Risky Domains

“Nice guys finish last.”

Most of us have either spoken or heard this phrase at some point? There seems to be cultural understanding that being the “bad boy” (i.e. being confrontational, acting impulsively, and taking physical risks) somehow earns attraction points, whereas being the “nice guy” doesn’t. Whether or not being a bad boy actually attracts women, research shows these behaviors are in fact associated with men’s mating motivation (i.e. desire for a mating partner). Unfortunately, there are a lot of obvious risks in these behaviors (e.g. starting a fight with the wrong guy).

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Anxious For (Bad?) Advice

Important decisions can be anxiety provoking. Therefore, it is somewhat unsurprising that Francesca Gino, Alison Brooks, and Maurice Schweitzer showed that people who feel anxiety — defined as “a state of distress and/or physiological arousal in reaction to stimuli including novel situations and the potential for undesirable outcomes” — are more likely to take advice from others. But what if the advice is bad?

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Two Heads Are Cockier Than One

Two heads are better than one. Anyone who has ever played a trivia game knows this. Working in groups allows people to combine the knowledge of each participant to improve decision-making and accuracy. In the literature, “research on quantitative judgement has shown that individuals often improve their decision making by integrating outside input into their judgments.” Therefore, effective collaboration is based on the acceptance of outside advice: but, are people always willing to listen?

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Seeing Parts To Find New Purpose

Sitting in front of you on the table are two heavy steel rings, a candle, a matchstick, and a 2-inch cube of steel. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to fasten the two rings together. How do you solve this puzzle?

If you are like many people, your first thought would be something along the lines of, “candles are made of wax…wax melts with fire…matchsticks create fire; therefore, by melting the wax between the two rings, they would be sufficiently fastened.” Unfortunately, you would have the wrong answer.

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