Thursday, October 29, 2009
The research found a dramatic improvement in ethical behavior with just a few spritzes of citrus-scented Windex.
Katie Liljenquist, assistant professor of organizational leadership at BYU’s Marriott School of Management, is the lead author on the piece in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science. Co-authors are Chen-Bo Zhong of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The researchers see implications for workplaces, retail stores and other organizations that have relied on traditional surveillance and security measures to enforce rules.
“Companies often employ heavy-handed interventions to regulate conduct, but they can be costly or oppressive,” said Liljenquist, whose office smells quite average. “This is a very simple, unobtrusive way to promote ethical behavior.”Perhaps the findings could be applied at home, too, Liljenquist said with a smile. “Could be that getting our kids to clean up their rooms might help them clean up their acts, too.”
The study titled “The Smell of Virtue” was unusually simple and conclusive. Participants engaged in several tasks, the only difference being that some worked in unscented rooms, while others worked in rooms freshly spritzed with Windex.
Read more about the results and see a video clip of Katie Liljenquist talking about her study: byunews.byu.edu/smellofvirtue
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Everybody say it with me now...awwww....
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Despite the popularity of cultural evolution as an idea, with cultures as organisms and memes as genes, the actual science has lagged.
But by applying the tools of population genetics to Polynesian boat designs, researchers show that cultural evolution might be studied as rigorously as the beaks of finches.
“Evolution is a logical way of looking at change over time,” said Deborah Rogers, a Stanford University evolutionary biologist. “There’s nothing inherently biological about it. The logic can be applied to cultural change. Biology was just the first place that people ran with it.”
Working with fellow Stanford researchers Marcus Feldman and Paul Ehrlich, Rogers converted archaeological records of Polynesian canoes, the design of which varied between islands and tribes, into standardized descriptions.
The structure of that dataset was described in a paper published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the latest study, published in the November Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers ran their data through a program of the sort typically used to analyze genetic information, inferring trees of relationships from patterns of inherited biological difference.