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Teamwork Roundup

October 19, 2010

Just because a group has the smartest people doesn’t mean it makes the smartest decisions.


What makes a smart team? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

If you had a difficult problem to solve and had to pick a team to help you, you’d probably pick the smartest people. But according to a new study published in the journal Science, that might not be the smartest strategy. They found that groups with socially adept individuals who were sensitive to the needs of their teammates performed better than groups with the brainiest people. In particular, groups with more women—who tend to be more socially sensitive—outperformed groups that contained mostly men.

In other psychology news, researchers writing in the journal Sleep Medicine found that among older women, a short night’s sleep didn’t shorten their lives. In fact, women in the study who got just five to six and a half hours of sleep per night had the best survival. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.