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Thread: Article in The Economist about VI systematic study by academics

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    Default Article in The Economist about VI systematic study by academics

    Physiognomy and success

    Face value

    Jan 24th 2008
    From The Economist print edition


    What the boss looks like determines how he performs

    A COUPLE of years ago a group of management scholars from Yale and the University of Pittsburgh tried to discover if there was a link between a company's success and the personality of its boss. To work out what that personality was, they asked senior managers to score their bosses for such traits as an ability to communicate an exciting vision of the future or to stand as a good model for others to follow. When the data were analysed, the researchers found no evidence of a connection between how well a firm was doing and what its boss was like. As far as they could tell, a company could not be judged by its chief executive any better than a book could be judged by its cover.

    A few years before this, however, a team of psychologists from Tufts University, led by Nalini Ambady, discovered that when people watched two-second-long film-clips of professors lecturing, they were pretty good at determining how able a teacher each professor actually was. At the end of the study, the perceptions generated by those who had watched only the clips were found to match those of students taught by those self-same professors for a full semester.

    Now, Dr Ambady and her colleague, Nicholas Rule, have taken things a step further. They have shown that even a still photograph can convey a lot of information about competence—and that it can do so in a way which suggests the assessments of all those senior managers were poppycock.

    Dr Ambady and Mr Rule showed 100 undergraduates the faces of the chief executives of the top 25 and the bottom 25 companies in the Fortune 1,000 list. Half the students were asked how good they thought the person they were looking at would be at leading a company and half were asked to rate five personality traits on the basis of the photograph. These traits were competence, dominance, likeability, facial maturity (in other words, did the individual have an adult-looking face or a baby-face) and trustworthiness.

    By a useful (though hardly unexpected) coincidence, all the businessmen were male and all were white, so there were no confounding variables of race or sex. The study even controlled for age, the emotional expression in the photos and the physical attractiveness of the individuals by obtaining separate ratings of these from other students and using statistical techniques to remove their effects.

    This may sound like voodoo. Psychologists spent much of the 20th century denigrating the work of 19th-century physiognomists and phrenologists who thought the shapes of faces and skulls carry information about personality. However, recent work has shown that such traits can, indeed, be assessed from photographs of faces with a reasonable accuracy.

    And Dr Ambady and Mr Rule were surprised by just how accurate the students' observations were. The results of their study, which are about to be published in Psychological Science, show that both the students' assessments of the leadership potential of the bosses and their ratings for the traits of competence, dominance and facial maturity were significantly related to a company's profits. Moreover, the researchers discovered that these two connections were independent of each other. When they controlled for the “power” traits, they still found the link between perceived leadership and profit, and when they controlled for leadership they still found the link between profit and power.

    These findings suggest that instant judgments by the ignorant (nobody even recognised Warren Buffett) are more accurate than assessments made by well-informed professionals. It looks as if knowing a chief executive disrupts the ability to judge his performance.

    Sadly, the characteristics of likeability and trustworthiness appear to have no link to company profits, suggesting that when it comes to business success, being warm and fuzzy does not matter much (though these traits are not harmful). But this result also suggests yet another thing that stockmarket analysts might care to take into account when preparing their reports: the physog of the chief executive.
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    Also:

    Lasting Impression: Does the face of a CEO determine a successful company?

    It certainly takes more than a pretty face to run a leading national corporation. But according to a recent Tufts University study, the performance levels of America’s top companies could be related to the first impressions made by their chief executive officers (CEOs).

    Using photographs of the highest and lowest ranked Fortune 1000 companies’ CEOs, psychologists Nicholas Rule and Nalini Ambady quizzed ordinary college students to determine which of the pictured faces were characteristic of a leader.

    Without knowledge of the pictured individuals’ job titles, and by rating the faces on competence, dominance, likeability, facial maturity and trustworthiness, the students were able to distinguish between the successful and the not-so-successful CEOs.

    Despite the ambiguity of the images, which were cropped to the face, put into grayscale and standardized in size, ratings of power- and leadership-related traits from CEOs’ faces were significantly related to company profits.

    "These findings suggest that naive judgments may provide more accurate assessments of individuals than well-informed judgments can," wrote the authors. “Our results are particularly striking given the uniformity of the CEOs’ appearances.” The majority of CEOs, who were selected according to their Fortune 1000 ranking, were Caucasian males of similar age.

    The study, which appears in the February 2008 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveals a strong connection between appearances and success as it leaves behind an intriguing question: which came first, the powerful-looking CEO or their successful career?
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    Very nice! I will keep track of this.
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    interesting, but there's no real way to say that this has anything to do with socionics VI or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    interesting, but there's no real way to say that this has anything to do with socionics VI or not.
    what is interesting about it, the fact that it's being studied, the result of the study or something else?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms. Kensington View Post
    what is interesting about it, the fact that it's being studied, the result of the study or something else?
    well, the results.

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    I imagine it would be related to Socionics VI - there are certain traits we pick up on that seem to reflect how a person works . Someone here needs to become a millionaire and fund research specifically into teh socionics side of things. Well, don't look at me...I came up with the idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    well, the results.
    yes, i just thought it was weird that having a print article with what seems to be the same information supplied by many posters would have such a different effect on how a claim of "VI"ing is received by you. (the study may have been more scientific than it seems to me at first glance)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms. Kensington View Post
    (the study may have been more scientific than it seems to me at first glance)
    yes, just a tad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    yes, just a tad.
    well.. i mean for me there didn't seem to be a mention of how scientific the studies are, of course i skimmed it, but to me it seemed like they were saying "some students who had known the professors longer than some other people assessed the professors' teaching the same way". That doesn't sound that different than some of the claims made here, even in terms of sample size and uniformity of ethnicity or whatever (even though we don't know if the professors were all uniform ethnically as we do in the second example "a step further"). But ok. I suppose any "study" (not being sarcastic at all) would be multiples of more scientific than a single VI.. even though that VI would be based on a lot of personal information an individual would have gathered over time as opposed to a single, random feeling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms. Kensington View Post
    well.. i mean for me there didn't seem to be a mention of how scientific the studies are, of course i skimmed it, but to me it seemed like they were saying "some students who had known the professors longer than some other people assessed the professors' teaching the same way". That doesn't sound that different than some of the claims made here
    i don't understand your criticism of this example. Has there ever been a controlled study here about having a bunch of students typing their college professors as compared to people VIing these professors, or anything similar?

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    There was a psychologist once who suggested that everyone is a personality theorist. It just means that people's private theories are much more alike than anybody thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcaudilllg View Post
    There was a psychologist once who suggested that everyone is a personality theorist. It just means that people's private theories are much more alike than anybody thought.
    I think that's precisely it.

    What the study shows is that people have developed, perhaps unconsciously, their own private VI criteria -- or perhaps there is a "Jungian" "collective unconscious VI" that has been promoted by things like movies, TV, etc.

    It is not necessary for those people to be using what would be called "socionics VI" - what it means is that people agree on which traits to attribute to a person as per a photograph, and that those traits seem to be accurate.
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
    Quote Originally Posted by implied
    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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