Monday, March 25, 2013

Latest Research Updates...

You know that I read and research constantly, much of which I share with you whether through training, coaching or my various blogs and articles.  The following interesting little tidbits aren't 'big' enough findings for a full posting but I found them interesting so I'm sharing...

  • In a recent study (2013, Iris K. Schneider et al), determined that when we are undecided about two choices, we will tend to shift our weight from side to side.  Once we have reached a decision we hold our weight more firmly, reducing our side to side movements.  Subtle cues to watch for when two or more ideas are being presented to someone for consideration.  When they are still weighing the pros and cons you are likely to see physical tells (swaying/shifting) that indicate that they are still working through the options.  If and when those movements stop, you know they have reached a decision, regardless of whether they try to tell you that they are 'still deciding'.
  • Professor Jackie Andrade, University of Plymouth, found that doodling improved memory by almost 30% over non-doodlers.  In a boring meeting?  Concerned that you won't remember important points?  Start doodling!
  • Money is always an interesting subject.  Studies have shown that we are much more likely to spend when we have larger denominational notes than small.  Meaning...  we will spend a $20 bill faster than four $5 bills.  And... a different study shows that we are much more likely to spend 'dirty' worn money faster than crisp new bills.  Not sure of any specific relevance for leadership, just interesting!
  • We all feel like there is not enough time in our day to get everything done.  Research was therefore conducted to determine how we could feel less stressed about this, how we could feel that we have enough or more time.  The surprising finding was that when people gave up some of their free-time to help out others, they were left feeling like they had more time available for themselves. Weird!   Here's how the  study's authors explain it...  "...spending time on others makes people feel like they have done a lot with their time – and the more they feel they have done with their time, the more time they will feel they have."  
  • If you want to improve your memory, psychologists have found that taking breaks aids with consolidating the information into your memory systems.  In studies where participants take a little rest break after learning something, their recall and memory of that information is enhanced.  
  • Simply telling people how luxurious or expensive the food you're serving is tends to enhance their experience and enjoyment.  (good to know when the meatloaf is a little overdone!)
  • The Hawthorne Effect is well documented - people's behaviours change when they feel they are being observed.  Have an 'honour' payment system at work for coffee?  Hang a poster or picture somewhere in the room that has a person's face with their eyes clearly visible...  more people pay for their coffee because they 'feel' watched.  We tend to be more 'honest' under these circumstances.
  • We know that self-control is not limitless.  We all have days that tax our willpower and deplete our resources.  Additionally, we know that self-control is a strong skill in highly successful people.  How to replenish our self-control when it's in short supply?  A recent study shows that just the mere thought of money will help.  Not clear on the reasons as to why this might be but in this case, it's enough to know it works!

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