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See Inside September / October 2009

Head Lines: Men Are Choosy, Too

Also: Pack Your Bags for Creativity and Confidence Wins over Smarts



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Men Are Choosy, Too
In numerous studies of speed dating—a rapid-fire matchmaking tool that has men hop from table to table for quick encounters—women have proved choosier than the guys about whom they flag for a second date. Ladies must be picky because they invest more in their offspring, according to the oft-repeated evolutionary theory. But when researchers made the simple switch of having women do the table hopping while men stayed seated, the two sexes suddenly became equally choosy, suggesting social norms and physical cues play an underappreciated role in mate choice. Read more in the October issue of Psychological Science. —JR Minkel

Pack Your Bags for Creativity
Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso were on to something: a recent study suggests that by living abroad artists may be fueling their creativity. Researchers from the French business school INSEAD and Northwestern University studied responses from subjects in five separate experiments, finding that those who had lived abroad—and had adapted to a nonnative culture—more consistently showed innovation and creativity in negotiations, in the use of ordinary items, and in drawings. More research is necessary to discern if an already creative person benefits more from living abroad than a noncreative one does or if the noted higher levels of creativity are permanent. —Elizabeth King Humphrey

Confidence Wins over Smarts
Speaking up counts more than competence in becoming a leader
When a group of people works to complete a task, a leader usually emerges. New research shows such leaders are not necessarily more intelligent than the other group members, but rather they simply speak up more often. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, gave groups of college students 45 minutes to lay the groundwork for a business and then asked the students to rate one another on intelligence, judgment and other traits. The students believed that the people who spoke more often were the smartest in each group—even when, during another group exercise involving math problems, they offered more incorrect answers than did others who were less talkative. Those who did not say much were judged as averagely intelligent and not so creative. A later look at the participants’ SAT scores revealed that, on average, the leaders had the same scores as the rest of the group. “The main reason dominant people took charge is they jumped in first and nobody questioned what they said,” says psychologist Cameron Anderson, who led the study. “Dominant people seem really good at things because they speak with so much confidence.” —Robert Goodier

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