Temperament at Birth? Jerome Kagan, developmental psychologist at Harvard, studied introversion and extroversion in children. One experiment was particularly telling. Kagan exposed a group of 4-month-old children to a tape recording of noises—voices, popping balloons, strong scents, bright colors—a lot of sensory distraction. About 40% did not react, but 20% reacted, cried, and flailed their arms and legs. Kagan hypothesized counterintuitively that the flailers would grow up to be introverts and the calm-reaction infants would become extroverts. Surprisingly, he was right! The brain’s amygdala is more active in introverts, thus making them more reactive to stimuli. As they grow up, introverts become hypervigilant kids, are more cautious, and get overwhelmed by stimuli. Extroverts take more chances—sometimes ill-considered—but push the envelope and become entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Brainstorming—Not So Fast: Alex Osborn, an advertising exec in the 1940-1950s, created “brainstorming,” believing that a nonjudgmental environment was key to idea generation. However, 40 years of rigorous research shows he was wrong! Individuals produced more ideas of equal or higher quality than groups. And the larger the group, the worse the results—groups of 9 under-produce groups of 6, and they do worse than groups of 4. However, electronic brainstorming, if managed well, produces superior results.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
The New Groupthink: Over-collaboration can actually hurt creativity. Studies at Berkeley to identify the most creative people showed that more creative people were introverts. For them, solitude was a catalyst. The New Groupthink has schools and corporations over-organizing in groups and teams. Most leaders and pundits like Gladwell and Buffet—as well as 91% of all managers—herald the power of groups. Over 70% of employees work in open space, and individual space per employee has been cut in half. Clearly, there has been a shift “from
I to we.”