Mental Accounting and Self-Control

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.

How Personality Changes in Teens

A new study explores how traits shift and stabilize over time.

Using Big Data to Study Psychology

There is a lot of discussion about the value of big data for companies. Can big data help science as well?

The True Self

What does it mean to believe that there is a "true self" inside of everyone?

Gender Differences Among Adults in Business School

Over the last several decades there has been concern about gender differences in performance in school in a variety of topics. What about school performance of adults?

The Pitfalls of Popularizing New Science

I believe that it is important for scientists to popularize psychology. At the same time, I think that there are real dangers in popularizing science.

Labels Make Explanations Seem Better

Nouns are interesting. They can have a significant effect on the way people evaluate explanations.

Are Simple Behavioral Interventions Cost Effective?

Governments, nonprofits, and companies all try to influence people’s behavior. They do that in lots of ways. How should behavioral science play a role in this influence?

Why Do Stories of Change Inspire?

A staple of self-help groups is that people who have been through addiction and alcoholism tell stories of their journey. Why are those stories inspiring?

Death May Be More Positive for the Dying Than We Expect

It seems straightforward to say that death is scary and bad. Many people express that they have a fear of death. Do people nearing death express lots of fear and anxiety?

The Impact of Vocational Interests on Life

There are many characteristics of people that affect the choices they make in life. We often focus on personality traits. But what about interests in work?

Keeping Secrets Is Bad for You. This Is Why.

It seems obvious that keeping secrets is bad for you. It may also seem obvious why secrets are bad for your well-being. You're probably wrong about that.

Self-Concept Influences the Tendency To Network

The phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters” has become a cliché, because it is true. What affects people's tendency to build their network?

Humor Sometimes Makes Stressful Situations Better

Jokes and witty conversation can make you feel closer to the people around you. Is this how humor helps with stress?

Moral Beliefs Affect Liking for Other Groups

It is unsurprising that we like people who believe what we do. Does any difference in moral values decrease how much time we want to spend with them?

Seeing Things from Another's Perspective Creates Empathy

Often, when you have a difference in opinion with someone else, you are encouraged to “see the world from their perspective.” What does that mean?

Portion Sizes and Sugary Drinks

There is a growing consensus that high doses of sugar can cause serious health problems. Can policies aimed to curb consumption of sugary drinks actually work?

Anger and Disgust at Moral Violations

When people respond to immoral acts, they often respond with anger or disgust. Does that mean that these two emotions are really two sides of the same coin?

Do Collisions Make Young Drivers Safer?

I have three kids, and over the years, I have seen each of them get a driver’s license and go out on their own. I worried when they took off in their cars.

Why Do People Still Think Pluto Is a Planet?

When I was growing up, the list of planets in our solar system included a small planet far from the Sun called Pluto. Then, things changed.

Familiar Stories Are Often Liked Better than New Ones

Blockbuster season at the movies is upon us again. And when we look at the slate of movies coming out, there is the usual collection of sequels.

Helping Other People With Their Problems Helps You Too

When you experience sadness, anxiety, or depression, it is helpful to reach out to other people for help. Why does this help?

My Speech at the Austin March for Science

On April 22, 2017, Marches for Science were held all over the United States. I was given the chance to speak at the march that was held in Austin, Texas. Here are my remarks.

Note to Self: It Is Easiest to Avoid Abstract Temptations

Which would you rather have, a dessert or a mouthwatering warm chocolate chip cookie?

People Know Their Errors in Duration Estimates

There are many situations in which we must learn to respond at a particular time. What information does the brain have to make this happen?

To Reach Your Goals, Like What You Do

One of the hardest tradeoffs for people to make is between what they desire to do in the short-term versus what they want for themselves in the long-term.

What Happens When You Lie by Telling the Truth?

Deception is a common activity among people. There are many ways to do it, and they have different influences on ourselves and other people.

Cracking a Joke At Work Can Have a Surprising Payoff

Humor is common in the workplace. Does it make help people to achieve their goals at work?

Lack of Sleep Leads to Harsher Punishments

There are lots of benefits for getting good sleep. How does it affect the way you judge other people?

Pleasurable Activities Can Reduce Fear After Disasters

Although disasters are common (there are about 650 reported disasters a year), there is little research on how people deal psychologically with disasters they experience.