Essential Reads

The Advantage of Quitting

The sunk cost fallacy

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

10 Ways to Be Less Reactive in Difficult Situations

The Scarcity Mindset

How does being poor change the way we feel and think?

How New Payment Technology Can Manipulate You

Can you resist paying the 'suggested' tip?

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends

How does your Friendship Quotient measure up? Here are 13 key personal traits that strongly influence friendship quality.

Be A Selectrician, Wiring Yourself For Sound Growth

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 20, 2015 in Ambigamy
We are creatures of our environments. Do what you can to wire up your environment so it grows you in the directions you want to grow.

The Politics of Pizza

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on March 20, 2015 in Hidden Motives
We think of pizza by the slice, sometimes a whole pie, so we haven’t noticed how big an industry it has become. But Big Pizza is as big as virtually anything else in our economy – and as political.

Mistat: How the other guy becomes the one who started it

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 19, 2015 in Ambigamy
It's popularly understood that game theory suggests that tit for tat is a common, appropriate strategy. If you're attacked, attack back. But this simple version of game theory overlooks a human problem with tit for tat: Often an attack is ambiguous. We mistake an innocuous move as an attack and tat when we haven't been titted.

Playing to Win

Conventional wisdom about making better judgments and decisions consists of methods for reducing biases and errors. But this is a defensive strategy, playing not to lose. We can do better. By trying to foster insights and discoveries, we can play to win.

New Study Suggests Key to Managing Millennials

By Victor Lipman on March 17, 2015 in Mind of the Manager
Research indicates the answer lies in one word: coaching.

Sometimes It Is Better to Have No Alternatives

By Art Markman Ph.D. on March 17, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
When people are negotiating, they generally feel more comfortable when they have a back up offer. It is common to hear people say, “Worst case scenario, at least I have…”

Are Patients Harmed When Doctors Explain Things too Simply?

By Peter A. Ubel on March 17, 2015 in Critical Decisions
Sometimes fast-thinking is not so good. Which raises an interesting question for physicians trying to help patients navigate important medical decisions: Will they harm patients by explaining things so simply that patients make fast, erroneous choices?

3 Reasons You (or Someone You Know) Crave the Apple Watch

If you've found yourself craving an Apple Watch (even though you don't think you really need one), you're not alone. Here are three insights about how Apple has tapped into our psychology to create desire.

5 Ways to Motivate and Encourage Seniors

Caring for, and having successful relationships with older adults often require unique interpersonal skills and strategies.

The Psychology of Online Customization

The decision to buy a customized product is mediated by a number of unconscious factors that shape the customers’ final decision.

Why Many Rich People Are Frugal

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on March 06, 2015 in How To Do Life
The unusual mindset of many rich people...and why you might want to adopt it.

Tips for Sharing Bad News

By Kerry Patterson on March 06, 2015 in Crucial Conversations
Giving bad news to others can be troublesome—particularly when the person you’re giving the bad news to holds you responsible—and you’re not. Here's how to share bad news the right way.

Abundance, Inequality, Needs, and Privilege

I am immensely curious to understand the obstacles to having gift economy experiences be the norm rather than the exception. In this post, I am writing about one piece of this huge puzzle that fell into place for me: why the idea of “deserving” might have come into existence, and how it’s related to the difficulties in establishing gifting and collaboration.

The Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in Ambigamy
Knowledge is knowing; Wisdom is wondering still. Those who stay wise have high Returns On Divestment, experience getting a good payoff from changing their minds.

Negative Interest

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in Hidden Motives
This is odd: “about $3 trillion of assets in Europe and Japan … now have negative interest rates.”

Why You Need to Unplug for 24 Hours

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on March 04, 2015 in Singletons
Everyone from your boss to your child’s teachers expects you to be connected and be reachable 24/7. What a relief it can be to unplug for one day and not be at the mercy of your “screens.” What happens when you unplug for a whole day?

Q & A with R. Thaler on What It Really Means to Be a "Nudge"

By Peter A. Ubel on March 04, 2015 in Critical Decisions
Nudge is one of the most important and influential books on behavioral science and public policy I’ve ever read.

Employers Trust Single Lesbians and Married Straight Women

Marital status, gender, and sexual orientation biases do effect hiring decisions—but not necessarily in the ways you'd expect.

8 Warning Signs Your Lover is a Narcissist

The Mayo Clinic research group defines narcissistic personality disorder as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration." How do you know when your romantic partner may be a narcissist? Here are eight telltale signs...

Why We are all More Rational than Mr. Spock

By Eyal Winter on February 28, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Mr. Spock, Emotions, Super Rationality, Leonard Nimoy

Should We Fan the Romantic Flame?

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in In the Name of Love
All human experiences, including romantic ones, can be boring. The remedy for boredom is often change and novelty. Should we then change our romantic partners in order to fan our romantic flames? Although change is indeed essential to emotional intensity, there are several types of changes, and emotional intensity is far from being the whole story when it comes to romance.

Heavy Shifting

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Consumed
Resolved to go to the gym? Now help us solve a common problem at the gym.

How New Payment Technology Can Manipulate You

By Nir Eyal on February 23, 2015 in Automatic You
Digital payment systems use subtle tactics to increase tips, and while it’s certainly good for hard-working service workers, it may not be so good for your wallet. Here's the hidden psychology of why you unconsciously pay more.

Banking Reform Comes Through the Back Door

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Hidden Motives
​After many high profile failures to reform banking, thwarted by the power of the banking lobby, including efforts to break up banks “too big to fail,” it now seems that a simple and obvious rule has made a significant difference.

8 Negative Attitudes of Chronically Unhappy People

All of us experience negative thoughts from time to time. How we manage our negative attitudes can make the difference between confidence versus fear, hope versus despair, mastery versus victimhood, and victory versus defeat. Here are eight negative attitudes of chronically unhappy people...

Real Affluence

By Michael F. Kay on February 19, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
We confuse Time and Money and what we truly value.

Are Commercials More Deceptive Than Ever?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 19, 2015 in How To Do Life
Advertising’s new efforts to manipulate us require us to be savvier.

Conflicting Goals Can Make You a Better Decision Maker

By Art Markman Ph.D. on February 18, 2015 in Ulterior Motives
We tend to think of conflict as the enemy of good decision making. But, it turns out that when people have two conflicting goals that they are grappling with, they are likely to think carefully about choices in order to resolve the conflict.

Neoliberalism Viewed From the Couch

By Diogo Gonçalves on February 18, 2015 in There Are Free Lunches
Paul Verhaeghe is a psychoanalyst and writer. That wouldn’t make him exceptionally different from other psychotherapists if his last book wasn’t about Economics, but it is. Economics? Well, to be more precise, the book is about the current western socio-economic system—Neo-liberalism—and the effect it is having on our minds and bodies.