Behavioral Economics Essential Reads

What's The Difference Between Rationality And Rationalizing?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Ambigamy
We toss around rational and rationalize as though we know the obvious objective difference between them when actually, it's a little more complicated than that.

Is Virtual Virtue a Virtue or a Vice?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 Ambigamy
If you're a little troubled by the lightweight gesture of simply Praying for Paris, Je suis Charlie, or just clicking to superimpose the French Flag on our Facebook pictures, you're tapping into an old concern, whether little gestures are empty or useful.

The Link Between the Refugee Crisis and Climate Change Talks

Although it may not seem likely at first glance, many crises share a common source in human decision-making biases. Whether it is the refugee crisis, climate change or another crisis, the barriers formed by a preference for short-term gains and the status quo are hard to overcome.

Why the Freelance Economy Is a Social Tragedy in the Making

By Victor Lipman on November 12, 2015 Mind of the Manager
The Social Contract is dead. We're becoming a nation of freelancers. Corporate profits are very high and retirement prospects very low.

Why Try to Change Me Now?

It is commonly assumed that we love someone even though we know his flaws—as love is essentially not about the partner’s characteristics, but about the lover’s attitude. Accordingly, it is not fruitful to try to change the partner’s characteristics; it is the lover’s attitude that needs to change. There is some grain of truth in this view, but the story is more complex.

3 Ways to Enjoy (Pretty Much) Any Experience More

How to enliven our jaded palates and increase relish in our activities using simple methods.

Why Doesn’t Increased Wealth Always Make Countries Happier?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 09, 2015 Ulterior Motives
The United States seems to exist in a state of perpetual political campaign these days. Politicians play on people’s dissatisfaction and unhappiness as they talk about why they will be able to make things better. The hidden assumption of this work is that if the economy improves, people will be happier.

Loss Aversion and Romance

By Eyal Winter on November 07, 2015 Feeling Smart
Lazy and disheveled ranks as top deal breaker.

The Fallacy of Pavlov's Dog

Instead of training our employees (and spouses and children) to salivate on-command, we should be instilling them with the principles of total motivation.

Does the Thought of Money Make Us Dishonest?

By Peter A. Ubel M.D. on November 05, 2015 Scientocracy
Our moral backbones are often quite pliable, bending to the social norms of things like our workplace.

Can a Celebrity Endorsement Hurt the Brand?

Celebrity endorsements are wildly popular among advertisers. If not used carefully, they can produce a "Vampire Effect" sucking the life-blood out of a brand.

How Not to Be a Jerk or a Wimp

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 01, 2015 Ambigamy
Based on broad reading in behavioral science and philosophy, here are some tips on how to tip yourself toward the middle ground between being over-assertive and over-accommodating.

Competing Against Another Group Makes Rivals Cooperate

By Art Markman Ph.D. on October 28, 2015 Ulterior Motives
An ancient proverb says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This proverb suggests that I may choose to cooperate with one of my rivals when I know that this cooperation will allow us to defeat a common enemy.

How Holiday Shopping Became a Moral Issue

Holiday shopping starts earlier every year and it's a hot-button issue between consumers. Here's what's going on in the minds of both early and late shoppers.

Will Social Media 'Hijack' Your Vote in 2016?

Facebook and other Internet companies have the power to influence your emotions. And that power could impact the results of the 2016 elections ... and you may never know it happened.

"Hey This Isn't A Competition And You Have Cooties So I Win"

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 25, 2015 Ambigamy
When we want to end arguments without admitting defeat we often accuse our opponents of having negative emotions which we treat as the equivalent of having cooties. Here's how it works and why its not just insulting to them but dangerous for us to end arguments this way.

5 Reasons We Don't Protect Our Privacy Online

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on October 21, 2015 Consumed
You are probably concerned about the privacy of your information online, but do you act accordingly? Here's why you may not.

How Much Are Your Shoes Really Costing You?

The sticker price of your shoes is only a small fraction of what they actually cost you. Asking the question "How much will I have to earn to pay for my shoes?" will often lead to a dramatically higher cost calculus.

Bribing Good Behavior

By Peter A. Ubel M.D. on October 19, 2015 Scientocracy
If $10 here and $20 there will cancel out some of these losses and improve these people’s health at the same time — I’m all for it.

10 Common Myths About Emotions

Emotion and reason are not competing forces but complementary processes that interact and influence each other.

Why Do Employees Most Often Quit?

By Victor Lipman on October 16, 2015 Mind of the Manager
A new survey offers insights and answers. Think autonomy, micromanagement, culture and relationships...

In Praise of Demotivation

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 11, 2015 Ambigamy
You can't be self-motivated to do new things without the power of self-demotivation to stop doing old things.

How All-You-Can-Eat Buffets Use Psychology to Make Money

All-you-can-eat buffets create the perception of providing variety and quality, but cleverly manipulate customers' choices and portion sizes.

Don’t Let Shame Weaken Your Retirement Plans

How can you get power to save for retirement? Retirement planning is possible. Three tips that will empower anyone to plan better without despair and shame.

4 Smart Ways to Save $10 on Your Next Grocery Shopping Trip

Use research from consumer psychology and marketing science to outwit grocery marketers & save money.

No, You Can’t Pick My Brain, But I’ll Talk to You Anyway

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on September 29, 2015 Give and Take
Why you might want to take that meeting

Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores in America?

The answer for the mushrooming of mattress stores lies in a combination of retail economics and the psychology of consumer decision making.

Spreading Coherence and Emotion

By Art Markman Ph.D. on September 16, 2015 Ulterior Motives
Going back to the 1950s, social and cognitive psychologists noticed that people’s beliefs tend to become more coherent over time. For example, a couple buying a house might initially notice both the positive and negative elements of that house. If they decide they are not going to buy that house, they may start to focus on the negatives rather than the positives.

3 Ways In Which Saving Money Can Help You Lose Weight

Most of us are good at controlling our actions in one domain but fail in others. In this article, I will explain reasons why self-restraint success is domain-specific for many of us and suggest three ways in which we can transfer our success in one area to other areas.

Is Online Dating a Good Way to Find Profound Love?

It is commonly agreed that online dating provides people with a larger pool of romantic candidates. However, it is not certain whether online dating is a better way to find long-term profound love than conventional offline dating is. This article suggests an answer to this question.