On February 16, 2012 the CBC reported “Research has shown … sitting in administrative meetings actually reduces IQ.” As someone who goes to many meetings, often long and rambling ones, my interest was piqued.
Research conducted at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found that small-group dynamics such as senior administrative meetings, jury deliberations, and collective bargaining sessions can alter the expression of IQ in some people—worse for women. We all may joke about how committee meetings make us feel tired and brain dead, but Virginia Tech researchers found that they may actually turn us into zombies.
The scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate how the brain processes information about social status in small groups and how perceptions of that status affect expressions of cognitive capacity.
The only other study on how conditions at meetings can diminish brain power I could find was a paper given last year at the Ig Nobel Awards for research “that makes people laugh—then think.” Entitled, The effect of acute increase in urge to void on cognitive function in healthy adults , it suggested (tongue in cheek) all that knee crossing and bladder stretching discomfort appears to further erode our already diminished cognitive capacity.
I haven’t found the evidence yet but I think watching PowerPoint slides may also reduce IQ. Anecdotally it probably does but it would be difficult to rely on the research results because the meeting participants’ IQ would already be reduced—just another nail in the meeting coffin.