High Earnings Can Hamper Happiness
Behavioral experiments suggest that the modern drive to amass wealth is a holdover from the days when people sought to accumulate resources not for the sake of happiness, but for sheer survival.
The Presumptuous Power Holder
Louis XIV, the vain French king who held the longest reign in European history, epitomized absolute monarchy. But his blind pursuit of power—highlighted by the four wars he waged —left the French people demoralized and the treasury bankrupt. The self-proclaimed Sun King fully expected others to sacrifice and suffer to satisfy his own ambitions. Psychological scientists Jennifer Overbeck and Vitaliya Droutman point to Louis XIV as an extreme example of power holders who pursue their goals without considering or understanding the desires of the people they represent.
Get Off the Work Treadmill
Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, likens today’s work environment to running on a treadmill. People race to keep up with meetings, emails, and deadlines, while making no real progress – especially on creative tasks. Instead, it often would be better to do less, says Amabile, an APS Fellow. The single most important thing managers can do to enhance workplace creativity is “protecting at least 30 to 60 minutes each day for yourself and your people that’s devoted to quiet reflection,” she tells the Harvard Gazette. Amabile has spent the last 35 years researching life inside organizations and how it influences employees and their performance.
Science Reveals the Benefits of an Aging Workforce
The over-65 set is not only increasing in numbers (by 2030 the percentage of people age 65 and older is expected to increase from almost 13 percent to almost 20 percent, according to data from the Stanford Center on Longevity). They are also healthier and more active than in previous generations. That means many of them will be working longer than a generation ago. Does their increasing presence in the workplace predict an increase or decrease in ageism? Psychological researchers are stepping up research on bias against older adults as part of an effort to break stereotypes on aging and curb age discrimination.
The Job Candidate’s GPA: There’s More Than Meets the ‘A’
At face value, a job applicant’s grade point average seems a reasonable predictor of effective job performance – a high GPA signals the individual has a considerable degree of competence. No wonder two-thirds of all employers use it as a screening tool, and more than half eliminate applicants with a 3.0 or lower. Indeed, GPA is a powerful indicator. But according to new research, many employers and admissions professionals use it imperfectly – without comparing an individual’s GPA to their school’s average – a practice that leads to systematic mistakes in selection decisions.
The Dark Side of Empathy
Conventional wisdom, backed up by substantial experimental research, holds that we’re more cooperative in negotiations when we can truly see the other person’s point of view. But in some cases, seeing a situation from the other’s perspective can lead us into unethical behavior. A team of behavioral researchers suspected that in competitive contexts, perspective-taking draws our attention to conflicting interests and to how a competitor’s actions may threaten our own self-interest. They confirmed their hypothesis in a series of experiments, the results of which are reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.