Building the Perfect Team, Emoji Labels Signal Healthy Food, plus more weekly links


A selection of recent behavioral science news, articles, and resources of note:

  • In the workplace, why do some teams flourish while others flounder? Charles Duhigg explores the social norms that can enhance or damage the collective intelligence of a group, in his article “What Google Learned from its Quest to Build the Perfect Team.” (New York Times)


Photo: BiblioArchives/LibraryArchives

  • It’s hard to get kids to eat their broccoli. With nearly one-third of children in the U.S. classified as overweight or obese, it’s important too. Can emojis help? Researchers recently explored how emoji-labels could be used to help kids choose healthier foods. (Washington Post)
  • Writing in the New York Times, Eduardo Porter offered a reality check on the power of nudges. Do they really have the power to solve the most complex and pressing challenges like poverty? According to Porter, no. New York Magazine’s Jesse Singal responded: “‘Nudges’ Can’t Solve Poverty—But No One’s Saying They Can.” (New York Times, New York Magazine)
  • Psychologist Paul Bloom describes the silver lining of psychology’s replication crisis. (The Atlantic)
  • What does it mean to make a stupid mistake? You could ask Homer Simpson. Or you could check out Balazs Aczel and his colleagues’ research in Intelligence. Their work, nicely explained by Psychologist David Hambrick in Scientific American, lays out three categories of stupid mistakes: the confidence-skill gap, impulsivity gone wrong, and lapses in attention. All of which begs the question: does knowing how stupid we are make us smarter? (Intelligence, Scientific American)
  • Stigmatized and minority groups have at least one thing in common—they’re not in the majority. That doesn’t mean, however, that these distinct groups will automatically band together. In a recent article, psychologists Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson discuss the individual and situational factors that can help bring minority groups together as well as those that might drive them apart. (Current Directions in Psychological Science)
  • “When you consider all the people you know and all the places you go and all the places they go, chances are good that you’ll run into someone you know, somewhere, at some point,” writes  Julie Beck in The Atlantic. “But it’ll still seem like a coincidence when you do.” Psychology can explain how and why we notice coincidences and probability can explain their frequency. But what is it exactly that makes a coincidence a coincidence? (The Atlantic)
  • The Medical College Admission Test, better known as the MCAT, now includes questions on the psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior. These additions signal the growing importance placed on the role of psychological and social factors in promoting health. (American Psychologist)


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