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Blog posts tagged in Social psychology

Posted by Khaled Kteily on in All About Consulting

The Pygmalion effect

In 1968, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson reported the Pygmalion effect, and named it after Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw.  Students at a single California elementary school were given a disguised IQ test. Teachers were then told the names of some of the students, 20% chosen at random, could be ''spurters'' that year and outperformed their classmates. The actual scores of the students were not disclosed to the teachers.

Posted by Khaled Kteily on in Interviews

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A recent Harvard Business School study reaches a fascinating conclusion about social status in prestigious and non-prestigious environments. Titled 'The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence from Signals of Nonconformity', it gives us some insight into how trying to fit in can have the opposite effect you intended. 

The key takeaway: If you are already in a prestigious setting
(working at a top firm, studying at a top school, etc.) then doing something nonconformist can give you a higher perceived social status.

For example: a business school professor wearing a t-shirt and sporting a beard or a trainer for an executive education program wearing a suit and red sneakers are considered as “having the guts to do what they’re doing. They have points to spare. They’re such a high-status person that they don’t need to conform to the rules.”

On the other hand, if you're not already in a prestigious role the inverse is true. Business professors at less prestigious universities were perceived as having slightly more status when wearing a suit and tie. 

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Are you starting to think about your course selection for next semester? A recent publication by Harvard Business School - titled "Why Unqualified Candidates Get Hired Anyway" - can teach you a thing or two about the courses you should be taking. 

The article is based on the results of a study called 'Inflated Applicants: Attribution Errors in Performance Evaluation by Professionals', and it focuses on a concept called the 'fundamental attribution error'. This is people’s tendency to "overemphasize internal explanations for the behavior of others, while failing to take into account the power of the situation." 

The research paper shows that "the fundamental attribution error is so deeply rooted in our decision making that not even highly trained people-evaluators, such as hiring managers and school admissions officers, can defeat its effects."

For example, "the first study asked professional university admissions officers to evaluate nine fictional applicants, whose high schools were reportedly uniform in quality and selectivity. Only one major point of variance existed between the schools: grading standards, which ranged from lenient to harsh. Predictably, 

In fact, "admissions officers tend to pick a candidate who performed well on easy tasks rather than a candidate who performed less well at difficult tasks," says [Gino, one of the authors], noting that even seasoned professionals discount information about the candidate's situation, attributing behavior to innate ability." 

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Posted by Khaled Kteily on in Preparing Your Applications

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Have you ever shopped at IKEA? Yes, of course you have. That means you've spent hours with an Allen key, and your blood, swear and tears. The result? Furniture that you are damn proud of.

The Ikea Effect - which is well-profiled by social psychologists and has been analyzed by the Harvard Business Review - is the tendency to value something more because you made it. So why is that relevant when you're putting together your application?