Employee volunteerism? Only if you think your boss is ethical

I have seen a lot of interesting studies on the science of ethics recently, but this one really caught my eye.

What the researchers say:

The new study shows that people who perceive their employer as committed to environmental and community-based causes will, in turn, engage in green behavior and local volunteerism, with one caveat: their immediate boss must display similarly ethical behavior.… [read more]

“Each one thinks the tiger will eat him last.

” You’ve all heard of Signal Detection Theory (SDT), right? Probably not unless you’re a psychologist specializing in non-human animal behavior. SDT is a well-established idea that has influenced behavioral science for around 50 years. Essentially, the theory holds that in a predator-prey relationship, prey animals will show more wariness and be more prone to flee as predators become more common.… [read more]

Close friends linked to a sharper memory.

New research confirms that maintaining strong social networks (not Facebook connections) seems to be linked to slower cognitive decline.

What the researchers say: Maintaining positive, warm and trusting friendships might be the key to a slower decline in memory and cognitive functioning, according to the new study.… [read more]

The importance of empowerment.

Alicia and I have been doing a lot of research into and teaching about workplace empowerment recently. A ton of research has shown, for example, that empowered employees are more productive, proactive and have a greater sense of well-being. Now it would seem that they can be empowered, or at least proactive, even when they don’t trust their leaders.… [read more]

Simple Tool Shows Lasting Reduction in Burnout

Burnout is one of the most pressing problems facing professionals of all kinds. We are constantly being asked to do more with fewer resources to try to grasp an increasing share of an ever-decreasing economic pie for our employers. This pressure will continue for the foreseeable future.… [read more]

Were the Neanderthals smarter than we are?

Neanderthals had larger brains than modern humans do, and a new study of a Neanderthal child’s skeleton now suggests this is because their brains spent more time growing. Modern humans are known for having unusually large brains for their size. It takes a lot of energy to develop such large brains, and previous research suggested that the high cost of modern-human brain development was a key reason why human growth, in general, is slow compared with that of other primates.… [read more]

Motivation may be less limited than we think.

Although we tire at specific tasks a study has found that the motivation to work may be stable throughout the day.

After a long day of work and carefully watching what you eat, you might expect your self-control to slip a little by kicking back and cracking open a bag of potato chips.… [read more]

You can ‘pick up’ a good or bad mood from your friends.

Fortunately, depression doesn’t have the same effect. The new research suggests that both good and bad moods can be ‘picked up’ from friends, but depression can’t.

What the researchers say: The team analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health which incorporates the moods and friendship networks in the US.… [read more]