I heard a story on NPR this morning about why managers have a hard time accepting creative ideas from their subordinates. Recent research suggests it’s not that managers inherently dislike ideas from people working below them, but rather that it is the proximity of those workers that causes the problem. Researches from the University of San Diego found that people tend to look on ideas that originate close to them with more scrutiny. They tend to think that ideas that originate close to them are less viable than those that originate at a distance.
The explanation the researches developed is fascinating. They believe that our mind is more critical of things that originate near us because of our spatial perception. We see more detail in things that are near, and the more detail we see, the more likely we are to perceive problems. Conversely, things that are far away are less detailed and more abstract, and our mind tends to be less critical.
Even as I was listening to the story I was saying “Aha!!!” I am constantly hearing from artists that they have a very hard time finding local representation in galleries. You would think that being local would be an advantage, but galleries don’t seem to behave as if it is. Could this research help explain this phenomenon?