Your Sense of Moral Purity May Block You from Making Professional Connections

Research participants who imagined themselves pursuing professional connections at a party felt dirtier afterward, on average, than those who had imagined themselves merely meeting a lot of people at the party and having a good time (2.13 versus 1.43 on a five-point dirty-feelings scale), say Tiziana Casciaro of the University of Toronto, Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School, and Maryam Kouchaki of Harvard University. Moreover, people in the former group were later more likely to take a favorable view of cleaning products such as soap, toothpaste, and window cleaner. This and other experiments suggest that networking in pursuit of professional goals can harm a person’s sense of personal moral purity, the authors write in a working paper.

SOURCE: The Contaminating Effects of Building Instrumental Ties: How Networking Can Make Us Feel Dirty

Do You Have to Be Perfectly Qualified Before You Can Apply for That Promotion?

An internal review at Hewlett-Packard revealed a striking difference between female and male employees, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman write in The Atlantic: Women applied for promotion only when they believed they met 100% of the qualifications listed for the job; men applied when they thought they could meet 60% of the requirements. The difference comes down to confidence, the writers say.

Narcissistic CEOs Take Bold Action When There's an Appreciative Audience
SOURCE: The Confidence Gap

How Mental Biases Distort Perceptions of MBA Program Rankings

When considering MBA programs and colleges that move up in published rankings, people are most impressed when the movement crosses a round-number category, such as from number 11 to number 10, as opposed to moving from 10 to 9, say Mathew S. Isaac of Seattle University and Robert M. Schindler of Rutgers. This “top ten” effect shows that consumers mentally divide lengthy rankings into smaller sets of categories and exaggerate differences between numbers that cross category boundaries. Organizations that depend on their public rankings would do well to invest aggressively in improving their positions if doing so might push them into a higher round-number category, the research suggests.

SOURCE: The Top-Ten Effect: Consumers’ Subjective Categorization of Ranked Lists

To Enhance Your Learning, Take a Few Minutes to Think About What You’ve Learned

Research participants who did an arithmetic brain-teaser and then reflected on their strategies for solving it went on to do 18% better in a second round than their peers who hadn’t set aside time to reflect, according to Giada Di Stefano of HEC Paris, Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano of Harvard Business School, and Bradley Staats of the University of North Carolina. The unconscious learning that happens when you tackle a challenging task can become more effective if you deliberately couple it with controlled, conscious attempts to learn by thinking, the research suggests.

SOURCE: Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance

Your Tendency to Put Things Off May Have Been Inherited

46% of the trait of procrastination is due to genetic influences, according to a study of hundreds of sets of twins. The research also lends support to a theory that procrastination, in its tendency to undermine adherence to long-term goals, is a byproduct of impulsivity, which may have had an evolutionary origin: Hunter-gatherers had an advantage if they acted swiftly to satisfy their survival needs. Your genetics don’t necessarily condemn you to a life of procrastination: The 46% figure means procrastination is only “moderately heritable,” according to the researchers, led by Daniel E. Gustavson of the University of Colorado.

What is happening to your brain [Boomerology Revealed TV #06]

How the Spine Affects your Brain with Dr Shannon Parisi (I was not aware of this at all!) We also talk about the Lifestrength bracelet and how that affects your health, a list of films that every baby boomer should watch, the art of multi-tasking and some fun pictures.



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Your Ability to Size Up a Face Probably Isn’t Based on Experience

If adults assume that their ability to discern trustworthiness, or the lack thereof, in strangers’ faces is a skill honed over a lifetime, they’re wrong. Children ages 5 and 6 made very nearly the same judgments about the trustworthiness of computer-generated faces as adults, and children ages 3 to 4 were off by just a few percentage points, says a team led by Emily J. Cogsdill of Harvard. People make inferences—right or wrong—about strangers’ characters within 50 milliseconds of viewing their faces, prior research has shown.
baby girl face

SOURCE: Inferring Character from Faces: A Developmental Study

Are You Future Oriented? Your Language Tells the Tale

The structure of the language spoken by a company’s top team affects the firm’s planning for the future, according to doctoral student Hao Liang, Christopher Marquis of Harvard Business School, and two colleagues. If the language is English, Spanish, or one of many others that use mainly grammar, rather than context, to distinguish present from future (“It is raining,” “It will rain”), people tend to focus less on the future, presumably because it seems more distant. On corporate social responsibility, which is a highly future-oriented activity, firms in countries speaking these “strong-future-time-reference” languages underperform firms in weak-future-time-reference countries by more than 1.2 grades on a 7-step scale, the researchers say.

SOURCE: Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility