When does a small gift become a bribe?

If a sales agent brings their customer a small gift, the customer is much more likely to make a purchase, a new study has shown. This works particularly well when the person receiving the gift is the boss. The fact that even small gifts can result in conflicts of interest has implications for the debate about where the line should be drawn between tokens of appreciation and attempted bribery.… [read more]

Expanding CEO-to-worker pay gap bad for business.

Companies whose CEOs earn hundreds of times their average employee’s pay are viewed as less desirable to work for, and to do business with, according to a new study.

Probing a new angle of income inequality, the researchers sought to determine how people would feel about a company once they knew what the top executive made compared to the workers.… [read more]

Does your environment raise or lower your IQ?

The debate about intelligence rages in academic circles and what is astounding is the increasing number of factors which seem to dictate both intelligence—in all its forms—and our ability to use it. This study began with a question of primary interest to neurogeneticists and found something fascinating in its broader implications.… [read more]

The evil of email: Bosses are getting boxed in by their inbox.

We have known from multiple previous studies that emails—and all other forms of digital and electronic communication—reduce trust and can lead to increased mood disorders. Now a team of researchers has come up with a new slogan as a result of their studies: Want to be a better boss?… [read more]

The art of storytelling: why we relate to characters.

For thousands of years, humans have relied on storytelling to engage, to share emotions and to relate personal experiences. Now, psychologists are exploring mechanisms deep within the brain to better understand just what happens when we communicate.

New research published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, suggests that no matter how a narrative is expressed—through words, gestures or drawings—our brains relate best to the characters, focusing on the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist of each story.… [read more]

We’re hardwired for envy.

There have been many studies looking at envy of late. But this one is by far the most significant.

A study on macaques by researchers at the US National Institute for Physiological Sciences has identified part of the brain that registers when another macaque receives a reward, showing that this affects the value we place on our own resources and rewards, thus providing an insight into the emotion of envy.… [read more]

People show confirmation bias even in trivial things  

It has been long known that people tend to interpret new information in a way that supports their pre-existing beliefs, a phenomenon known as confirmation bias. Once they’ve decided which house to buy, which school to send their kids to, or which political candidate to vote for, they tend to interpret new evidence such that it reassures them they’ve made the right call.… [read more]

Making happiness last longer

For most people, the sense of happiness derived from a luxurious vacation, a good movie or a tasty dinner at a restaurant may seem short-lived, but what if it were possible to extend these feelings of enjoyment?

Researchers behind a new study decided to explore whether the way people frame their goals for an experience influences how much happiness they glean from the experience over time.… [read more]

The problem with guilt

Every human society has a system of laws and moral codes which order the way people can live together, work together and collaborate with each other to do business together. When people “intentionally” break these laws and codes, we all them “guilty.” This paper looks in detail at some of the drivers of guilt and how we might look at the ideas of guilt and innocence in a new and perhaps more productive light.… [read more]