2013年4月19日 星期五


How to Raise a Groups IQ

What makes a group intelligent? That is: What enables (使能夠) a team of people to effectively solve problems and produce solutions? You might think a groups IQ would be simply the average intelligence of the groups members, or perhaps the intelligence of the teams smartest participant (參予者). But researchers who study groups have found that this isnt so.

Rather, a groups intelligence emerges from (浮現於) the interactions that go on within the group. A teams intelligence can be measured, and like an individuals IQ score, it can accurately predict the teams performance on a wide variety of tasks. And just as an individuals intelligence is malleable (具可塑性的) and expandable (可擴展、可發展的), a groups intelligence can also be increased. Here are five suggestions on how to guide the development of smart teams:

1. Choose team members carefully. The smartest groups are composed of people who are good at reading one anothers social cues (暗示), according to a study led by Carnegie Mellon University professor Anita Williams Woolley and published in the journal Science. (Woolley and her collaborators (同事、合作者) also found that groups that included a greater number of women were more intelligent, but the researchers think this is because women tend to be more socially sensitive than men.)

2. Talk about the how. Many members of teams dont like to spend time talking about process, preferring to get right down to work but Woolley notes that groups who take the time to discuss how they will work together are ultimately (最後、最終) more efficient and effective.

3. Share the floor. On the most intelligent teams, found Woolley et al(等人)., members take turns speaking. Participants (參與者) who dominate the discussion or who hang back and dont say much bring down the intelligence of the group. Alex Sandy Pentland, an MIT professor who studies group dynamics (群體動力學), has found that in smart teams, members connect directly with one another not just with the team leader and theyre constantly engaging in (致力於) back channel or side conversations that supplement the main discussion.

4. Foster informal social connections among members. The smartest teams spend a lot of time communicating outside of formal meetings, says Pentland. He tells of a call center where team members coffee breaks were staggered across the workday. Changing the schedule so that all members had a coffee break at the same time led them to do their work more efficiently and feel more satisfied with their jobs.

5. Be open to external influences. In the most successful groups, Pentland discovered, team members regularly take off on their own to explore and discover. They then bring that information back to the group, invigorating (鼓舞、激勵) the groups work with fresh insights from the world outside the conference room.

2013年4月17日 星期三






2013年4月11日 星期四


Woman Robs Bank With a Jar of Spaghetti Sauce

Prego or Ragu? (兩種義大利麵醬的名字) Whatever it was, the spaghetti sauce was definitely not a bomb.

A woman entered a bank in Clinton Township, Mich. and put a package on the counter, telling the bank clerk that it contained (包含) a bomb and demanding (要求) money, reported the Detroit Free Press Sunday.  The clerk complied (<把錢>收集起來), and the thief — a woman witnesses said was approximately (大約) 60 years old — left with her loot (戰利品). That’s when the bank employees and customers fled (逃離) the building and called the bomb squad (拆彈小組).

It did look like there was a hard object in there,” Clinton Township Lt. Eric Reincke said. “But it was folded over (包起來) so you couldn’t see what was inside.” The Michigan State Police bomb squad arrived and scanned the package — revealing that there wasn’t a explosive device in it at all, but instead several cans of spaghetti sauce. Reincke was had no qualms (疑慮) about the extra precaution (預防、謹慎) however. “If you don’t know what’s in a package… you have to treat it like it is possibly an explosive device,” he told the Free Press.

No one was injured in the course of the robbery and it’s unclear how much money the woman made off with (偷走). The police have not yet made an arrest in the case but they claim to have a lead (線索) on a suspect.


2013年4月9日 星期二


What Our Memories Tell Us About Ourselves

Do you remember the time President Obama shook hands with Iranian president Ahmadinejad? If you took part in a recent psychological (心理學的) study, it’s possible that you will. More than 5,000 participants (參與者) were presented (呈現) with doctored (修改過的) photographs representing fabricated (偽造、杜撰) political events, with around half claiming (聲稱) to have memories for the false scenarios (Obama has, of course, never shaken hands with the Iranian president). Part of a decades-long program of research by psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, the latest study provides a neat demonstration of how our memories are created in the present rather than being faithful records of the past.

The popular perception (認知) of memory shows a considerable lag with the new scientific consensus (一致、論調). The psychologists Daniel J. Simons and Christopher Chabris have conducted (實施) two large-scale surveys showing that roughly half of respondents (受試者) thought that memory works like a video recorder. And although many people do recognize that their memories are fallible (容易犯錯的、不可靠的), there is much less understanding of precisely (精確的) how and why they fail us.

Memory is a system with many moving parts, and thus many processes that can go wrong. The various ‘sins of memory’ (in Daniel L. Schacter’s phrase) give us the best clues about how this complex mental function works. Psychologist and neuroscientists have taken advantage of these clues to explore the strong links between imagination and memory, to demonstrate how social factors influence our recollections (回憶), and to show how memory may actually have evolved to predict the future rather than keep track of the past. There is arguably (可說是) little evolutionary advantage to being able to recall the past in vivid detail; it is much more useful to be able to use past experience to predict what comes next.

So why are we so attached (依附) to our idea of memories as fixed, unchanging possession?  There are many reasons, but one is that memories are foundational for our sense of self. This is particularly true for early childhood memories (which the scientists tell us are the most unreliable of all). In her striking (引人注目的) description of lying as a small child in her cot (吊床) at St. Ives, Virginia Woolf noted that this wasn’t just her earliest memory; it was the moment she became the person (and the writer) she was. It is no wonder that we resist the idea that our memories are collages of disparate (不同的) sources of information, assembled (集合) and reassembled (重新集合) long after the event.

Bracing (令人振奮的) as it might be, this new way of thinking about memory does not have to lead to self-doubt. It simply requires that we take our memories with a pinch (一小搓) of salt, and forge (編造) new relationships with them. They may be a kind of fiction (虛構、想像的事), but the manner of their making speaks volumes about those who create them. In the Obama-Ahmadinejad study, the researchers found that events were more likely to be falsely recalled if they fit the individual’s political affiliations (聯繫) (conservatives were more likely than liberals to ‘remember’ the Ahmadinejad handshake, for example). Whether the events happened or not, your biases (偏見) and beliefs shape the kind of memories you form, and thus reveal the kind of person you are.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: