Wednesday, November 21, 2012

La Creatividad como Proceso Colaborativo

Brian Uzzi, PhD, profesor del Kellog School of Management, presenta los resultados de su investigacion sobre como la colaboracion esta impactando el proceso de creatividad.  Uzzi propone que los grandes avances de innovacion en la humanidad han sido en su gran mayoria el resultado de procesos colaborativos. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

La Intuicion y la Cooperacion

Sobre la intuicion y la cooperacion, un articulo reciente que establece que si respondemos con rapidez estaremos inclinados a cooperar.  Esto no concuerda con mis observaciones durante simulaciones de colaborcion y trabajo en equipo.  Ademas, siempre he puesto en duda exprimentos que usen juegos de economia para describir las relaciones humanas. Es una forma de enmarcar las relaciones en un paradigma economico y reducir nuestras interacciones a meros actos de costo-beneficio.  Aun asi creo que es una lectura importante. 

Quick intuitive decisions foster more charity and cooperation than slow calculated ones
by Ed Yong
Discover Magazine
September 19, 2012

Our lives are governed by both fast and slow – by quick, intuitive decisions based on our gut feelings; and by deliberate, ponderous ones based on careful reflection. How do these varying speeds affect our choices? Consider the many situations when we must put our own self-interest against the public good, from giving to charity to paying out taxes. Are we naturally prone to selfishness, behaving altruistically only through slow acts of self-control? Or do we intuitively reveal our better angels, giving way to self-interest as we take time to think?

According to David Rand from Harvard University, it’s the latter. Through a series of experiments, he has found that, on average, people behave more selflessly if they make decisions quickly and intuitively. If they take time to weigh things up, cooperation gives way to selfishness. The title of his paper – “Spontaneous giving and calculated greed” – says it all.

Working with Joshua Greene and Martin Nowak, Rand asked volunteers to play the sort of games that economists have used for years. They have to decide how to divvy, steal, invest or monopolise a pot of money, sometimes with the option to reward or punish other players. These games are useful research tools, but there’s an unspoken simplicity to them. Sure, the size of the payoffs or the number of rounds may vary, but experiments assume that people play consistently depending on their personal preferences. We know from personal experience that this is unlikely to be true, and Rand’s experiments confirm as much. They show that speed matters.

Rand started with a simple public goods game, where players decide how much money to put into a pot. The pot is then doubled and split evenly among them. The group gets the best returns if everyone goes all-in, but each individual does best if they withhold their money and reap the rewards nonetheless.

Rand recruited 212 people for the experiment using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an internet marketplace where people can outsource tasks to worldwide volunteers. The Turk provided two advantages: the volunteers were more diverse than the W.E.I.R.D. undergraduates who normally take part in psychological studies; and Rand could measure how quickly they made their decisions. With that data, he found that players contributed around 67 percent of their money if they made decisions within 10 seconds, but only around 53 percent if they took longer.

Rand also went back to four of his earlier studies, where he had recorded reaction times (including one I’ve written about before). All of these involved college students, but they used different economic games. Nonetheless, all showed the same link between faster decisions, and more cooperative choices.  “Although the cold logic of self-interest is seductive, our first impulse is to cooperate,” Rand writes.

Of course, these results are just correlations. Does rapid-fire decision-making actually foment cooperation, or are selfless decisions just quicker to make? To find out, Rand recruited more volunteers through the Mechanical Turk, and got them to play another public goods game. This time, he manipulated the speed of their decisions—he either told them to choose quickly, or asked them to write about a time when their intuitions served them well or careful reasoning led them astray. Under both conditions, the volunteers made faster choices, and contributed more money to the communal pot. If, however, they were told to decide slowly, or to write about times when reflection beat intuition, they stumped up less money.

From these results, it’s tempting to conclude that cooperation is somehow “innate” or “hardwired” and that selfishness is somehow imposed upon these predispositions. But Rand points out that our intuitions are also shaped by our daily lives. In so many of our choices, cooperation is the sensible call; if we cheat, we may be punished, lose our reputation, or deny ourselves the future goodwill of those we wrong.

So, when volunteers take part in the experiments, “their automatic first response is to be cooperative,” Rand writes. “It then requires reflection to overcome this cooperative impulse and instead adapt to the unusual situation created in these experiments, in which cooperation is not advantageous.” He found two lines of support for this idea when he surveyed his volunteers: The link between fast-thinking and charity only held for people who said that their daily lives were mostly filled with cooperative interactions; and it only held for those who hadn’t taken part in similar experimental games before.

“This shows how it’s difficult to consider experimental play in isolation from things outside the lab or as completely determined by the game’s monetary payoffs, as a lot of economists do,” says Ann Dreber Almenberg from the Stockholm School of Economics, and one of Rand’s former colleagues.

Obviously, all of these results are averages, and the individuals in the study varied greatly. Some people hardly cooperated at all, regardless of how quickly or slowly they thought. Others took a long time, and still erred on the side of selflessness. “We weren’t able to find any traits that differentiated these people from everyone else, but it something we are quite interested in exploring more,” says Rand. And more importantly, no one showed the opposite trend—no one cooperated more when they made intuitive rather than reflective decisions.

Rand now wants to find out more about how the link decision speed and cooperation varies between individuals, and across different cultures. He also wants to understand how these trade-offs play out in real settings, and he suspects that “fact-based rational pitches may be less effective than more emotional appeals, if you are trying to get other people to be cooperative.”

Reference: Rand, Greene & Nowak. 2012. Spontaneous giving and calculated greed. Nature

Sobre la Confianza y la Intuicion

La intuicion en la toma de decisiones, en especifico el decidir si alguien es confiable o no, es uno de los temas resbaladizos de la psicologia.  El siguiente articulo amplia el cnocimiento sobre que claves visuales y gestos corporales aportan a la desconfianza. Pulsen aqui y veran un video del robot realizando los gestos.

Who’s Trustworthy? A Robot Can Help Teach Us
by Tara Parker-Pope
The New York Times
September 10, 2012

How do we decide whether to trust somebody?

An unusual new study of college students’ interactions with a robot has shed light on why we intuitively trust some people and distrust others. While many people assume that behaviors like avoiding eye contact and fidgeting are signals that a person is being dishonest, scientists have found that no single gesture or expression consistently predicts trustworthiness.

But researchers from Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell recently identified four distinct behaviors that, together, appear to warn our brains that a person can’t be trusted.

The findings, to be published this month in the journal Psychological Science, may help explain why we are sometimes quick to like or dislike a person we have just met. More important, the research could one day be used to develop computer programs that can rapidly assess behavior in airports or elsewhere to flag security risks.

In the first experiment, 86 undergraduates from Northeastern were given five minutes to get to know a fellow student they hadn’t met before. Half the pairs met face to face; the other half interacted online by instant message.

Then the students were asked to play a game in which all the players got four tokens and the chance to win money. A token was worth $1 if a player kept it for himself or $2 when he gave it to his partner. Players could win $4 each if both partners kept their tokens, but if they worked together and traded all four tokens, then each partner could win $8. But the biggest gain — $12 — came from cheating a partner out of his tokens and not giving any in return.

Over all, only about 1 in 5 people (22 percent) were completely trustworthy and cooperative, giving away all their tokens so that each partner could win $8. Thirteen percent were untrustworthy, keeping all or most of their tokens. The remaining 65 percent were somewhat cooperative, giving away two or three tokens but also holding one or two back for security.

Both groups demonstrated the same level of cooperation. Whether the students met face to face or online didn’t change their decisions about how many tokens to give away or keep. But students who met in person were far better at predicting the trustworthiness of the partner; that suggested they were relying on visual cues.

“Lack of face-to-face contact didn’t make people more selfish,” said the study’s lead author, David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern. “But a person’s ability to predict what their partner was going to do was greater face to face than online. There is something the mind is picking up that gives you greater accuracy and makes you better able to identify people who are going to be trustworthy.”

To find out what cues the players were responding to, the researchers filmed the students’ five-minute conversations before the game started. They discovered that four specific gestures predicted when a person was less trustworthy: leaning away from someone; crossing arms in a blocking fashion; touching, rubbing or grasping hands together; and touching oneself on the face, abdomen or elsewhere. These cues were not predictive by themselves; they predicted untrustworthiness only in combination.

And individuals intuitively picked up on the cues. “The more you saw someone do this, the more intuition you had that they would be less trustworthy,” Dr. DeSteno said.
The researchers then conducted an experiment pairing students with a friendly-faced robot, developed by Cynthia Breazeal, who directs M.I.T.’s personal robots group.

The setup was basically the same, except the students had a 10-minute conversation with the robot before they played the game. (The extra time was needed to help the student get over the “wow” factor of talking to a robot.) A woman acted as the robot’s voice, but she was unaware of its movements, which were controlled by two other people. Sometimes the robot used only typical gestures, like moving a hand or shrugging its shoulders, but sometimes it mimicked the four cues of distrust: clasping its hands, crossing its arms, touching its face or leaning away.

Surprisingly, when students saw the robot make the hand and body gestures associated with distrust, they later made decisions in the token game that suggested they didn’t trust the robot.

In questionnaires afterward, students in both groups rated the robot equally likable. But those who had unknowingly witnessed the cues associated with distrust also rated the robot as less trustworthy, compared with students exposed to only the conversational gestures.

“It makes no sense to ascribe intentions to a robot,” said an author of the study, Robert H. Frank, an economics professor at Cornell. “But it appears we have certain postures and gestures that we interpret in certain ways. When we see them, whether it’s a robot or a human, we’re affected by it, because of the pattern it evokes in our brain responses.” Dr. Frank said the study suggested that there might have been an evolutionary benefit to cooperation — and, more important, to the ability to determine who could be trusted.

“One of the interesting big questions in evolution has always been ‘Why do people do the right thing and pass up opportunities for gain when no one is looking?’ ” he said. “But if you are known to be a trustworthy person, then you are economically valuable in many situations, and it’s also valuable to be able to identify who won’t cheat.

“Life is all about finding people you can trust in different situations.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Liderazgo Comunitario

A continuación, un video de Peter Snege, creador del concepto Organización de Aprendizaje, y su visión de liderazgo.  Me parece peculiar que define el liderazgo como un proceso colectivo y no individual como se suele describir.