Why do we often think we know what we want, only to be disappointed with our purchases and choices? Behavioral economics shows just how irrational humans can be. Here's insight into the surprising ways in which our emotions and thought patterns guide us toward predictable economic decisions.

Recent posts on Behavioral Economics

A Nobel Nod to the Irrational

By Michael F. Kay on October 19, 2017 in Financial Life Focus
The University of Chicago’s Professor Richard Thaler walked off with the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work researching Behavior Finance.

10 Ways to Deal with Mom-Shaming

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on October 17, 2017 in Singletons
A new poll finds a majority of moms feel judged. Learn how to handle criticism and have confidence in your parenting decisions.

Choosing a Romantic Partner

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on October 17, 2017 in In the Name of Love
It is mistaken to hold that keeping all romantic options open cannot be bad, as you can always select the best. There is a cost to this and too much of a good thing can be harmful.

Confirmation Bias: Why You Make Terrible Life Choices

By Nir Eyal on October 17, 2017 in Automatic You
Confirmation bias is a cognitive shortcut that can lead to some pretty horrendous decisions. Here's how to recognize and overcome it in your life.

Self-Obsessed but Not Introspective? How Does That Work?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 13, 2017 in Ambigamy
There's a difference between knowing yourself patly and wondering about yourself. The former is more fun, and more dangerous.

Getting Sentimental Could Increase Your Savings

By Brad Klontz Psy.D., CFP on October 12, 2017 in Mind Over Money
How can we harness positive, emotionally charged memories to develop a deeper incentive for saving?

Does Cutting Taxes Sap Productivity?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on October 12, 2017 in The Human Beast
The bigger the government, the more productive the workers.

Neither Free Will Nor Determinism

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 10, 2017 in Ambigamy
We haven't resolved the free-will debate because we don't know what will is. Here's an explanation from will's origins in chemistry with intuitive implications for your own life.
By Nguyen Thanh Long (Flickr: So what do you want now?) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I Want It Now!

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on October 10, 2017 in Science of Choice
The more we disregard our longer-term interests in favor of immediate gratification, the more likely that we will have a range of behavioral problems, including addiction.

Machiavellian Marketers

Bad marketing sometimes snares the gullible, but most of us are savvy enough to avoid cons such as “eat all you want and still lose weight!” It’s the good marketing that lures us.

Corking 45

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 09, 2017 in Ambigamy
Trump is going nowhere until he's humiliated to his face.

Mental Accounting and Self-Control

By Art Markman Ph.D. on October 09, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago. His work explores strategies people use for making choices.

Can Unethical Customer Behavior Benefit Others?

Lawful yet unethical behaviors of customers can have positive effects and it raises interesting questions.

What David and Goliath Teach Entrepreneurs About Winning

By Chengwei Liu Ph.D. on October 03, 2017 in Decisions Defined
What the David and Goliath story teaches entrepreneurs about beating incumbents? Do not copy their "best practices." Instead, exploiting their predictable blind spots.

Exorcise the Devil-vs.-Angel Analogy From Health Behaviors

Deciding what to eat for lunch isn't a battle between good and evil. It's just a choice. We can learn a lot by treating it as one.

Good Ways to Deal with Bad Bosses

By Victor Lipman on October 02, 2017 in Mind of the Manager
A bad boss can make a good job a misery. Here are five constructive ways to help your career by "managing your own management."

A Psycho-Proctologist Speaks: What Makes an Ass an Ass?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in Ambigamy
Psycho-proctology, the study of what makes an ass, focuses on the question of our age: What do Trump, Kim Jong Un, Putin, Stalin, trolls & your jerk ex-partner all have in common?

Hillbilly Elegy

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in Excellent Beauty
Psychological science could help alleviate or even end poverty. Clearly the United States won't pursue this, but perhaps some other country will, eventually.
Sarah Loreth/Flickr

How Much Should You Care About Your Future? It Depends.

By Rob Henderson on September 28, 2017 in After Service
How do you care about your future self? The answer will surprise you.

How Long Does Public Empathy Last After a Natural Disaster?

By Utpal Dholakia on September 24, 2017 in The Science Behind Behavior
The empathy of bystanders peaks quickly, and within a few weeks, it has abated to baseline levels.

How Brands Addict Us

By Douglas Van Praet on September 24, 2017 in Unconscious Branding
Brands are built to let you down and leave you wanting more

Anxiety Is a Leadership Tool

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on September 24, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
Since leaders use anxiety as a tool to motivate and control their followers, train yourself to recognize anxiety cues.

Born Good?

Economists, taking altruism seriously, find mixed evidence parents model it for their young children, stronger evidence that young kids are impressionable in this domain.

Authentic or Disingenuous?

By Harold Sigall Ph.D. on September 19, 2017 in Wishful Thoughts
How are you deciding whether others are sincere? Are you being misled?

De-crazifying Crypto, Part II: An Open Letter to Wall Street

By Moses Ma on September 19, 2017 in The Tao of Innovation
Bitcoin may end up a bubble, but the total market cap for all blockchain ventures in a decade could be in the hundreds of billions. So focus on blockchains, not bitcoins.
Chengwei Liu

The Winner Shouldn't Take It All

By Chengwei Liu Ph.D. on September 18, 2017 in Decisions Defined
The winner shouldn't take it all because many of them are simply the luckiest.

iPhone X: Yes Or No?

By Susan Weinschenk Ph.D. on September 16, 2017 in Brain Wise
Whether or not you buy the new iPhone X depends in part on whether you are making a habit based decision or a value based decision.

Changes in Coverage Threaten Mental Health Parity

Children with mental illness require regular monitoring and behavior management. Now, insurance companies and legislation threaten equitable access to mental health treatment.
By Martin Ransohoff (http://web.poptower.com/tyrel-ventura.htm) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Explaining Delusional Thinking

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on September 15, 2017 in Science of Choice
The dual-process framework of decision-making can provide some insights into the theory of delusional belief.

The Shrinking Breast Fashion

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on September 14, 2017 in The Human Beast
Women seeking breast augmentation are opting for smaller sizes than previously. Why the change?