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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Social Animal: #10--INtelligence and Behavior

Intelligence and Behavior: Smart people do well in school. But if we look at successful leaders of companies and organizations or even at Nobel Prize winners, we’re stunned at how many were not the smartest folks but ones with ambition and discipline. In fact, at an IQ threshold of 120 or higher, there’s not much correlation between IQ and performance. When it comes to predicting behavior, a new breed of behavioral economists seem to have a clearer view of reality than traditional, rational economists who think people act only on their own best economic interests. Using “choice architecture,” such behavioral economists can reasonably predict how people will react in certain situations. Here are some heuristics or behavioral rules of thumb that are at work. Priming: Prior to testing, prime people with a set of words around achievement and mastery, and they’ll do better on tests. Anchoring: Show people the most expensive wine bottle or piece of furniture first, and they’ll pay more on average than if you start from the cheapest. Framing: Surgeons who talk about a 15% failure rate with their patients get fewer surgery elections than when they talk about 85% success rates. Expectations: People often live into their predictions—the placebo effect is alive and well. Inertia: A “cognitive miser,” inertia tends to keep us stuck with what we choose for a long time. Arousal: Men react to pictures of women, even in ads for banking. Finally, aversion: People are much more concerned about what they’ll lose than what they‘ll gain.

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