In an article by Woolley, Malone, and Chabris in the Sunday NY Times ("Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others," Jan. 18, '15), they discuss their study to find out why some groups are smarter than others. Groups in their study that did well on one task, such as logical analysis, brainstorming, group co-ordination, planning, and moral reasoning, did well on other tasks, too.
The smartest teams, they found, were distinguished by three characteristics:
- Their members contributed more equally to the team discussions, rather than
letting one or two people dominate the group.
- Their members scored higher on a test called "Reading the Mind in the Eyes,"
which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from
facial images with only the eyes visible.
- Teams with more WOMEN outperformed teams with more men. Women,
on average, were better at mind reading than men.
Tested both online and off-line, the most important ingredients for a "smart" team remained constant, whether a team was face-to-face or not. What made a team "smart," the researchers concluded, was not just the ability to read facial expressions, but a more general ability to consider and keep track of what other people feel, know, and believe. The women just did it better.
Draw your own conclusions!!
The NY Times published a book review on January 8, '15 by Marcia Angell titled "A Better Way Out."
Ms. Angell was reviewing a book by Atul Gawande titled Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. She cited the changes in dealing with old age in this country, as a result of the ballooning geriatric population; the necessity for both husband and wife to work (resulting in fewer daughters and daughters-in-law to care for the elderly); and family members moving out-of-town or out-of-state.
Then Ms. Angell quotes Mr. Gawande: "Your chances of avoiding the nursing home are directly related to the number of children you have, and, according to what little research has been done, having at least one daughter seems to be crucial to the amount of help you will receive."
But since daughters are now working to help support their own families, they have little time for elderly parents. Hence the growth, beginning in the 1980's, in the number of assisted living facilities. The term today describes a full range of facilities with vibrant, active communities all the way to watered-down skilled nursing facilities.
My husband and I don't have daughters. But it sounds as though our aging population is all in the same boat.