Two crucial pieces of reading
Chris Mooney’s “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science” is great on the ‘motivated cognition’ we all use to protect our world view (and our view of ourselves as people who don’t distort our world view to protect our view of ourselves). Bits of it will be familiar to close readers of Dwight Towers, since both Mr Mooney and I are big fans of Dan Kahan and the Cultural Cognition project.
Second up (hat-tip Johnnie Moore) is a report on experimental proof that the charismatic self-confident leaders that we flock to are NOT very good at helping their teams to the ‘right answers’. Boffins designed experiments that required lots of communication and open-ness and canvassing of opinion. The leaders rated as ‘best’ (chest-beatingest) were less successful than the more consensual/let’s get the best out of everyone ones. (This completely gels with some training I underwent about 5 years ago, which still resonates with me – our ‘team’ failed to elicit the relevant info and we failed in our task. Who was the dickhead ‘in charge’? Erm, um… Ooh, kittens are nice!!!)
PS Is it cos self-confident and forceful leaders would have most likely/most often been just the sort of person to see off a ‘simple’ threat like a peckish sabre-tooth tiger? Forgive the crued evolutionary psychology here, but are we suffering a scar of evolution here? How would you design an experiment to test the hypothesis?