Saturday 22 October 2016

Want to be more charismatic? Science finds out how

It doesn't matter how smart you are - as long as you're quick

Adam Boult

Published 07/12/2015 | 07:05

George Clooney: buckets of charisma
George Clooney: buckets of charisma

Want people to think you're charismatic? Then think fast - and don't worry too much about accuracy.

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According to a new study by researchers at the University of Queensland, an ability to think, and act, quickly plays a vital part in determining the level of charisma you're perceived as having.

“Our findings show that social intelligence is more than just knowing the right thing to do,” said research lead Dr. William von Hippel. “Social intelligence also requires an ability to execute, and the quickness of our mind is an important component of that ability.”

“We decided to take a slightly different approach to the problem by trying to get a handle on what enables charisma. When we looked at charismatic leaders, musicians, and other public figures, one thing that stood out is that they are quick on their feet.”

 Participants in the study were assessed by their friends to determine how “charismatic” “funny,” or “quick-witted” they were. Researchers then measured their mental speed by giving then 30 general knowledge questions and asking them to answer as quickly as possible. A second study asked them to complete a number of timed patern recognition tasks.

Scientists found that those who completed the mental speed tasks more quickly were perceived by their friends as having more charisma.

Von Hippel said: "Although we expected mental speed to predict charisma, we thought that it would be less important than IQ. Instead, we found that how smart people were was less important than how quick they were. So knowing the right answer to a tough question appears to be less important than being able to consider a large number of social responses in a brief window of time.”

Researchers suggested that mental speed may make it easier to mask inappropriate reactions and make humorous associations.

They also noted that mental speed did not predict other social skills, such as interpreting others’ feelings or handling conflict well.

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