15 June 2009

More on Hawthorne

Tim Harford picks up the reassessment of the Hawthorne effect.

He also dishes the dirt on another social science myth: that people are separated by only six degrees (or connections). The original study behind this claim, conducted by Milgram in the 1960s involved giving letters addressed to a recipient in Boston to people in different parts of the world, and asking them to get the letters to the intended address, using only connections with whom they were on first-name terms. In all 40 letter were given out and some did, indeed, reach the address via six interim connections. But only 3. The rest failed to arrive at all.

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