futuristic touchscreen concept


Are you wondering whether to invest in the Google Glass or another technology breakthrough? If you’re in business and want to be perceived as a leader, new research from Vanderbilt University suggests you might as well go for it.

“Familiarity with and usage of new high-tech products appears to be a common manifestation of innovative behavior,” write Steve Hoeffler of Vanderbilt and Stacy Wood of North Carolina State University. “Those who are tech savvy are also perceived as authoritative on other subjects and as leaders.”

Hoeffler is associate professor of marketing at Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Wood is Langdon Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Poole College of Management at North Carolina State College. Together they authored the paper “Looking Innovative: Exploring the Role of Impression Management in High-Tech Product Adoption and Use,” published by The Journal of Product Innovation Management.

For one part of the study, interviews were taped using actors who were categorized by their appearance and other factors.

“We taped them once where they took down a note using an old-fashioned calendar, then did another one where they whipped out an electronic calendar and did it that way,” he said.

Steve Hoeffler

Steve Hoeffler (Vanderbilt University)

When test subjects viewed the interviews, they overwhelmingly viewed the actors using the electronic calendars as being more authoritative.

Another part of the study used resumes which were all similar except for hobbies, which were varied to signal whether the subjects were high tech or not. Again, the high-tech candidates came out ahead.

In the trials, women who used technological gadgets benefited more than their male counterparts.

“This finding runs counter to the backlash effect typically found in impression management research in business settings,” Hoeffler and Wood write. “Female job evaluations typically suffer after engaging in the same self-promoting impression management strategies that benefit their male counterparts.”

Actually being able to operate the devices really isn’t all that important, provided you know enough to look reasonably competent, Hoeffler said.

“Just possession is 90 percent of the game,” he said. “And there are maybe 10 percent of situations where you have to display the ability to use it.”

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VUCast: Fossil Finds: See what ancient finds these kids are digging up!: In this VUcast: · See what ancient finds these kids are digging up · Hear the major progress in Parkinson’s research http://ift.tt/1eQThh5 · Throwback Video! See Johnny Cash’s connection to Vanderbilt! http://ift.tt/1paaZpA All this and more in the latest VUCast, Vanderbilt’s online newscast. Watch now. To learn more about Vanderbilt, visit http://ift.tt/xYVGbE.

The Adventures of Henry Thoreau: A Young Man’s Unlikely Path to Walden Pond,: Michael Sims reads from his new book, The Adventures of Henry Thoreau: A Young Man’s Unlikely Path to Walden Pond, April 11 at Vanderbilt University’s Central Library. Sims’ books include The Story of Charlotte’s Web and Adam’s Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, To learn more about Vanderbilt, visit http://ift.tt/xYVGbE.

Changing the Story: The Evolution of Media in Print, on Television and the Internet: Willie Geist, David Plotz and Nick Thompson — three noted journalists and pioneers of new media — discuss the state and future of their profession April 11 at the First Amendment Center. John Seigenthaler of the First Amendment Center moderates. To learn more about Vanderbilt, visit http://ift.tt/xYVGbE.

An innovative method of financing college loans advocated by a professor at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management has support in Congress.

Under Income Share Agreements (ISAs), investors finance a student’s education in exchange for a percentage of the student’s income after graduation for a fixed number of years.

Palacios (Vanderbilt)

“An ISA has students pay more if they are successful in exchange for paying less if their educational investment does not pan out,” writes Miguel Palacios in a report for the American Enterprise Institute.

“In addition, because ISA investors earn a profit only when a student is successful, they offer students better terms for programs that are expected to be of high value and have strong incentives to support students both during school and after graduation.”

Palacios’ co-author is Tonio DeSorrento, deputy general counsel of Social Finance, Inc. Palacios, assistant professor of finance at Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt, is co-founder of Lumni, a company that has used ISAs to help students finance their educations in multiple Latin American countries and the United States.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., are partnering to champion the ISA concept in Congress. Rubio plans to introduce legislation that would give students and parents more information about the performance of graduates of various institutions and programs. That data would help companies and individuals make more informed ISAs.

An ISA would eliminate problems that have become cumbersome under the federal student loan programs that many students utilize to finance their educations, Palacios said.

“Because they are available to students with virtually no assessment of the students’ ability to repay, federal loans likely exacerbate problems with overborrowing, putting students and taxpayers at risk and contributing to tuition inflation,” Palacios said.

Palacios suggests several steps for lawmakers to promote ISAs:

  • Provide legal clarity regarding the treatment of ISA contracts.
  • Put reasonable loan limits in place to curb unlimited borrowing through the federal program.
  • Modify the federal student loan program to simplify the repayment process and allow it to be paired with ISAs.
  • Allow for the collection and dissemination of data on labor market outcomes of graduates from different institutions and fields of study.
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The Neuroscience of Learning and Memory: In this April 11 class, Jeanette Norden, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Emerita, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, explores “What Modern Neuroscience Reveals About What Memory Is And Isn’t.” These lectures will provide the foundation information necessary to the understanding of the lectures which will follow. A special emphasis will be given to systems in the brain that underlie learning and memory, attention and awareness. These introductory lectures will be followed by a lecture on how different areas of the brain encode different, specific types of information—from the phone number we need only remember for a few minutes or less to the childhood memories we retain for a lifetime. We will also address the “mistakes of memory” which give insight as to how the brain actually encodes our life experiences. The last group of lectures in this series will focus on the many clinical conditions that can affect different types of learning and memory. Lastly, we will focus our discussion on the accumulating evidence that aging need not be associated with significant memory loss. We will discuss advancements in neuroscience that indicate ways to keep your brain healthy as you age. To learn more about Vanderbilt, visit http://ift.tt/xYVGbE.

Vanderbilt University Traveling Fellows Reunion — 50 years: For 50 years Vanderbilt University has offered a fellowship for a graduating senior. This Fellowship helps fund a 1-year sabbatical for a new alum to travel in pursuit of an idea or the answer to a question. In the fall 2013, 17 of the Fellows gathered at Vanderbilt to discuss both the value and the future of the Fellowship. This video briefly documents some of the discussion that took place over two days. The Keegan Fellows are planning a 50-year Reunion celebration at Homecoming/Reunion 2014 and look forward to input from all alumni Fellows as the program moves forward. To learn more about Vanderbilt, visit http://ift.tt/xYVGbE.