New Research Focuses on the Power of Physical Contact - The New York TimesIn a paper due out this year in the journal Emotion, […] with a few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch-bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, currently two of the league’s top teams; at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats. The same was true, more or less, for players. […] To correct for the possibility that the better teams touch more often simply because they are winning, the researchers rated performance based not on points or victories but on a sophisticated measure of how efficiently players and teams managed the ball — their ratio of assists to giveaways, for example. And even after the high expectations surrounding the more talented teams were taken into account, the correlation persisted. Players who made contact with teammates most consistently and longest tended to rate highest on measures of performance, and the teams with those players seemed to get the most out of their talent.
Belonging to a group boosts sense of control and satisfactionThe experimenters randomly assigned Americans to one of two conditions: high identification and low identification. Those in the former condition they asked a series of questions that made it very easy to disagree with negative statements about their country (e.g., “I feel no affiliation with the United States”) and agree with positive (e.g., “In general, I like living in the United States.”). Those in the latter, by contrast, were asked questions that made it very easy to agree with negative statements about their country (“There are some things I don’t like about the United States”) and disagree with positive (“I identify very strongly with the United States”). The experimenters reasoned that answering these questions would cause a temporary shift in people’s sense of national identity. And sure enough, those in the “high identification” condition reported being more proud to be an American than those in the “low identification” condition. Additionally, the more identified as American, the more control they felt over their lives. But the most important finding emerged when the experimenters asked participants to write about an experience in which they felt totally powerless. This sort of writing exercise can cause a temporary negative mood. And indeed, people in the “low identification” condition exhibited various negative emotions consistent with depression. On the other hand, those in the “high identification” condition showed no significant decrease in mood. Their feeling of national pride had bolstered their perceived personal control, which in term buffered them against dejection. Overall, then, this research suggests that belonging to a community—whether it’s your family, your workplace, your religious organization, or your country—can help you deal with life’s challenges.
Our best and worst moments occur within social relationships, research showsGabriel says that much research in social psychology has explicitly or implicitly implied that events experienced independent of other individuals are central to explaining our most intense emotional experiences. "We found, however, "she says, "that it was not independent events or individual achievements like winning awards or completing tasks that affected participants the most, but the moments when close relationships began or ended; when people fell in love or found a new friend; when a loved one died or broke their hearts. In short, it was the moments of connecting to others that that touched peoples' lives the most."
Does a group have a mind of its own? | Character and ContextStrikingly, we found that participants were willing to attribute beliefs and desires to a group agent even when they didn’t attribute those beliefs and desires to any of the group’s members. In response to the scenario described above, participants overwhelmingly reported that the committee—the group agent—wanted to play the third kind of music but that none of the individual members wanted to play that kind of music.
But I would argue that a culture of secrecy is bound to end up harming the institution itself, especially when it’s firmly under the control of one leader, as Amazon is under Jeff Bezos. Without some permeability to the outside world, groupthink takes over, bad habits become entrenched, and a company, like a government, is slow to recognize problems that are apparent to everyone else. I saw this happening with American officials in Iraq, holed up in the Embassy in the middle of the Green Zone and beguiled by their own data points while the country outside spiraled down in flames. To Amazon, any piece of information could give its competitors an advantage. But what if those competitors’ main advantage is the walled-off, impenetrable nature of the company?