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New research suggests in order to succeed you need to be intelligent you can't just rely on being nice

Published: 20 MAR 2018 10:54AM

Words by Mei Ling | Staff Writer

RESEARCHERS at the Universities of Bristol, Minnesota, and Heidelberg devised a series of games to find out which factors lead to cooperative behaviour when people interact in social and workplace situations.

Their findings, due to be published in the Journal of Political Economy, showed that people with a higher IQ displayed 'significantly higher' levels of cooperation, which in turn led to them earning more money as part of the game.

The failure of individuals with lower intelligence to appropriately follow a consistent strategy and estimate the future consequences of their actions accounted for these different outcomes.

Whilst processing a high IQ may seem like an obvious advantage when it comes to being successful, many people still believe they can get by on their charming personality alone, or by being nice.

"People might naturally presume that people who are nice, conscientious and generous are automatically more cooperative. But, through our research, we find overwhelming support for the idea that intelligence is the primary condition for a socially cohesive, cooperative society. A good heart and good behaviour have an effect too but it's transitory and small."

These findings shouldn't really be a surprise to the majority of people, especially when you take a look at your average colleague sitting next to you. There's nothing wrong with sitting down and getting the job done, but we all know people that progress are those that are constantly analyzing their environment and looking for new ways to improve and get ahead in life.

"An additional benefit of higher intelligence in our experiment, and likely in real life, is the ability to process information faster, hence to accumulate more extensive experience, and to learn from it. This scenario can be applied to the workplace, where it’s likely that intelligent people who see the bigger picture and work cooperatively, will ultimately be promoted and financially rewarded." - Professor Eugenio Proto

Media Resource://cesifo1_wp6121.pdf


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