It’s Fate, Karma, Kismet—I feel better

Leaders of companies often tell me that they are pride themselves in their rationality. This amuses me since all the recent research shows how irrational we humans are.  A recent article in the New York Times explains how this irrationality, even when it involves superstition, can be beneficial and make us actually perform tasks better and with greater satisfaction.… [read more]

The science of relationships

Five upcoming articles in Psychological Science were flagged today. They all have lessons for those in organizations trying to make the business more productive and profitable by making relationships within it work.

Source: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/the-psychological-science-of-relationships-news-brief.html… [read more]

Focus on strengths

In all our work with firms and corporations we emphasize the need to concentrate on what an employee does well, not catch them out doing something wrong. A neat research piece from the Gallup Management Journal endorses this approach and offers some crucial questions that managers, employees and leaders need to ask themselves to develop the right approach.… [read more]

The real value of values

There is no question that a strong sense of values boosts the quality of life and even survival of individuals. I was therefore recently intrigued but not really surprised to see a study published in the January 2012 edition of Psychological Science saying that even spending 15 minutes a day writing about values that you hold dear can help obese people lose weight.… [read more]

Beyond positive psychology

Researchers from the University of Tennessee and Florida State U have published a fascinating piece in the current American Scientist (link below is to the abstract). Their studies demonstrate that the traits lauded by the positive psychology movement—forgiveness, optimistic expectations, positive thoughts and kindness—may not always lead to good outcomes in troubled or stressful situations.… [read more]

How powerful people behave

An interesting study published today in Psychological Science shows that given positional power people do behave differently but not necessarily logically or consistently.

Source: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/being-in-power-does-not-always-magnify-personality.html… [read more]

Facial expressions mean the same thing to everyone? Not really

A study published today on the AAAS online newsletter Science Now says that the idea, which has been around since Darwin’s time, that facial expressions mean the same to all cultures and are therefore genetically-based, is false. In fact differing cultures see subtly different meanings in facial expressions with one exception—the smile, which universally means the same thing.… [read more]

Professional image creation

An interesting piece by Harvard Professor Laura Morgan Roberts published a few years ago (2005) is worth rereading. Roberts discusses the ways in which professionals can overcome various serotyping and other drawbacks to create an acceptable relationship image and project that to clients and colleagues.… [read more]

Income inequality breeds distrust

An interesting paper published today looks at one of the key reasons for distrust and dishonesty. The researcher found that dishonesty increases with income inequality.

This is an important issue for businesses. Income inequality is rising in all developed countries—witness the famous 1% paradigm of the  Occupy movement.… [read more]

Study shows longer commercials to be more effective

A new study published today sheds light on the emotional effectiveness of different kinds television commercials. The researchers found that long ads have a more intense emotional impact than short ones. Negative, even violent , ads have a greater impact than positive ones and that those with a social or moral message (positive or negative) have a greater emotional impact than either short or long “commercial” ads.… [read more]