Behavioral Economics Essential Reads

The Bonus Effect

By Alfie Kohn on September 27, 2016 in The Homework Myth
If you're told "Do this, and you'll get that," you're likely to become less interested in "this" -- and more interested in "that." Especially if "that" turns out to be money.

Making Better Medical Decisions

By Haider Warraich M.D. on September 26, 2016 in On Modern Medicine
Modern healthcare can come with a dizzying array of options, many of which could mean different destinations.

Should You Quit Your Job When You Start a New Business?

What entrepreneurship research says about working in your startup part-time vs. full-time.

Trying to Explain the Inexplicable

By Gary Smith Ph.D. on September 23, 2016 in What the Luck?
We are tempted to look for psychological explanations for successes and failures, when the more convincing explanation is simply that people get lucky—and luck is fleeting.

Are Men Attracted to Clever Women?

By Robert Burriss Ph.D. on September 22, 2016 in Attraction, Evolved
The claim that men are intimidated by clever women has been backed by the results of a new study of speed-dating by Polish economists.

Women’s Right to Say YES to Sexuality

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on September 21, 2016 in In the Name of Love
Women’s sexual right to say “yes” should be respected, including their right to freely shape their sexual performances, without incurring any social or emotional censure.

How To Minimize Drama

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 16, 2016 in Ambigamy
Drama is a drag on any relationship, but what is it and how does it arise? Here's a roadmap with the pitfalls marked so you can avoid them.

How Scientists, Too, Can Be Stubborn and Wrong

Ever been troubled by a reversal in scientific opinion? Psychological biases may be part of the problem.

Why Is the Backward Research Method So Effective?

It forces up-front thinking about use of research results and required data, and removes guess-work on the researcher's part.

A Post-Racial America?

America in 2016 offers a sign post on the path from thousands of years of separation through centuries of conflict and exploitation towards a hopeful human family reunion.

Did Religion Evolve to Benefit the Weak or the Powerful?

Who benefits most from religion? You may think you know, but these three observations will make you reconsider.

Big Data Is Nudging You

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on August 30, 2016 in Consumed
Slow to hit the purchase button? Here’s how you may be nudged to buy.
By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

10 Ways Your Brain Keeps You From Maintaining Healthy Weight

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on August 25, 2016 in Science of Choice
Our cognitive biases lead to craving and overeating, and contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Should We Treat Business School Students Like Customers?

University professors and administrators should be customer-oriented, but we should not treat students like customers.
Catalina Toma

When You Can Date Everyone, Can You Be Happy With Anyone?

By Catalina Toma Ph.D. on August 21, 2016 in Virtual You
Does having more options affect online daters’ evaluation of their potential partner?

Increase Funding for Mental Illness Now

The time has come to declare war on mental illness and place a priority on funding innovative neurobiological research for better prevention, diagnosis, and early intervention.

Is Empty Nest a Myth?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on August 16, 2016 in Singletons
Is sending your child off to college as emotionally draining and stressful as having a newborn or raising a child during the middle school years? What new research tells us.

Who Deserves the Right to Choose Green?

By Michele Wick Ph.D. on August 16, 2016 in Anthropocene Mind
People who earned their income, as opposed to receiving welfare, were deemed more deserving of the right to spend extra cash to cool the planet.

Who Are Psychology's Geniuses? Part 2

I offer a few more nominations for psychologists whose contributions deserve to be called ingenious, and some analysis of what makes them stand out. See if you agree.

How Will the "Endowment Effect" Affect You?

Want to lessen this economic bias? A little experience goes a long way!

A Nation Advances on Its Stomach

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on July 27, 2016 in The Human Beast
Napoleon said that an army marches on its stomach. Now, economists conclude that how well fed a nation is drives the economy.

Specific Commitments Can Change Behavior

By Art Markman Ph.D. on July 26, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
Psychology has learned a lot in experimental studies about how to change behavior. Will that work in the real world?

The Role of 'One-Sided Sex' in Relationships

Peace-inducing sex is one-sided sex intended to maintain industrial peace within one’s relationship. Is it beneficial? Yes and no.

Are You Your Millennial Child’s New Spouse?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on July 18, 2016 in Singletons
More young adults are moving home than are getting married or living on their own. Here are 6 ways to the smooth transition.

Crowding Out Virtue

By Samuel Bowles on July 14, 2016 in The Moral Economy
Monetary rewards are proposed to promote everything from losing weight to reading books. But an experiment with villagers in Colombia shows that incentives can backfire.

Stuart Smalley Was Wrong

By Sarah C. Newcomb Ph.D. on July 12, 2016 in Loaded
Can affirmations help you avoid over-spending? The right way to affirm yourself for better self-control.

Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes With Their Money: Part 1

Are your beliefs about the stock market costing you money?

Do Misspelled Menus Matter?

By William Poundstone on July 12, 2016 in Head in the Cloud
Has texting made proper spelling obsolete? A survey shows that spelling and grammar really don't matter on menus.

Does It Matter Whether You Pay With Cash Or A Credit Card?

Research shows that pain of spending affects shopper behavior.

Why Do People Buy Guns? A Behavioral Economics Perspective

Emphasizing the prevalence of guns in America (as gun control advocates often do) might lead people to buy more guns. I use behavioral economics to explain why.