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February 26, 2012



As an aside, there's a great segment in this episode of Radiolab ( http://www.radiolab.org/2012/jan/09/ ) about how the implications of Stanley Millgram's experiments are more nuanced than one might think. For example, the people in charge were carefully scripted in their instructions. In most cases it was the final instruction, the 'order', that provoked most disobedience. Worth a listen.

Ian Leslie

A recent study offers an interesting revision of that NYU study on 'old people' priming - http://bit.ly/wEeQnp - it suggests that it wasn't the participants who were affected by priming, but the experimenters.

Chris Purnell

Re Leadership: In the second World War many of the RAF crew, with senior responsibilities were sergeants. It was only after the introduction of Churchillian hero- worship that the officer class took over. The initial signal was that flying was not a major role in the war and therefore not suitable for 'the officer class'. Perhpas a Stalin style cleansing of the director 'class' would release the abilities of the corporate sergeants?


"Small truth, big error." That's one of your lines, isn't it Chris? I wonder if you've considered tha variant on that theme, where one gets so focussed on the complex factors that act as modifiers at the margin that one loses sight of the simple underlying rule. "Priming" may indeed have a statistically significant effect on walking speed, but a man with long legs is still going to walk faster than one with short legs. Being put in a leadership position may make you a better leader, but that doesn't mean there is no such thing as natural leadership ability.

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