Why Some People Don’t Speak Up in Small Groups – WSJ.com

Group dynamics! The killer for many would be speakers and reduces significantly efficiency of brainstorm sessions. The way out is to treat brainstorming as a process rather than a single meeting: asking group members to read and prepare before the meeting; asking feedback after the meeting; do not come up with solid conclusions during or at the end of meetings. 

Have you ever clammed up at a party or found yourself tongue-tied at a meeting for fear of saying something stupid—even though you consider yourself at least as smart as anyone else in the room?

If we think others in a group are smarter, we may become dumber, temporarily losing both our problem-solving ability and what the researchers call our “expression of IQ.”

The clamming-up phenomenon seems to be more common in women and in people with higher IQs, according to the report, published in January in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Initially, all the brain scans showed spikes in activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain that registers fear and processes emotion. But after answering 10 or so questions, 13 subjects recovered and ended up with scores that were closer to their initial performance. Meanwhile, 14 didn’t recover.

As they saw their rankings go down, they seemed to panic, and they answered more questions incorrectly.

The low-performers were more attuned to group social dynamics, subconsciously worrying about their performance and evaluating themselves in relation to others, the researchers speculate.

Two primary factors influence how we behave in a group: personality and position

If you are quiet in a group setting, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are shy, but it does mean you might be an introvert.

Introverts prefer to collect their thoughts before speaking and can be overwhelmed in a group, especially of extraverts, who tend to “think out loud” and process information by speaking.

via Virginia Tech Carilion Research Explains Why Some People Don’t Speak Up in Small Groups – WSJ.com.

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