“Surface Acting” At Work Leads to Stress Spillover

David Wagner

David Wagner

Employers, employees, and benefits providers recognize that experiences at work can affect employees’ quality of life outside of work, leading to increasing availability of work-life programs including Employee Assistance Programs, on-site medical centers, concierges, meals, and fitness centers in the US.

Christopher Barnes

Christopher Barnes

When employees mask their true feelings in work situations, they may engage in “surface acting” — or displaying appropriate, but unfelt facial expressions, verbal interactions, and body language.

Brent Scott

Brent Scott

Surface acting at work was associated with emotional exhaustion, work-to-family conflict, and insomnia outside of work for more than 70 volunteers in a high stress public service occupation, according to Singapore Management University’s David T. Wagner, Christopher M. Barnes of University of Washington and Brent A. Scott of Michigan State University.

Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild

Emotional labor” is Arlie Hochshild’s earlier term for “surface acting” in customer service interactions, in which employees present prescribed verbalizations and emotions, even when they are not genuinely felt.

She contrasted “surface acting” with “deep acting” in which the person:

  • Exhibits the emotion actually felt
  • Uses past emotional experiences to elicit real emotion and empathic connection with others, in a form of “organizational method acting.
Christina Maslach

Christina Maslach

Surface acting can lead to occupational “burnout,” characterized by emotional exhaustion and detachment from others and reduced workplace performance, noted University of California Berkeley’s Christina Maslach and Susan Jackson.

Céleste Brotheridge

Céleste Brotheridge

In contrast, high emotional labor via deep acting has been associated with a greater sense of personal accomplishment in research by University of Regina’s Celeste Brotheridge and Alicia Grandey of Penn State.

Veikko Surakka

Veikko Surakka

Recipients of “surface acting” are usually adept at detecting that it’s an inauthentic display, according to University of Tampere Veikko Surakka and Jari K Hietanen of University of Helsinki.

Patricia Hewlin

Patricia Hewlin

Related experiences can also take a toll, resulting in generalized stress and reduced quality of life outside of work, according to Georgetown’s Patricia Hewlin as well as to University of Lethbridge’s Karen H. Hunter, Andrew A. Luchak of University of Alberta and Athabasca University’s Kay Devine.

They identified stress-inducing behaviors including:

Kay Devine

Kay Devine

  • Impression management, characterized by ingratiating behaviors in two-person relationships.
    Terence Mitchell

    Terence Mitchell

    In the workplace, these can influence career outcomes, according to Georgia Tech’s Robert C. Liden and Terence R. Mitchell of University of Washington

Leon Festinger

Leon Festinger

Even people not performing customer-facing roles may encounter situations in which they must behave in “appropriate” ways inconsistent with their true feelings, and experience similar stress spillover from “surface acting” at work.

-*How do you prevent “burnout” when workplace settings seem to require “surface acting”?

Follow-share-like www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds


RELATED POSTS:

Twitter  @kathrynwelds
Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:

©Kathryn Welds

Ask a Narcissist

Confidence is correlated with career effectiveness and advancement.
However when people exhibit “too much of a good thing,” their behavior may seem “narcissistic.”

Jean Twenge

Jean Twenge

The narcissistic personality is characterized by:

-*How do you determine if someone is a narcissist?

Calvin S Hall

Calvin S Hall

One of the most frequently-used, well-validated assessment instruments is the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, developed by University of California Berkeley’s Robert Raskin and Calvin S. Hall, and used by researchers rather than by pre-employment screeners.

Sara Konrath

Sara Konrath

Raskin and UC Berkeley colleague, Howard Terry examined more than 1000 volunteers’ responses found seven constructs related to narcissism:

  • Authority
  • Exhibitionism
  • Superiority
  • Vanity
  • Exploitativeness
  • Entitlement
  • Self-Sufficiency, all based on observations and self-reports of 57 participants as well as 128 people’s descriptions of “self” and “ideal self.”
Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary

In addition, Raskin and Terry related these ratings to participants’ responses to the Leary Interpersonal Check List, developed by Harvard’s Timothy Leary more than 50 years ago – and before he advocated use of psychedelic drugs.

Though a valid and reliable measure of grandiose or overt aspects of narcissism, the NPI’s 40 forced-choice items is lengthy and time-consuming.

Brian P Meier

Brian P Meier

As an alternative, University of Michigan’s Sara Konrath, with Brian P. Meier of Gettysburg College and Ohio State’s Brad J. Bushman of Indiana University developed The Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS) to measure grandiosity, entitlement, and low empathy characteristic of “narcissistic” behavior.

They used a question that anyone can pose: To what extent do you agree with this statement? “I am a narcissist.”
More than 2,200 participants answered on a scale of one to seven.

Brad J Bushman

Brad J Bushman

Konrath’s team demonstrated SINS’s value as a valid and reliable alternative to longer narcissism scales, because the SINS is significantly correlated with scores on the NPI, and uncorrelated with social desirability.
In addition Konrath and team provided a quick assessment tool for anyone puzzled by colleagues’ or friends’ behavior.

Erika Carlson

Erika Carlson

They found that people who score high on both the NPI and the SINS are generally unconcerned about what others think of them – “social desirability” – and are typically willing to admit what they know about themselves:  They act more arrogant, condescending, argumentative, critical, and prone to bragging than people who score low on the NPI, according to findings by University of Toronto’s Erika Carlson.

Team Konrath conducted 11 validation studies for the SINS, and found narcissism related to:

People who scored high for narcissism also showed behaviors that can be problematic at work:

However, they also showed positive attributes including:

If you think you’re working with a narcissist, you can confirm or disconfirm your inference by asking the person.
Interacting with a narcissist in the workplace can be challenging, and a previous blog post identifies recommended strategies.

-*How do you identify narcissists in the workplace and in personal life?
-*What are more effective ways to work with them?

Follow-share-like www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter  @kathrynwelds
Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:

©Kathryn Welds

Concrete Helping Acts Increase “Helpers High” Happiness more than Abstract Goals

Melanie Rudd

Melanie Rudd

People experience greater happiness when they perform specific “prosocial” actions, like trying to make someone smile, rather than pursuing an abstract objective like “trying to make someone happy,” according to University of Houston’s Melanie Rudd, Jennifer Aaker of Stanford and Harvard’s Michael I. Norton.

Jennifer Aaker

Jennifer Aaker

Fifty volunteers were asked to “make someone happy,” or to “make someone smile,” in exchange for a gift card.
When they completed the task, participants described how they accomplished their assignment, and the degree of happiness they experienced.

Michael Norton

Michael Norton

Participants who completed the specific goal, “getting someone to smile,” reported greater happiness than those who worked toward the more abstract, “higher construal level” goal of “making someone happy” – no matter which action they performed to achieve the goal.

Yaacov Trope

Yaacov Trope

Specific goals have a “low construal level”, according to Construal Level Theory (CLT), discussed by NYU’s Yaacov Trope and Nira Liberman of Tel Aviv University.
CLT distinguishes concrete, specific, contextualized, and personal actions from more abstract, distant options based on future time, remote space, social distance, and hypothetical probability.
Team Rudd’s findings demonstrate the emotional impact associated with completing specific prosocial tasks.

Nira Liberman

Nira Liberman

Rudd and team posited that concrete goals reduce the gap between expected and actual impact of one’s actions, and increase goal clarity, measurability, and achievability while setting more realistic outcome expectations.
The team evaluated this speculation by asking participants to rate the degree of similarity between the actual outcome and their expectations before they performed the specific or general task.
Those who performed the more specific action also reported greater similarity between expectations and actual outcomes, as well as experiencing more happiness as a result of their prosocial actions.

Edwin Locke

Edwin Locke

Abstractly-framed goals focus on “why”, broader meaning, and larger purpose, whereas concretely-stated objectives target the “how, found University of Maryland’s Edwin Locke and Gary Latham of University of Toronto.

Gary Latham

Gary Latham

Similarly, smaller expectation-reality gaps were linked to greater satisfaction, happiness, and well-being in research by University of Leiden’s Riël Vermunt and Herman Steensma. 

Riël Vermunt

Riël Vermunt

Rudd’s group replicated Vermunt and Steensma’s findings, for people had a previous friendship or no previous relationship with the beneficiary, and when the prosocial acts varied in magnitude.

Herman Steensma

Herman Steensma

Participants experienced similar degrees of happiness in performing small or large kind deeds, as long as thee specified actions like “increasing recycling of unneeded materials” instead of “supporting environmental sustainability.”

Volunteers were consistently inaccurate in predicting which charitable acts would make them feel most happy 24 hours after they completed the task.

Gal Zauberman

Gal Zauberman

Participants predicted that performing the abstract, “high construal level” task of “making someone happy” would make them happier than the specific task of “trying to make someone smile” – but they actually experienced greater happiness after they did a specific good deed.
Likewise, Wharton’s Gal Zauberman and John G. Lynch of Duke also found that volunteers had inaccurate expectations about future outcomes.

Anyone who has been disappointed when ambitious goals to help others did not result in the desired outcome understands the problems of “donor fatigue” or “helper burnout,” when there is a significant discrepancy between helper expectation and actual outcome.

Carolyn Schwartz

Carolyn Schwartz

This anecdotal experience is confirmed by University of Massachusetts Medical School’s University of Massachusetts’s Carolyn Schwarz, Yunsheng Ma, and George Reed, with Janice Bell Meisenhelder of Emmanuel College, who found that discrepancies between expectations and outcomes are linked to giver unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Allan Luks

Allan Luks

Rudd and team’s research suggests that much-needed helpers can experience a Helper’s High instead of “helper burnout” when their goals are concretely defined.
Helper’s High is even associated with improved physical health in addition to happiness, according to Fordham University’s Allan Luks.

Helping others is also associated with higher levels of mental health, found Schwartz’s group, although they found less relationship with physical health than Luks.

William Harbaugh

William Harbaugh

The Helper’s High has a physiological basis: “Pleasure centers of the brain” are activated when people make voluntary charitable donations as well as after receiving money for oneself, and even more than when individuals agree to a tax-like transfers to a charity, reported University of Oregon’s William T. Harbaugh and Ulrich Mayr, with Daniel R. Burghart of NYU.

Individuals can increase their experience of happiness by engaging in specific kind acts toward others, and philanthropic organizations can increase volunteer retention by framing requests as concrete, “low construal level” actions.

-*To what extent do specific prosocial actions increase your personal happiness?

Follow-share-like www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds


RELATED POSTS:

Twitter  @kathrynwelds
Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:

©Kathryn Welds

Is Being at Work Less Stressful than Being at Home?

-*Has the workplace replaced home as a preferred haven?

Sarah Damaske

Sarah Damaske

Both men and women showed fewer physiological signs of stress and reported feeling happier at work than at home, according to Penn State’s Sarah Damaske, Joshua M. Smyth, and Matthew J. Zawadzki.
However, their estimates of workplace were inconsistent with their actual physical stress levels.
This suggests that people report more stress at work than their bodies “register.”

Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild

Damaske’s team analyzed objective and subjective indicators of stress among more than 120 employed men and women and found support and counterpoints to Arlie Russell Hochschild’s 1997 Time Bind hypothesis, developed at University of California Berkeley.

 A 2013 Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends Report found that 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family responsibilities, due in large part to a mismatch between available time to fulfill responsibilities at home and work:  More than 40% of working mothers of children under age 18 and 34%-50% of working fathers of minor children said they “always feel rushed.”

Joshua M. Smythe

Joshua M. Smythe

Participants in Team Damaske’s study showed lower physiological indicators of stress at work, measured by blood levels of stress hormone cortisol levels, and this effect was particularly significant for people with lower incomes or no children at home.

However, these same participants reported greater subjective feelings of stress on workdays than on non-work days.

Matthew Zawadzki

Matthew Zawadzki

Women reported greater stress and less happiness at home, perhaps due to the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and home, with work demands continuing at home with email, conference calls, and text messages, suggested Damaske’s team.

In addition, workplace concierge service, prepared meals, onsite health care and gym services may increase workplace attraction.
Further, emotional attachments at work may be somewhat less intense than at home, so it may be easier to “detach” from work relationships.

Jason Schnittker

Jason Schnittker

People who work have better mental and physical health than their non-working peers, according to research by Damaske, University of Pennsylvania’s Jason Schnittker, as well as Mark Tausig and Adrianne Frech of University of Akron, all in separate studies.

Mark Tausig

Mark Tausig

These findings point to the value of continued workplace participation, particularly in Results Only Work Environments (ROWE), which encourage flexibility in the time and location of work while delivering agreed results.

Adrianne Frech

Adrianne Frech

Online collaboration tools like teleconferences with video capabilities and document sharing, computer-based soft phones, and work email integration with personal mobile devices are programs that enable employees to manage personal responsibilities through telecommuting, paid sick days, paternity and maternity leaves.

Cali Ressler-Jody Thompson

Cali Ressler-Jody Thompson

These programs can increase employee productivity and retention while reducing employee stress at the junction between work and home, noted Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, who evaluated the financial and organizational impact of ROWE.

-*How to you reduce stress in the transition from home to work to home?

Follow-share-like www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter  @kathrynwelds
Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:

©Kathryn Welds

Does Customer Recommendation Predict Company Growth?

Fred Reichheld

Fred Reichheld

Net Promoter Scores gauge customer loyalty, expressed by willingness to recommend and advocate the company’s products and services to others.

Its creator, Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company, posited that NPS is a more meaningful measure of a company’s relationship with its customers than customer satisfaction metrics because, he argued, it is correlated with revenue growth.

Richard Owen

Richard Owen

Satmetrix Executives Richard Owen and Laura Brooks further articulated this linkage between customer loyalty and revenue growth.

NPS’s customer loyalty metric is based on 10-point ratings in response to just one question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?

Laura Brooks

Laura Brooks

“Promoters” respond with a score of 9 or 10 whereas “Detractors” provide ratings of 0-6, and scores of 7 and 8 are ignored in this system, leading to the question of why they are included.
NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters.

Timothy L. Keiningham

Timothy L. Keiningham

Critics, including Ipsos Loyalty’s Timothy L. Keiningham, Bruce Cooil of Vanderbilt, BI Norwegian School of Management’s Tor Wallin Andreassen, and Lerzan Aksoy of Fordham, argue that American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is an equally accurate predictor of revenue growth.

They reinforced the frequently-replicated finding that actual behaviors, including positive and negative “word of mouth (WOM)are better predictors than attitudes about possible future behaviors, in their evaluation of longitudinal data from 21 firms and 15,500-plus interviews from the Norwegian Customer Satisfaction Barometer.

Claes Fornell

Claes Fornell

Likewise, University of Michigan’s Claes Fornell, Forrest V. Morgensen, and M.S. Krishan, with Sunil Mithas of University of Maryland, found that “it is possible to beat the market consistently by investing in firms that do well on the ACSI.”

Companies that invest in initiatives to increase customer satisfaction, reflected in higher scores than competitors on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), also performed better in measures of market value.

More surprisingly, they found that these higher returns are associated with lower stock market risk, probably due to “stock market imperfections” that require time to adjust to news of strong ACSI performance.

Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes

Similarly, customer satisfaction and loyalty researcher Bob Hayes contended that “likelihood to recommend” measures the same construct and has the same predictive value of business growth as customer loyalty questions such as:

  • Overall satisfaction
  • Predicted likelihood to purchase again, evaluated through his Purchasing Loyalty Index (PLI)
  • Number of referrals through “word of mouth” and “word of mouse,” calculated in his Advocacy Loyalty Index (ALI)
  • Resistance to defection to competing offers, measured with his Retention Loyalty Index (RLI).

    Hayes Customer Loyalty Grid

    Hayes Customer Loyalty Grid

Hayes’ findings reinforced the caveat that actual behavior is a more accurate than attitudes about likely future behavior, also demonstrated by University of Connecticut’s V Kumar, J Andrew Petersen and Robert Leone in their analysis of telecoms and financial service customers willing to recommend their service provider.

V Kumar

V Kumar

Only about one-third of these potential Advocates actually recommended the provider, and only about 13% of those referrals actually led to new customers.
Kumar and team called this the “promise gap” and suggested that it can be mitigated by delivering beyond customer expectations, even when a customer complains.

Neal A Morgan

Neil Morgan

Indiana University’s Neil A. Morgan and Lopo Leotte Rego of University of Iowa added a wrinkle to critiques of Net Promoter Scores as the sole necessary indicator of customer satisfaction.

Like Keiningham’s team and Hayes, they found that recommendation intentions (“net promoters”) have “little to no predictive value.
Unlike Hayes, their results found little predictive strength for actual behavior in average number of recommendations.

Instead, Morgan and Rego argued for multiple measures of customer satisfaction as the best predictor of revenue group.
Additionally they found that Top 2 Box satisfaction scores – the sum of percentages for the top two point on surveys of purchase intent, satisfaction or awareness – provided “good” predictive value.

Daniel Schneider

Daniel Schneider

The Net Promoter Score also had the lowest predictive validity when compared to three other scales by Stanford’s Jon Krosnick and Daniel Schneider, with Intuit’s Matt Berent and Hays Interactive’s Randall Thomas.

To improve the NPS, the team recommended replacing the 11 point unipolar rating scale with a 7 point bipolar scale from positive to negative impressions.

Jon Krosnick

Jon Krosnick

Their work replicated Hayes’ finding that liking and satisfaction with a company are highly significantly predictors than the likelihood of recommending, so Krosnick’s team recommended including questions like:

  • Overall, how satisfied are you with the each of the following companies?
  • How much do you like or dislike each of the following companies?

They uncovered correlations among measures of customer experience, and showed that liking is the best predictor of the number of recommendations and satisfaction.

Leon Festinger

Leon Festinger

Customers typically form more positive evaluations after the decision to purchase, probably due to validating purchase choices and reduce cognitive dissonance of purchase dissatisfaction, described by Stanford’s Leon Festinger.

These findings suggest that Reichheld’s claim of NPS as “the only question you need to ask” may be unsubstantiated, and that multiple measures of customer experience are more accurate predictors of a company’s revenue performance.

-*How credible is “willingness to recommend” a company as a predictor of its revenue growth?

Follow-share-like www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter  @kathrynwelds
Blog – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes:  

©Kathryn Welds

 

Spiritual, Religious Preferences Linked to Thicker Brain Cortex, Reduced Risk of Depression

 

Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller

Ravi Bansal

Ravi Bansal

People who value spiritual and religious practices show different brain structures than those for whom these beliefs are less important, according to Columbia’s Lisa Miller, Ravi Bansal, Priya Wickramaratne, Xuejun Hao, and Myrna M. WeissmanCraig E. Tenke and Bradley S. Peterson.

This finding is consistent with an earlier summary of transformations of brain structure and function associated with spiritual experiences compiled by University of Pennsylvania’s Andrew B. Newberg.

Andrew Newberg

Andrew Newberg

Priya Wickramaratne

Priya Wickramaratne

Miller’s team rated more than 100 volunteers on their risk of depression, based on family history of having parents or grandparents with major depression.

They also evaluated participants’ ratings of spiritual and religious values as well as religious participation at two times during a five year period.
The team also performed structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of each volunteer’s brain at the second time point. 

Xuejun Hao

Xuejun Hao

Myrna Weissman

Myrna Weissman

MRI brain scans showed significant differences in brain structure for those who valued spiritual and religious practices: Thicker cortices in the left and right parietal and occipital regions and mesial frontal lobes, and left hemisphere cuneus and precuneus.

In separate investigations, Miller, Wickramaratne, Tenke, and Weissman collaborated with Columbia colleagues Daniel Pilowsky, Helen Verdeli, Marc J. Gameroff, and Mia Sage, and New York State Psychiatric Institute’s Virginia Warner, with Yoko Nomura of Queens College in a 20 year longitudinal study following adult children of people diagnosed with major depression.

Craig Tenke

Craig Tenke

Daniel Pilowsky

Daniel Pilowsky

Adult children who also reported at the beginning of the study that religion or spirituality was “highly important” to them had 75%-90% less risk of experiencing major depression over 10 years, compared with people who had no family history of depression.
These findings suggest that spiritual and religious values buffer genetic risk of depressive disorders.

Mia Sage

Mia Sage

Yoko Nomura

Yoko Nomura

Further support for this notion comes from related work by Columbia’s Tenke, who collaborated with Jürgen Kayser, Carlye G. Manna, Shiva Fekri, Christopher J. Kroppmann, Jennifer D. Schaller, Daniel M. Alschuler, Jonathan W. Stewart, Patrick J. McGrath, and Gerard E. Bruder to report that people who recover from depression have high-amplitude alpha brain activity, which is also associated with continued practice of Qigong meditation, according to University of Graz’s Gerhard Litscher, G. Wenzel, Gerald Niederwieser, and Gerhard Schwarz.

Gerhard Litscher

Gerhard Litscher

Gerald Niederwieser

Gerald Niederwieser

Taken together, these findings on brain wave activity, spirituality, and depression suggest that spiritual practice affects brain function.

Miller’s team posited that spiritual or religious practices like mindfulness, meditation, and religious practice may reduce high familial risk for major depression due to structural changes in the brain.

-*How credible are suggestions that spiritual values and practices alter brain structure and function?

Follow-share-like http://www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter @kathrynwelds
Blog: Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes

©Kathryn Welds

Walking Linked to More Creative Solutions than Sitting

Marily Oppezzo

Marily Oppezzo

Volunteers generated more novel, feasible, and appropriate ideas when they walked than when they sat, reported Santa Clara University’s Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz of Stanford University.

Dan Schwartz

Dan Schwartz

They contrasted the effects of:
-Walking indoors or outdoors
-Sitting or being pushed in a wheelchair indoors or outdoors.

More than 175 volunteers in 4 experiments completed several well-validated assessments of creative thinking:

  • JP Guilford

    JP Guilford

    Guilford’s Alternate Uses (GAU) for common objects, created by University of Southern California’s J. P. Guilford, to measure of cognitive flexibility and divergent thinking

  • Mark Beeman

    Mark Beeman

    Barron’s Symbolic Equivalence Test (BSE), introduced by Frank Barron of University of California Santa Cruz to measure insight  measured by number of original analogies generated for  complex ideas.

Frank Barron

Frank Barron

The BSE requires abstracting the relational structure of the base statement and repopulating the structure in a different domain, in contrast to the Guilford’s Alternate Uses (GAU), which requires identifying a surface attribute and using it to determine a use.

Dedre Gentner

Dedre Gentner

Analogies were coded according to a protocol developed by Northwestern’s Dedre Gentner that considers the analogies’:

o   Level of detail (vague, precise)
o   Semantic proximity to the base statement (near, far)
o   Relational mapping to the base statement (low, high).

Walking increased 81% of participants’ divergent creativity on the Guilford’s Alternate Uses (GAU), and 23% of participants’ scores for convergent thinking measured by Compound Remote-Association test (CRA).
Walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies
.

Walkers generated an average of 60% more creative ideas than when seated across 4 experiments.
People who walked were more talkative, and their greater verbal output was associated with more valid creative ideas.

Marc Berman

Marc Berman

The sequence of walking and idea generation affects the number and quality of creative suggestions.
Participants generated more valid creative solutions when they walked then sat.
In contrast, those who sat then walked, and people who only sat did not improve across trials.
Walking, rather than being outdoors, led to an increase in analogical appropriate creativity, and the positive effects of walking continued when people continued creative tasks when they sat.

John Jonides

John Jonides

These effects may be attributed to Attention Restoration Theory (ART), described by University of Michigan’s Marc G. Berman, John Jonides, and Stephen Kaplan.
They differentiated two types of attention:

Stephen Kaplan

Stephen Kaplan

They posited that walking in natural environments enables renewal of directed attention capacities and improves performances on difficult tasks when no longer walking.

In contrast, walking in an urban walk requires directed attention to avoid obstacles and dangerous situations, and provides less opportunity to restore directed attention.

Jin Fan

Jin Fan

After they walked, volunteers performed better on tasks to test attentional functions on Jin Fan of Mount Sinai Medical School’s Attention Network Test that evaluate:

  • Alerting
  • Orienting
  • Executive attention.

Benefits of walking on creative production were not related to mood or weather conditions during four different seasons.
Even viewing photographs of nature helped participants improve backwards digit-span compared with viewing photographs of urban environments, in Opezzo and Schwartz’s investigation.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

These studies validate Friedrich Nietzsche’s observation that “all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking and imply the value of walking in a natural setting before generating creative ideas.

Another implication is based on the finding that talk volume was associated with increased volume and quality of creative ideas.
As a result, allocating sufficient time for extended discussion is likely to increase innovative output.

Access to walking places in natural settings is more than a pleasant amenity: It enhances effective cognitive functioning and performance.

-*How effective have you found taking a brief walk outdoors before high-stakes discussions?

Follow-share-like http://www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

RELATED POSTS:

Twitter @kathrynwelds
Blog: Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary  
Google+
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes

©Kathryn Welds