Weekly Insights – 27 July, 2017

Glass floors and slow growth: A recipe for deepening inequality and hampering social mobility

By Abigail McKnight, Richard V. Reeves Generations of British and American children have benefited from their parents’ hard work, which has contributed to many decades of strong economic growth. This has helped to ensure that, on average, children in their adult lives are economically better-off than their parents were at the same age. But growth has now been weaker for many years….
_____________

America the Divided: Why the Great Melting Pot Is Having a Meltdown

There’s little doubt that the United States is experiencing more tension now than at any other time in the country’s history. There’s a deep antipathy toward the government and the media, and there’s rising friction among various groups. Last decade’s recession seems to have ramped up the animosity, as the gap between the have and have-nots grows. Mugambi Jouet, a fellow at Stanford Law School…
_____________

How to Decide Which Tasks to Delegate

Ping! Something needs your attention. Is it an email? A tweet? A text? A reminder on your phone? A calendar invite? Ping! Another one. Ping! There’s that sound again. Or maybe it’s a visual cue, an ever-ascending ticker count on your app icons or inbox. Quick, why don’t you just respond right now? Says the devil on your digital shoulder — your sender will be instantly satisfied and you’ll be…
_____________

How Not to Advocate for a Woman at Work

In a conversation last Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, described Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the new White House press secretary, in favorable terms, using words like “authentic” and “phenomenal.” However, in just 60 seconds of a 26-minute interview, Scaramucci did Sanders, women in general, and men who care about gender equality…
_____________

Your Customers Still Want to Talk to a Human Being

The rise of the internet has opened up new possibilities for communicating, from emailing and blogging to mobile video chatting and exchanging GIFs over messaging apps. This digitization has not been limited to consumer interactions. Most businesses now communicate with their customers through multiple online channels, and invest in software to track, personalize, and optimize every step…
_____________

How Tribalism Hurts Companies, and What to Do About It

A strange thing happens just before mile marker three in the London Marathon. With approximately 40,000 runners participating in one of the world’s largest charity fundraising events, crowd control necessitates that there be three different starting points. Just before the three-mile marker, these three different routes start to merge onto a single course. As the different routes start…
_____________

How AI Will Change the Way We Make Decisions

With the recent explosion in AI, there has been the understandable concern about its potential impact on human work. Plenty of people have tried to predict which industries and jobs will be most affected, and which skills will be most in demand. (Should you learn to code? Or will AI replace coders too?) Rather than trying to predict specifics, we suggest an alternative approach. Economic theory…
_____________

Path to self improvement

We have the opportunity to accelerate the process of natural selection but we would do well to learn from the lessons of our past…
_____________

The Cost of Banning Transgender Service Members

President Donald Trump issued a ruling on Wednesday outlawing military service by people who do not conform to a binary gender system. “Please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” he wrote in a string of tweets. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be…
_____________

Why People Have Out-of-Body Experiences

In 1958, Robert Monroe floated out of his body for the first time. It began “without any apparent cause,” he wrote . His doctor, finding no physical ailment, prescribed tranquilizers. A psychologist friend, meanwhile, told me him to try leaving his body again. After all, the friend said, “some of the fellows who practice yoga and those Eastern religions claim they can do it whenever they want to….
_____________

What It Takes to Mentor Poor Kids

In January 2015, Brandon Stanton, creator of the popular photo blog Humans of New York , interviewed a middle school student named Vidal Chastanet. He asked Chastanet, who goes to school in Brownsville, a neighborhood with one of the highest crime rates in New York City, who had influenced his life the most. Chastanet told Brandon about his school principal , Nadia Lopez. “When we get in trouble…
_____________

Why Philosophers Are Obsessed With Brains in Jars

Not many people get to contemplate their brain in a jar, but if all goes to plan then I’ll be in that curious position by Christmas. Happily, I’ll still have the brain I’m using right now, which is how I’ll be able to do the contemplating. The other one will be my second brain. About the size of a frozen pea, it will have been grown from a small lump of flesh that researchers at the Institute of…
_____________

The Algorithm That Makes Preschoolers Obsessed With YouTube

Toddlers crave power. Too bad for them, they have none. Hence the tantrums and absurd demands. (No, I want this banana, not that one, which looks identical in every way but which you just started peeling and is therefore worthless to me now.) They just want to be in charge! This desire for autonomy clarifies so much about the behavior of a very small human. It also begins to explain the…
_____________

Evaluating Trump’s Psyche in Public

It’s not hard to find somebody who’s willing to call the president of the United States crazy. “Madman” was, after all, one of the words that cropped up most frequently in coverage about him during the 2016 campaign. But psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental-health professionals have been especially careful about not speculating about the president’s mental state. Well, some of them have…
_____________

Aleppo Has Little Food or Water, but for a Night, Music

The ancient citadel, a Unesco World Heritage site, is now under government control and played host to hundreds of guests in a display that state-run news outlets said showed the “recovery of the city.” Late last year, Aleppo was subjected to a monthslong siege as government forces wrested the eastern part of the city from the hands of opposition groups. In those portions of the city left…
_____________

Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp?

“It beeped in the envelope. That’s how we knew.” Leslie Conrad is the director of Clemson Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, S.C., which runs several different camps during the summer. Clemson bans cellphones and other electronic devices for campers. That makes sense. We traditionally think of summer camp as a place to swim in the lake and weave friendship bracelets, not text and play video games….
_____________

Time, not material goods, ‘raises happiness’

Image copyright Getty Images Using money to free-up time is linked to increased happiness, a study says. In an experiment, individuals reported greater happiness if they used £30 ($40) to save time – such as by paying for chores to be done – rather than spending the money on material goods. Psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower well-being and contributes to anxiety and insomnia….
_____________

‘The Idle Parent’ is the most unconventional parenting book I’ve ever read

In an odd marriage of attachment and free-range parenting philosophies, the book advocates for responsible laziness on the part of adults….
_____________

Family as an antidepressant

Living in a joint family or having more social interactions can help reduce your anxiety level, improve your memory and overcome the effect of chronic stress. In a recent study conducted at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, rats that were exposed to a social and interactive environment showed reduced anxiety-like behaviour. Eight-week- old male…
_____________

Ninety-nine percent of ailing NFL player brains sport hallmarks of neurodegenerative disease, autopsy study finds

Two college football players collide head-first during a 2009 game. Donald Page/Southcreek Global/ZUMApress/Newscom Ninety-nine percent of ailing NFL player brains sport hallmarks of neurodegenerative disease, autopsy study finds By Meredith Wadman Jul. 25, 2017 , 11:00 AM The largest study of its kind has found damage in the vast majority of former football players’ brains donated for research…
_____________

Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, Longevity Expert, Dies at (or Lives to) 105

He also wrote a musical for children when he was 88 and a best-selling book when he was 101. He recently took up golf. Until a few months ago he was still treating patients and kept a date book with space for five more years of appointments. In the early 1950s, Dr. Hinohara pioneered a system of complete annual physicals — called “human dry-dock” — that has been credited with helping…
_____________

Lasers reactivate ‘lost’ memories in mice with Alzheimer’s

A good memory aid – but lasers might be better Diana Haronis/Getty By Alice Klein A chance to remember? Forgotten memories have been reawakened in mice with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that the condition may not actually destroy our memories, but instead impair our ability to recall them. It has long been assumed that Alzheimer’s disease completely erases memories. The condition involves…
_____________

Our brains always plan one step ahead of our bodies when we walk

Easy: we walk with just a hint of forward planning André Schuster/plainpicture By Aylin Woodward Keep your head up. Today, navigating the urban jungle can be challenging, with uneven sidewalks and errant kerbs presenting obstacles to easy walking. So why do we rarely trip up even though we hardly ever give walking our full attention? It seems that all we need is a brief glimpse of what’s coming…
_____________

Everyone gets lonely. We must admit it or bear the consequences

Loneliness is a routine feature of modern life Axel Killian/plainpicture ALL the lonely people, where do they all come from? When The Beatles wrote Eleanor Rigby in 1966, they helped perpetuate the stereotype that loneliness is a problem of elderly and isolated people. Maybe it was true 50 years ago, but no longer. Loneliness can and does affect anybody. And yet we barely talk about it….
_____________

Small Talk Is an Overrated Way to Build Relationships with Your Employees

Marion Barraud for HBR The relationships that you form with each of your direct reports are central to your ability to fulfill your three core responsibilities as a manager: Create a culture of feedback, build a cohesive team, and achieve results collaboratively. But these relationships do not follow the rules of other relationships in our lives; they require a careful balancing act….
_____________

Sally Satel On Organ Donation

Image credit: istock Analysis and Commentary via EconTalk Sally Satel, psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the supply….
_____________

Video: Three Ways Businesses Use Artificial Intelligence

On May 23, 2017, the MIT Sloan School of Management hosted the 14th annual CIO Symposium : “The CIO Adventure: Now, Next and… Beyond.” The one-day event brought senior IT executives together to discuss key technologies, including IoT, AI, blockchain, Big Data, DevOps, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. The main idea was to help prepare these tech leaders for challenges they face, including…
_____________

AI May Soon Replace Even the Most Elite Consultants

Amazon’s Alexa just got a new job. In addition to her other 15,000 skills like playing music and telling knock-knock jokes, she can now also answer economic questions for clients of the Swiss global financial services company, UBS Group AG. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a new partnership between UBS Wealth Management and Amazon allows some of UBS’s European wealth-management clients…
_____________

What Spinning Off a GE Business Taught Me About Managing Ultra-Fast Change

Change management can be a test for any organization. Several studies by Towers Watson show that just 25% of change management initiatives are successful over the long term. I wouldn’t be surprised if the statistics are worse in my industry, financial services, where so many companies are large, global, regulated, and structurally complex. So four years ago, when I was CEO of GE Capital Retail…
_____________

How People with Different Conflict Styles Can Work Together

When it comes to conflict, most of us have a default approach: we either tend to avoid it or seek it out. The avoiders among us shy away from disagreements, value harmony and positive relationships, and will often try to placate people or even change the topic. Avoiders don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or disrupt team dynamics. Seekers (and I’m one of them!) seem eager to engage…
_____________

Op-Ed Contributor: Let’s Talk About Suicide

When I began self-harming I was in sixth grade. In my middle school health class we learned about nocturnal ejaculations and how pubic hair would soon be growing all over our bodies but we never talked about our mental health. In high school, as I was becoming more withdrawn, we learned how to put condoms on a banana, we discussed alcohol and drugs while watching a few episodes of “Freaks…
_____________

England’s Mental Health Experiment: No-Cost Talk Therapy

This first call is more than a scheduling exercise. It is an initiation of therapy, a partly scripted, hourlong evaluation to determine how safe the new client is, how desperate and why. The staff members, known as psychological well-being practitioners, decide in that initial call if low-intensity phone therapy is appropriate, or if the person should be moved up the ladder, to group…
_____________

It takes more than money to stick with the gym

Offering financial incentives for workouts doesn’t work because the approach is too simplistic. Money can make people do a lot of things, but apparently a one-time $60 payment isn’t enough to get adults going to the gym for six weeks. This is the conclusion of a rather strange study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which offered several financial incentives ($60 cash, a $30…
_____________

Future Tense: Thanks to Venmo, We Now All Know How Cheap Our Friends Are

Some users have observed a decline in magnanimity, particularly for small purchases. “I have a friend who’s against Venmo because he believes it harms the norm of social reciprocity,” said Zach Fuchs, 30, who works in private equity in San Francisco, where the app is much in fashion. Mr. Fuchs noted that a colleague might normally feel compelled to buy the next round of happy hour drinks…
_____________

What We Finally Got Around to Learning at the Procrastination Research Conference

“I’ve never been in another conference where people didn’t laugh or snicker when I announced what the title of my talk was,” said Joel Anderson, an associate professor in the department of philosophy and religious studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, one of a handful of philosophers who also do research in this niche field, dominated by psychologists and behavioral economists….
_____________

AI suggests recipe for a dish just by studying a photo of it

Cooking something novel needn’t be purely a matter of guesswork Getty By Matt Reynolds Ever eaten a dish you didn’t know them name of and wished you had the recipe so you could recreate it at home? Soon you might only need a picture of it. Researchers have devised a machine learning algorithm that looks at photos of food and predicts the recipe that created the dish. Nick Hynes at Massachusetts…
_____________

Adderall might improve your test scores – but so could a placebo

Some confidence would help Chris Ryan/Getty By Sam Wong Students who take Adderall to improve their test scores may get a slight benefit, but it’s mainly a placebo effect . The drug Adderall is a combination of the stimulants amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, and is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) . But it’s growing in popularity as a study drug in the US, where…
_____________

The Emerging Science of Computational Psychiatry

Psychiatry, the study and prevention of mental disorders, is currently undergoing a quiet revolution. For decades, even centuries, this discipline has been based largely on subjective observation. Large-scale studies have been hampered by the difficulty of objectively assessing human behavior and comparing it with a well-established norm. Just as tricky, there are few well-founded models…
_____________

Google’s AI Guru Says That Great Artificial Intelligence Must Build on Neuroscience

Demis Hassabis knows a thing or two about artificial intelligence: he founded the London-based AI startup DeepMind , which was purchased by Google for $650 million back in 2014. Since then, his company has wiped the floor with humans at the complex game of Go and begun making steps towards crafting more general AIs . But now he’s come out and said that be believes the only way for artificial…
_____________

Second World War: Paris neurosurgeon’s map outwitted Nazis

Catacomb Map: Henri Ey Library And Museum, Sainte-Anne Hospital Neurosurgeon Jean Talairach (1911–2007) created his pioneering brain atlas with his colleague Gabor Szikla in 1967. Almost three decades earlier, he had painstakingly drawn a quite different map — of Paris’s subterranean ossuaries (see ‘Catacomb network under Paris’), a copy of which we recently unearthed in the archives of the city’…
_____________

People Are Terrible at Spotting Fake Photos

We exist in a veritable flood of digital images, with at least 350 million a day uploaded to Facebook alone, and odds are significant number of those images are fake. And, given results from a recent study, most people can’t tell the difference. Can you identify the part of the top photo that’s been altered? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you later. Psychologist Sophie Nightingale and her colleagues…
_____________

How to Become a More Well-Rounded Leader

For years, when I spoke with CEOs or senior leaders, it was because they were interested in how my consulting firm could help their employees become more engaged, or innovative, or sustainably high-performing. During the past year – and especially the past six months – I’ve been hearing a different and much more personal initial question: “Can you help me better manage my own life?” Consider the…
_____________

Teachers’ salaries: Too many bucks for the bang?

By Jishnu Das Despite an influential view that countries should increase teachers’ wages sufficiently to be able to attract top college graduates to the profession, the available evidence from the U.S. suggests that that’s the wrong advice. Key research studies show that this is wrong for low-income countries as well. If anything, when it comes to teachers in developing countries, there are…
_____________

How Royal DSM Is Improving Its Geographic and Gender Diversity

Jennifer Maravillas for HBR With the recent spate of firms in the news over sexual harassment allegations and charges of gender bias, it is obvious that an issue many in business had thought was “done” is instead far from finished. Fostering corporate cultures which make half your employees feel somewhere between unengaged and unsafe is becoming risky and unsustainable. A lot of companies are…
_____________

How AI Is Already Changing Business

Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT Sloan School professor, explains how rapid advances in machine learning are presenting new opportunities for businesses. He breaks down how the technology works and what it can and can’t do (yet). He also discusses the potential impact of AI on the economy, how workforces will interact with it in the future, and suggests managers start experimenting now. Brynjolfsson…
_____________

A Study of the Champagne Industry Shows That Women Have Stronger Networks, and Profit from Them

Female executives are a distinct minority , and they can be particularly rare in certain industries like mining, crude oil production, and agriculture. In such environments, they often face daunting obstacles, but could there also be unexpected advantages to being in a minority group? And, if so, what? To investigate that question, we conducted extensive field research studying grape growers…
_____________

How Adobe Structures Feedback Conversations

Providing employees feedback on their performance and opportunities to develop is one of a manager’s most important tasks. As important as it is, however, it can often get pushed down pretty far on the to-do list. Many leaders face a swarm of pressing deadlines; moreover, feedback conversations can be awkward. Even the preparation for such conversations can make managers feel stressed. It’s easy…
_____________

We Live in a Global “Age of Rage”-and It’s Entering a New Phase

Mass protest is becoming one of the defining features of global politics in 2017. Protesters have recently been out in force in Russia, Poland, Hungary, northern Morocco and Venezuela; sizeable democracy marches have mobilised to mark key moments in Hong Kong and Turkey, while violent protests rocked the G20 summit in Hamburg. The protests of recent months are especially noteworthy because many…
_____________

Innovation Is as Much About Finding Partners as Building Products

Have you ever stopped to ponder the true complexities involved with trying to create a viable, safe, autonomous vehicle? The innovation alone is a herculean task, but imagine being that upstart pioneer trying to develop the technology, while at the same time going up against entrenched, powerful competitors with deep industry knowledge, assets, and channels who’ve been around for a hundred years…
_____________

When to Solve Your Team’s Problems, and When to Let Them Sort It Out

After careful review of her harried work life, Charla, an IT manager, discovered that 20% of her time over the previous two months was spent managing escalations. It seemed that each interaction with her team ended with her feeling a need to exercise her authority to rescue them from a crisis. For example: Sarah complains that Ken — a peer — repeatedly fails to include her on group emails….
_____________

Some schools much better than others at closing achievement gaps between their advantaged and disadvantaged students

By David Figlio, Krzysztof Karbownik Executive summary Recent research demonstrates that the test score gap between relatively advantaged and relatively disadvantaged students is much higher in some school districts than it is in other districts. But measured school quality often varies dramatically within a school district, and therefore it is important to know whether individual schools differ…
_____________

Contributing Op-Ed Writer: How the Modern World Made Cowards of Us All

Mr. Pieper argued that we have bastardized this classical concept. We have refashioned prudence into an excuse for cowardice, hiding behind the language of virtue to avoid what he calls “the embarrassing situation of having to be brave.” The correct definition, Mr. Pieper argued, is the willingness to do the right thing, even if that involves fear and risk. In other words, to be rash is only one…
_____________

Gray Matter: Don’t Believe in God? Maybe You’ll Try U.F.O.s

Dozens of studies show a strong link between religiosity and existential concerns about death and meaning. For example, when research participants are presented with stimuli that bring death to mind or challenge a sense of meaning in life, they exhibit increased religiosity and interest in religious or spiritual ideas. Another body of research shows that religious beliefs provide and protect mean…
_____________

News Analysis: Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

What they say: Women are often seen as dependable, less often as visionary. Women tend to be less comfortable with self-promotion — and more likely to be criticized when they do grab the spotlight. Men remain threatened by assertive women. Most women are not socialized to be unapologetically competitive. Some women get discouraged and drop out along the way. And many are disproportionately…
_____________

Why Whites and Asians Have Different Views on Personal Success

There’s a saying in China that it’s better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix. The premise of the aphorism—it’s better to be over-qualified than under-qualified relative to one’s surroundings—is so widely accepted that similar versions of it exist across cultures. In Japan, they tend to say that it’s better to be the head of a sardine than the tail of a whale. Americans…
_____________

Is Neuroscience Underpowered? “Power Failure” Revisited

Back in 2013, a Nature Reviews Neuroscience paper appeared called Power failure: why small sample size undermines the reliability of neuroscience. This paper got a lot of attention at the time and has since been cited a dizzying 1760 times according to Google. ‘Power Failure’ made waves for its stark message that most neuroscience studies are too small, leaving neuroscience lacking statistical…
_____________

The “Eleven Dimensional” Brain? Topology of Neural Networks

Last month, a neuroscience paper appeared that triggered a maelstrom of media hype: The Human Brain Can Create Structures in Up to 11 Dimensions The human brain sees the world as an 11-dimensional multiverse Scientists find mysterious shapes and structures in the brain with up to ELEVEN dimensions The paper, published in Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, comes from the lab of Henry Markram…
_____________

How Job Loss Can Lead to Drug Use

In 2013, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Nevada had some of the highest rates of death from opioid overdoses, and they also had some of the country’s highest unemployment rates . A series of studies suggests that this joblessness might have been—at least in part—contributing to the high rates of drug addiction. A National Bureau of Economic Research paper I wrote about a few months ago found that as…
_____________

How Twitter Fuels Anxiety

In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous essay on self-reliance, the 19th-century writer and naturalist sang the praises of spiritual isolation and the evils of distraction, bemoaning the forces that conspired to direct his attention to “emphatic trifles.” He would not be cowed, he said, but would stand resolute in the face of such bad influences: “The power men possess to annoy me, I give them by a weak…
_____________

Social Innovation in 3-D (Blog)

The concept of a “T-shaped person,” first made famous by McKinsey & Company , is prevalent in the innovation literature because it proves extraordinarily useful. A person is T-shaped when she possesses, and continually attends to, a breadth of knowledge across many fields, accompanied by a depth of knowledge in one—shallow and wide horizontal knowledge, deep and singular vertical expertise….
_____________

How to Handle Work When Your Child Is Sick

“Mommy/Daddy, I don’t feel so good.” It’s a phrase that, along with its nonverbal equivalent – that glazed, pale, listless look that your kids get when they’re coming down with something — that you’ve learned to dread. Because whatever the ailment, be it flu, stomach bug, sprain, or other, two things are now certain: 1) You’re going to spend the next 24 hours, and likely more, worrying about and…
_____________

How to Handle Stress During a Job Interview

Have you ever felt incredibly stressed during a job interview? If so, you’re not alone. Most people say that interviewing for a job is an overwhelmingly stressful experience. Fortunately, you can come to terms with job interview stress by understanding that a certain amount of stress can actually help you ace the interview; that practicing for your interview can help you maintain a manageable…
_____________

Multiracial adolescents show no test score gap with whites

By Jonathan Rothwell The stark, stubborn race gaps in educational achievement undermine the American promise of equal opportunity. In particular, the divide between the test scores of white and black students reflects and reinforces unequal life chances. Multiracial students: A neglected research subject But not all students fall into single racial category. As Bill Frey shows in his book…
_____________

How to Ask for the Job Title You Deserve

Your job title isn’t everything — but it does matter. When you’re offered a new role, or have been in the same position for some time, how should you think about what title you deserve? How do you decide whether it’s worth negotiating? If you don’t think you can get a raise, should you even ask for a change in your title? And what about the other side of the coin: How should you respond if your…
_____________

The Stone: If You Could Be Someone Else, Would You?

If we think of it this way, then the question of wanting to be someone else is a question of what we might call experience: Is there anybody else whose experience of life you would prefer, assuming everything else would be equal?…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s