some people at least to compartmentalize various intellectual domains. Especially if one of those domains is the person’s religion. Somehow “religion” or “religious belief” has, in the Western world anyway, taken on a kind of untouchable status that makes it immune to criticism or questioning. It exists in a different part of the person’s intellect and is not subject to the same requirements as other internal belief systems.

This is how the scientific or religious hypocrite is untroubled by what would otherwise be sheer hypocrisy. In the mind of the true believer It is somehow okay for God to crap in his own nest; the world has to be lawfully predictable for us but anything is fair game for him. Or her.

My guess, part 2.

This involves what might be called strategic hypocrisy. It can be found in many forms perpetrated by just about everyone who is in any kind of authority position. It is practiced most egregiously by politicians. In my experience, when someone engages in strategic hypocrisy, they are counting on their audience not knowing about their other (oppositional) beliefs. Or proclamations.

In some cases — and we see this most obviously in extremists who believe only what they want to — it makes no difference that the person’s hypocrisy is obvious and publicly known. As long as the intended audience, the audience most important to the ends and goals of the speaker, determinedly will not believe the other side of the story. To them the part they don’t want to believe is fake news or its equivalent, so the hypocrite is safe. He can say one thing to one audience and the opposite to another. His auditors have been verbally drugged, either through propaganda or as a product of their own devising. They are the willfully gullible (but only by the ones they have been conditioned to follow).

Three, What’s to be done about hypocrisy?

In some respects hypocrisy is built into the human psyche so it is never going to be eliminated. But ignoring it is not an option when it is detrimental to a cause or relationship or a child’s psychological and moral development.

Exposure of hypocrisy is the best tactic in situations where that will work.

When a hypocrite knows he is being watched, and that his hypocrisy will be exposed if he engages in it, he is much less likely to be hypocritical. Let the hypocrite know you are watching him and it might change his behavior.

Unfortunately there are many situations in which exposure will not work. Another strategy is to sneak up on the hypocrite through successive probes of his latitude of acceptance.

Before getting into that, though, here is the absolute worst way to convince anyone of anything: Make your first statement something with which the other person strongly disagrees. Whenever you make such a statement, regardless of whether it is correct or not, you effectively turn off the other person’s perception of anything you say after that.

It is almost always a bad idea to make strong oppositional statements to anyone you want to convince of something.

Here is an example from an article on the pros and cons of COVID-19 vaccination, written by a medical doctor who bills himself as “an expert in the field of preventative [sic] cardiology and has published seven books. He gives lectures nationally and internationally.”

“It is my opinion, not shared by an ignorant, ill-informed few, that vaccination was the greatest advance in medicine of the last century.”

I don’t know what kind of cardiologist this guy is, but he knows bupkis about persuasion. His very first sentence not only confronts head-on anyone who might not agree with him, it also insults them by calling them ignorant and ill-informed. The only people who will read beyond that faux pas are his choir.

Graphic showing latitude of acceptance for Covid-19 vaccination.

As I said, approaching another person’s belief structure with a view to changing it can be done through his latitude of acceptance. Do an Internet search for this term and you will come up with a lot of information, but here it is in a nutshell: The latitude of acceptance is a window of receptivity to certain ideas. Here is an example using receptivity/opposition to Covid-19 vaccination.

The latitude of acceptance for this person begins at “A few vaccinations might be acceptable for healthy adults” and ends at “Vaccinations are okay for healthy adults. Beginning your campaign of persuasion with anything stronger will be immediately rejected. Plus, and this is important, rejection tends to be sticky and hang around for a long time. So be cautious and avoid outright rejection.

Very often there is no window of opportunity to shift a belief or attitude; the person is closed off to anything related to the topic. Sticking with the example of vaccination acceptance, suppose even the mention of vaccination was not in any way acceptable. In this case you will have to go around back and sneak in another way. by finding a bridge topic with a latitude of acceptance.

Say for instance the person has a pet dog of which he is quite fond. The dog periodically requires a rabies shot. This is, approached gently, a possible opening for the discussion of vaccinations, beginning with the dog’s and advancing eventually to vaccinations for people. This is a bridge topic that might, with a soft and gradual approach, lead to the acceptance of vaccinations for people.

This vaccination issue, by the way, is not simply an academic exercise, a mute point, or strictly hypothetical. Being the reasonable, intelligent person you are — you are, after all, smart enough to be reading this — you might think hey, why wouldn’t someone want a Covid-19 vaccine? So far over half a million people have died from the virus. But of the 75,000 people who were vaccinated, a month later less than five percent had contracted the virus, none were hospitalized, and none died.

Yet there remain about a third of American adults who either don’t want the vaccine or remain undecided about whether they will get it. That’s over a hundred million people on whom you can hone your persuasion skills.

If you agree, that is, that everyone needs to be immunized to bring this virus under control. If you are not convinced, please bear this in mind: Scientists, epidemiologists, physicians and other healthcare workers — virtually all (99.6 percent) say everyone must be immunized before any of us is really safe from this deadly disease. If you are not in one of the groups I just listed, you have only two choices. One, accept the word of highly educated, trained, dedicated specialists, or two, take advice from someone who probably would not know a virus from a Quonset hut.

Your choice. Make it as if your life depended on it. Because it just might.

No, I have not forgotten that this article is about hypocrisy. To bring it to a close let’s consider just one example of extreme hypocrisy related to the Covid-19 vaccine. Most parents claim to totally love their children and say they would do anything to protect them and keep them safe. Yet some are willing to withhold vaccination from their children based on what Derek Thompson of The Atlantic calls “a constellation of motivations, insecurities, reasonable fears, and less reasonable conspiracy theories.” (What Thompson calls “reasonable fears” are not so reasonable when they are dissected.)

Such parents should be put away and their children raised by more reasonable folk. Unless you can bring them around to a sensible position vis-à-vis vaccination.

There is a lot more that could be said about hypocrisy and ways to deal with it. So this article is certainly far from exhaustive. But it does perhaps give you some indications of the psycho-dynamics involved and ways to approach a deeper understanding of what hypocrisy is, where it springs from, and tactics for dealing with it.

As a postscript let me say that the subject of hypocrisy would be worthy of consideration by any academic or scientist looking for a research area. It should appeal to many disciplines, including philosophy (especially from a logic perspective),  and any of the social or behavioral sciences.

charles e. henderson, ph.d.

Credo phone crapola

credo emblem behind no sign

Like many people I have become more than weary of the incessant greed and profit-driven cynicism of American business. Everyone constantly has their hand out and evidently lies awake nights coming up with ever more devious schemes to filch a little more (and a little more…and a little more…) profit out of every transaction.

We’ve all become wise to product improvements. “New and improved” usually turns out to be basically an improvement in the company’s bottom line and a disimprovement for us customers.

Container walls are a particular peeve of mine. They have become thinner and thinner to the point that a bottle of mouthwash cannot be picked up with the lid off without collapsing and squishing out its contents. Labels have been replaced by printed information on clothing. A food container that used to contain 16 ounces is reduced slightly, like to 14 and a half ounces, but the price remains the same. It looks the same, just slightly (and the company hopes unnoticeably) smaller, but more profitable.

I have visions of company executives winning a (pre-Covid) week in Barbados for coming up with ingenious ways to wrest another penny or two profit on their products.

Greed has become the American national passion. Too much never seems to be enough.

Back in the old days most businesses, especially large, national ones, could be relied on to be basically honest. Not any more. The advertising and marketing pressure, coupled with corporate cynicism, have made consumer cynicism de rigueur. As Lily Tomlin said, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” Amen to that.

Hardly a day goes by that something doesn’t set me off. This morning it was Credo Mobile.

A few years ago my wife and I moved our telephone accounts to Credo Mobile because they claimed to be “America’s only progressive cell phone company.” On their web site they say they have donated more than 80 million dollars to progressive nonprofits. Their CEO says they support repeal of the Patriot Act and other measures that appeal to us.

They talk a good story and I don’t doubt their sincerity. And yet…

And yet they still use measures that tick me off.

Their procedure for paperless billing, for example. It seems obvious to me that it is all designed to get customers to pay online. But not with a credit card; you have to give them access to your bank account. And pay early. They love the float. Here’s the way they work it:

They send an email telling me the bill is available to be paid, several weeks in advance. NO amount, NO due date, NO other information (unlike other online billers). UPDATE: I don’t know whether it is because of anything I’ve said to them or not, but now the emailed bill notification shows the date due. But only that. That is an insignificant improvement because it does not eliminate the necessity to go to the site, sign in, and negotiate several pathways to finally get the amount of this month’s bill.

I have to sign onto the account in a browser, pull up the account which shows the amount but NOT the due date.

So I have to pull up a pdf of the statement to get the due date, then
Log onto my bank’s billpay and pay it.

This is a pain in the butt. I wanted to switch back to paper, which is a lot easier for me, but—TA DAH!—that costs an extra two bucks a month.

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The options:
I want paperless billing.
I want to receive paper bills. I understand that I will be charged a $1.99 monthly fee.

And they absolutely do not want to hear anything from me about being dissatisfied with their procedures—I was unable to find any way to contact them other than CHAT which in itself discourages communication because of the anticipated lags between responses, PR blather in a thick Indian accent, and the knowledge that it is all ultimately going into the trash anyway.