ILLUSTRATION: STEVEN VEACH

WOMEN SPEAK UP less than men in situations in which decisions are made by majority vote. That’s the finding by Princeton politics professor Tali Mendelberg and Brigham Young University researchers, who studied the decision-making process in 94 groups with different male-to-female ratios. They found that women speak 75 percent less than men when they are outnumbered in a setting where a majority vote is used. The disparity disappeared when the group made decisions by consensus. American Political Science Review published the findings in September.

Based on a course he taught to freshmen, engineering professor emeritus James Wei’s “Great Inventions that Changed the World” (Wiley) shows how TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGHS have ushered  in new eras in human history. Stone axes inaugurated tool use; the Internet connects the planet  by communications. A ­torrent of new inventions is required if our children are to enjoy our high ­standard of living, Wei argues.

In “TONI MORRISON: Writing the Moral Imagination” (Wiley-Blackwell), Dean of the College Valerie Smith briefly reviews the output of the famous novelist and Princeton professor emerita. Smith shows how Morrison’s writing, both fiction and nonfiction, has been designed to fight racism, sexism, classism, “and other ideologies of repression,” a goal shared by works as disparate as “Beloved” and “Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination.”