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13 Signs That Someone Is About to Quit, According to Research

Their work productivity has decreased more than usual. They have acted less like a team player than usual. They have been doing the minimum amount of work more frequently than usual. They have been less interested in pleasing their manager than usual. They have been less willing to commit to long-term timelines than usual. They have exhibited a negative change in attitude. They have exhibited less effort and work motivation than usual. They have exhibited less focus on job related matters than usual. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their current job more frequently than usual. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their supervisor more frequently than usual. They have left early from work more frequently than usual. They have lost enthusiasm for the mission of the organization. They have shown less interest in working with customers than usual.

"Caffeine helps meetings!" or "coffee addicts function badly without coffee?"

Researchers found that people gave more positive reviews for their group's performance on a task -- and their own contribution -- if they drank caffeinated coffee beforehand. A second study showed that people talked more in a group setting under the influence of caffeinated coffee -- but they also were more on-topic than those who drank decaf. Coffee seems to work its magic in teams by making people more alert, said Amit Singh, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in marketing at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. "We found that increased alertness was what led to the positive results for team performance," Singh said. "Not surprisingly, people who drank caffeinated coffee tended to be more alert." Singh conducted the study with Vasu Unnava and H. Rao Unnava, both formerly at Ohio State and now with the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis. The study appears online in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. While many studies have looked at how caffeine affects individual performance, this is the first to examine the impact it has on teams, Singh said. The first study involved 72 undergraduate students who said they were coffee drinkers. They were instructed not to drink coffee before the experiment. Half of them first participated in what they were told was a coffee-tasting task. They were split into groups of five. After drinking a cup of coffee and rating its flavor, they were given 30 minutes of filler tasks to give the caffeine a chance to kick in. The other half of the participants did the coffee tasting at the end of the experiment.

Column: You Are What You Measure

If we want to change what they care about, we should change what we measure. It can’t be that simple, you might argue— but psychologists and economists will tell you it is. Human beings adjust behavior based on the metrics they’re held against. Anything you measure will impel a person to optimize his score on that metric. What you measure is what you’ll get. Period. This phenomenon plays out time and again in research studies. Give someone frequent flyer miles, and he’ll fly in absurd ways to optimize his miles.

Men take shortcuts, while women follow well-known routes: Study confirms that men and women tend to adopt different navigation strategies and men navigate more efficiently than women -- ScienceDaily

"As predicted from previous research, these experiments showed that men were more likely to take shortcuts and on average reached their goal location faster than women. In contrast, female participants were more likely to follow learned routes and wander," explains Boone. "In both experiments, men were significantly more efficient than women, even after controlling for the effects of strategy."

The Power of Listening in Helping People Change

Another benefit of high-quality listening is that it helps speakers see both sides of an argument (what we called “attitude complexity”). In another paper we found that speakers who conversed with a good listener reported attitudes that were more complex and less extreme — in other words, not one-sided. In another lab experiment we instructed 114 undergraduates at a business school to talk for 12 minutes about their fitness to become a manager in the future. We randomly assigned these speakers to one of three listening groups (good, moderate, and poor). Speakers in the good listening condition talked to a trained listener, who was either a certified management coach or a trained social-work student. We asked these trained listeners to use all their listening skills, such as asking questions and reflecting. Speakers in the moderate listening condition talked to another undergraduate at the business school who was instructed to listen as he or she usually does. Speakers in the poor listening condition talked with a student from the theatre department who was instructed to act distracted (e.g., by looking aside and playing with their smartphones). After the conversation, we asked the speakers to indicate separately the extent to which they thought they were suitable for becoming managers. Based on these answers, we calculated their attitude complexity (whether they saw both strengths and weaknesses that would affect their ability to be a manager) and extremity (whether they saw only one side). We found that speakers who talked to a good listener saw both strengths and weaknesses more than those in the other conditions. Speakers who talked to a distracted listener mostly described their strengths and barely acknowledged their weaknesses. Interestingly, the speakers in the poor listening condition were those that, on average, reported feeling the most suitable for becoming a manager.

Giving employees 'decoy' sanitizer options could improve hand hygiene -- ScienceDaily

The results were clear: The experimental groups in each factory used more hand sanitizer after the decoy method was introduced relative to the comparison groups. In two of the factories, the experimental group kept increasing their use of the original spray sanitizer throughout the 20-day intervention period, whereas the comparison groups did not.

When there's an audience, people's performance improves -- ScienceDaily

When participants knew an audience was watching, a part of the prefrontal cortex associated with social cognition, particularly the thoughts and intentions of others, activated along with another part of the cortex associated with reward. Together these signals triggered activity in the ventral striatum, an area of the brain that motivates action and motor skills. In essence, the presence of an audience, at least a small one, increased people's incentive to perform well, Chib said, and the brain scans validated this by showing the neural mechanism for how it happens. While people were watching, participants were an average of 5 percent better at the video game -- and as much as 20 percent better. Only two participants didn't perform better in front of others.

Monkeys' brains synchronize as they collaborate to perform a motor task: Levels of synchronicity in motor cortex are influenced by proximity, social status -- ScienceDaily

During one task, one monkey, called the passenger, sat in an electronic wheelchair programmed to reach a reward across the room, a fresh grape. A second monkey, the observer, was also in the room watching the first monkey's trajectory toward the reward. Electrical activity in the motor cortex of each monkey's brain was recorded simultaneously. An analysis showed that when the passenger traveled across the room under the attentive gaze of the observer, pools of neurons in their motor cortices showed episodes of synchronization. The researchers found these episodes of interbrain cortical synchronization (ICS) could predict the location of the passenger's wheelchair in the room, as well its velocity. The brain activity could also predict how close the animals were to each other, as well as the passenger's proximity to the reward. The most compelling finding, they said, was that ICS could predict another key social parameter -- the rank of the monkeys in the colony.

Why the 'Worst' Crypto Networks Will Be The Biggest - CoinDesk

These crypto networks will have a familiar failure pattern: A well-meaning protocol designer comes in and looks at a complex reality. They don't understand how it works because it's complex and messy. Rather than trying to understand why it looks like a mess and whether that is serving some deeper purpose, they attribute it to the current design being "irrational, ugly and inelegant" They come up with an idealized protocol design which makes sense on paper After the initial marketing hype and buzz fades away, the protocols users and community don't like "living there" and slowly migrate away.

My Last Day at Moz. My First Day at SparkToro. | SparkToro

On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is “fired and escorted out of the building by security” and 10 is “left entirely of his own accord on wonderful terms,” my departure is around a 4.

The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting)

The direct network effect was the first ever to be noticed, back in 1908. The Chairman of AT&T at the time, Theodore Vail, noticed how hard it was for other phone companies to compete with AT&T once they had more customers in a given locale. He pointed this out in his annual report to shareholders, writing that: “Two exchange systems in the same community, cannot be… a permanency. No one has use for two telephone connections if he can reach all with whom he desires connection through one.” Vail noticed that the value of AT&T was mostly based on their network, not their phone technology. At the time, it was a revolutionary insight. It showed that even if a new telephone was clearly superior to their old phone on a technical level, no one would want the new telephone if they couldn’t use it to call their friends and family.

outsiders see the big picture

One of the interesting "side effects" of this project was the discovery of the great connectedness of the yellow nodes -- the outside contractors -- in this project. They were better integrated in the knowledge flows of this project than any other group -- they reached more people, over shorter paths. Of course, the bad news is that these contractors will all leave at the end of the project, and the company will no longer have access to their knowledge. The company did not want to lose key knowledge from, and about, the project. They set up regular knowledge-sharing sessions where key network nodes would share their wisdom, experience and learning about the project. This allowed the knowledge to flow from the well-connected contractors back into the regular organization.

Musical mystery: Researchers examine science behind performer movements -- ScienceDaily

While some assumed the role as leaders, and others followers, researchers found the leaders were far more influential in the ensemble. They also found the degree of body sway communication among the musicians was connected to their perceptions of how well they performed together. "Although we are often not consciously aware of it, non-verbal communications between people is common in many situations and influences who we like and who we don't like," explains Dan Bosnyak, a researcher and technical director at McMaster's LIVELab, where the work was conducted. "The methodology developed in this study could be useful for understanding many different types of group behaviour, such as understanding communication problems in autistic children or determining the best crowd control procedures for an emergency evacuation," he says.

How to Have Difficult Conversations When You Don’t Like Conflict

People who shy away from conflict often spend a huge amount of time mentally rewording their thoughts. Although it might feel like useful preparation, ruminating over what to say can hijack your mind for the entire workday and sometimes even late into the night. And tough conversations rarely go as planned anyway. So take the pressure off yourself. You don’t actually need to talk that much during a difficult conversation. Instead, focus on listening, reflecting, and observing.

Diverse populations make rational collective decisions -- ScienceDaily

The team found that individual ants had different yet consistent preferences. Some of the ants were happy to feed on either of the two solutions. Picky ants refused to feed from either. A third "middle" group consistently chose the solution with a higher concentration. These varied choices demonstrated that individual ants had individual thresholds to the sucrose concentration and made yes/no binary decisions accordingly. The researchers then fed each colony again with the differing sucrose solutions and found that the majority of the ants in all six experimental colonies chose the 4.0% sucrose solution, without being influenced by other ants in the colony. The "collective" decision of the colony was thus for the more nourishing solution. "Importantly, neither ants with a low threshold and high threshold contributed to the collective decision making, since the former didn't care about the concentration and the latter refused both concentrations. Thus, the decision maker was the middle group which preferred the higher concentration," says Hasegawa. "The study demonstrates simple yes/no judgements by individuals can lead to a collective rational decision, without using quality-graded responses, when they have diverse thresholds in the population," he continued. This mechanism can be applied to various fields including brain science, behavioural science, swarm robotics and consensus decision-making in human societies, conclude the researchers.

Building a better 'bot': Artificial intelligence helps human groups -- ScienceDaily

In a series of experiments using teams of human players and robotic AI players, the inclusion of "bots" boosted the performance of human groups and the individual players, researchers found. The study appears in the May 18 edition of the journal Nature. "Much of the current conversation about artificial intelligence has to do with whether AI is a substitute for human beings. We believe the conversation should be about AI as a complement to human beings," said Nicholas Christakis, co-director of the Yale Institute for Network Science (YINS) and senior author of the study. Christakis is a professor of sociology, ecology & evolutionary biology, biomedical engineering, and medicine at Yale. The study adds to a growing body of Yale research into the complex dynamics of human social networks and how those networks influence everything from economic inequality to group violence. In this case, Christakis and first author Hirokazu Shirado conducted an experiment involving an online game that required groups of people to coordinate their actions for a collective goal. The human players also interacted with anonymous bots that were programmed with three levels of behavioral randomness -- meaning the AI bots sometimes deliberately made mistakes. In addition, sometimes the bots were placed in different parts of the social network. More than 4,000 people participated in the experiment, which used a Yale-developed software called breadboard. "We mixed people and machines into one system, interacting on a level playing field," Shirado explained. "We wanted to ask, 'Can you program the bots in simple ways?' and does that help human performance?" The answer to both questions is yes, the researchers said. Not only did the inclusion of bots aid the overall performance of human players, it proved particularly beneficial when tasks became more difficult, the study found. The bots accelerated the median time for groups to solve problems by 55.6%. Furthermore, the researchers said, the experiment showed a cascade effect of improved performance by humans in the study. People whose performance improved when working with the bots subsequently influenced other human players to raise their game.

We're motivated to stay ahead more than to catch up? (Relates to fear of losing?)

Peer effects in running are also heterogeneous across relationship types. For example, runners are more influenced by peers whose performance is slightly worse, but not far worse, than their own as well as by those who perform slightly better, but not far better, than they do (Fig. 2a). Moreover, less active runners influence more active runners more than more active runners influence less active runners (Fig. 2b). These results are corroborated by heterogeneity across consistent and inconsistent runners. Inconsistent runners influence consistent runners more than consistent runners influence inconsistent runners (Fig. 2c). Social comparisons may provide an explanation for these results. Festinger’s social comparison theory proposes that we self-evaluate by comparing ourselves to others27. But, in the context of exercise, a debate exists about whether we make upward comparisons to those performing better than ourselves28 or downward comparisons to those performing worse than ourselves29. Comparisons to those ahead of us may motivate our own self-improvement, while comparisons to those behind us may create ‘competitive behaviour to protect one’s superiority’ (27, p. 126). Our findings are consistent with both arguments, but the effects are much larger for downward comparisons than for upward comparisons.

Personality differences uncovered between students at different US universities – Research Digest

larger universities tended to have more extraverted students; more urban and diverse universities had more open-minded students;  universities requiring letters of recommendation had more agreeable students; public colleges had less agreeable students than private colleges; and more expensive colleges had higher trait Neuroticism. Differences like these could reflect students with particular personality profiles being drawn to particular institutions; selection could be at play, in the sense of university selectors showing a preference for particular personality types; and also students’ personalities could be shaped by the culture of their university.

When Pixels Collide

Each pixel you see was placed by hand. Each icon, each flag, each meme created painstakingly by millions of people who had nothing in common except an Internet connection. Somehow, someway, what happened in Reddit over those 72 hours was the birth of Art.

The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews - The New York Times

In one experiment, we had student subjects interview other students and then predict their grade point averages for the following semester. The prediction was to be based on the interview, the student’s course schedule and his or her past G.P.A. (We explained that past G.P.A. was historically the best predictor of future grades at their school.) In addition to predicting the G.P.A. of the interviewee, our subjects also predicted the performance of a student they did not meet, based only on that student’s course schedule and past G.P.A. […] In the end, our subjects’ G.P.A. predictions were significantly more accurate for the students they did not meet. The interviews had been counterproductive.

The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews -

People who study personnel psychology have long understood this. In 1979, for example, the Texas Legislature required the University of Texas Medical School at Houston to increase its incoming class size by 50 students late in the season. The additional 50 students that the school admitted had reached the interview phase of the application process but initially, following their interviews, were rejected. A team of researchers later found that these students did just as well as their other classmates in terms of attrition, academic performance, clinical performance (which involves rapport with patients and supervisors) and honors earned. The judgment of the interviewers, in other words, added nothing of relevance to the admissions process.

Under challenge: Girls' confidence level, not math ability hinders path to science degrees -- ScienceDaily

The research team found perception gaps are even wider at the upper levels of mathematics ability -- among those students with the most talent and potential in these fields. Boys are significantly more confident in challenging mathematics contexts than otherwise identically talented girls. Specifically, boys rated their ability 27 percent higher than girls did. Perceived ability under challenge was measured using a nationally representative longitudinal study that followed 10th grade students over a six-year period until two years after high school. A series of questions in the 10th and 12th grade surveys asked students to indicate their level of agreement with statements such as "I'm certain I can understand the most difficult material presented in math texts."

Primary care doctoring

Other studies found that people with a primary-care physician as their usual source of care had lower subsequent five-year mortality rates than others, regardless of their initial health. In the United Kingdom, where family physicians are paid to practice in deprived areas, a ten-per-cent increase in the primary-care supply was shown to improve people’s health so much that you could add ten years to everyone’s life and still not match the benefit. Another study examined health-care reforms in Spain that focussed on strengthening primary care in various regions—by, for instance, building more clinics, extending their hours, and paying for home visits. After ten years, mortality fell in the areas where the reforms were made, and it fell more in those areas which received the reforms earlier. Likewise, reforms in California that provided all Medicaid recipients with primary-care physicians resulted in lower hospitalization rates.

IBM is ending its decades-old remote work policy — Quartz

Team proximity appears to help foster better new ideas. One Harvard study found that researchers who worked in close physical proximity produced more impactful papers. Another report used data from badges that collect data on employee interaction to argue that employees who have more chance encounters and unplanned interaction perform better. This idea, known as the “water cooler effect,” has been embraced by the most successful technology companies. Steve Jobs was obsessed with creating unplanned meetings, going so far as to propose building all of the bathrooms in Pixar’s offices in only one part of the building to encourage them (luckily for Pixar employees, someone vetoed this idea). Facebook offers workers a $10,000 bonus if they live near headquarters.

More trust = giving more, expecting kharma

To measure trust and its reciprocation (trustworthiness) objectively, my team used a strategic decision task developed by researchers in the lab of Vernon Smith, a Nobel laureate in economics. In our experiment, a participant chooses an amount of money to send to a stranger via computer, knowing that the money will triple in amount and understanding that the recipient may or may not share the spoils. Therein lies the conflict: The recipient can either keep all the cash or be trustworthy and share it with the sender. To measure oxytocin levels during the exchange, my colleagues and I developed a protocol to draw blood from people’s arms before and immediately after they made decisions to trust others (if they were senders) or to be trustworthy (if they were receivers). Because we didn’t want to influence their behavior, we didn’t tell participants what the study was about, even though there was no way they could consciously control how much oxytocin they produced. We found that the more money people received (denoting greater trust on the part of senders), the more oxytocin their brains produced. And the amount of oxytocin recipients produced predicted how trustworthy—that is, how likely to share the money—they would be. Since the brain generates messaging chemicals all the time, it was possible we had simply observed random changes in oxytocin. To prove that it causes trust, we safely administered doses of synthetic oxytocin into living human brains (through a nasal spray). Comparing participants who received a real dose with those who received a placebo, we found that giving people 24 IU of synthetic oxytocin more than doubled the amount of money they sent to a stranger.

The Neuroscience of Trust

Respondents whose companies were in the top quartile indicated they had 106% more energy and were 76% more engaged at work than respondents whose firms were in the bottom quartile. They also reported being 50% more productive—which is consistent with our objective measures of productivity from studies we have done with employees at work. Trust had a major impact on employee loyalty as well: Compared with employees at low-trust companies, 50% more of those working at high-trust organizations planned to stay with their employer over the next year, and 88% more said they would recommend their company to family and friends as a place to work.