Get yer hands offa my corner piece

Here’s the latest way to explore your personality: Work on a jigsaw puzzle with someone else. Scientists at the University of Bath studied people as they collaboratively worked on jigsaw puzzles, and categorized them into two styles. As the BBC reports:

The researchers found that ‘border obsessives’ focus exclusively on sorting through the entire stock of pieces for the sole purpose of completing the border before concentrating on the rest of the puzzle.

‘Opportunists’, in contrast, are much more creative in their approach, sorting piles on more complex criteria and completing the puzzle using a range of different methods, such as from the top of the picture down to the bottom, or by concentrating on a major component of the picture depending on the pieces they pick up.

Opportunists fared better when completing a jigsaw alone. Border obsessives tended to dominate in groups by controlling decisions and behaviour.

(Thanks to Brian for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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