Artists really are happier

The starving artist in the garret may be a cliché but new research published today in the Journal of Cultural Economics also shows he or she is likely to be happier than the rest of us. The researchers found that visual or performance artists have a higher job satisfaction rating than people in any other profession.… [read more]

Proof that thinking and decision-making use different brain areas

For a long time we have argued, on the evidence of brain imaging studies that thinking (cognition) and choosing used different parts of the brain and that messaging—whether marketing, persuading, motivating—had to target those parts of the brain that were actually involved in the decision, not those that ‘thought’ about the subject.… [read more]

An Innovative Team needs an oddball

A study published today from researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows the importance of having diversity of outlook on any really innovative team. The study shows that people who are extreme individualists, who are frequently socially excluded for their behaviour or views, can use this exclusion creatively to come up with new and useful innovations.… [read more]

Middle-class kids: ‘squeaky wheels in training’

According to research published today from the University of Indiana, working-class parents and middle-class parents train their kids quite differently. WC parents train their children to be passive, avoid problems and find their own solutions. They also stress being  polite and deferential to authority figures.… [read more]

People prejudiced against those with opposing values

Research published today in the journal Psychological Science challenges a deeply held view that liberals are more open to opposing values and ideas than conservatives. In fact the research shows that both groups are equally prejudiced against people with value systems that oppose their own.… [read more]

Why organisations fail

Back from the wild West Coast I read a book review in July 6 edition of Science of Acemoglu & Robinson’s “Why Nations Fall” (copy in office) which made a whole lot of things fall into place—especially around culture and innovation.… [read more]

Smiling levels the playing field

Ever noticed in ads that when fashion models are wearing low-status clothes (e.g. from Target) they are generally smiling and when they are wearing upscale clothes (e.g. from Prada or Armani) they aren’t? Also portraits of emperors or kings rarely show their subjects smiling whereas paintings of lower status people generally do?… [read more]

Tell the truth, get fit

In an address given last week at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association, Professor Anita Kelly of Notre Dame University outlined research which showed that there was a direct link between truth telling and physical and mental health. Those who reduced the number of lies they told—even harmless white lies—became mentally and physically fitter over a 10-week experimental period.… [read more]

Bad relationships can cause cancer

In a talk to be given at the American Psychological Association annual conference, University of Massachusetts professor Paula Pietromonaco will outline how the stress hormone cortisol is elevated in relationships where there is insufficient attachment. This elevation can lead to chronic disease, cancer and birth defects.… [read more]

Men and women see things differently

Well, to be truthful, they see different things. A study published today in the journal Vision Research proves for the first time that men and women are distracted by different things and that their focus is different. Interestingly, among the other findings, women focus on the eyes and body of a speaker and men focus on the mouth.… [read more]