Essential Reads

How the Ownership of Something Increases Our Valuations

The psychological biases underlying why we hate to lose

Why Do We Misjudge Others

Projecting one’s own motives to others

A Crash Course on Gender Differences - Session 7

Men seek Younger, Physically Attractive; Women seek Professionally Successful

My Dad's Silly, Simple, Crazy Way to Make Decisions

How my mom's death revealed the genius in my dad's decision-making

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Could boosting trust help millions in the developing world to escape poverty? How a new experiment seeks answers.

What Really Inspires a Woman to Go Shopping?

When women perceive there to be competition for mating opportunities, they sexy up their wardrobe. Something as seemingly unrelated as the state of the economy may lead women to perceive that the pool of available, attractive men is smaller, and thus, the competition for those mates stronger.

The Briefcase Rule: Decisions Under Stress

Lack of self-control can make you sacrifice more, not less, for those close to you, according to a new study. This is helpful insight if you’re one of those harried folks who finds themselves always doing too much for others. Try using “The Briefcase Rule” to help avoid decision-making when self-control wanes.

Under/Overconfidence: It’s All About the Mindset

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on June 25, 2013 in Consumed
A change in mindset can turn underconfident women into realists and overconfident men into the über-confident.

Trust in Children

In this post we will tell you whether interpersonal trust increases of decreases during childhood.

Is Behavioral Economics the Death of Living Wills?

By Peter A. Ubel on June 21, 2013 in Critical Decisions
What does behavioral economics teach us about the role of living wills in medical care?

Decision and Illusion

Is making bad decisions like falling prey to a visual illusion? Prominent decision scientists see it that way, but their vision may be blurry.

Whistle-Blowers and the Ellsberg Paradox

Even if he had never leaked the ‘Pentagon Papers’, Daniel Ellsberg would still be famous – though much less so. In the news this week defending Edward Snowden for leaking classified NSA surveillance programs, Ellsberg is also the inventor of the Ellsberg Paradox...

The College Grad Comes Home

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on June 05, 2013 in Singletons
As your college grad settles in, consider the ways you can make living together again smooth sailing for all. Here, suggestions to avoid potential glitches and irksome problems.

Useful Tips for Buying Your Teen's First Car

Buying the right car for your teenager can prove to be a challenge. A lot of parents out there think it’s just about picking one and going with it. However, your teenager obviously doesn’t think like you.

Here are 7 apps for a happier life.

Think apps can't make you happy? Think again. Apps can do just about anything while you wait in line at the post office, from letting you play games to updating your expense records. Specifically, using financial apps allow you to be happier because you know how much money is coming in, and how much (and where) it's going out.

What Is the Best Way to Spend $100?

Separate studies run by, a project by San Francisco State University, and yielded the same list of desirable experiential purchases: traveling, dining and concerts are the most popular experiential purchases.

If You're Happy and You Know It Check Your Text

Using mobile technology is now a part of psychological research and you can use it to improve your happiness through improved spending choices—that is, unless you are already depressed.

Want A Deep Spiritual Path? Try Economics.

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 16, 2013 in Ambigamy
Economics as a science aims to be the value-neutral study of how value happens. Since all living things express values, economics is fundamental to all of the life and social sciences. Some say economics can't speak to transcendent values like love and spirituality. Here's an argument than it can--more honestly, humbly and wisely than other spiritual practices do.

A Professor Walks Into a MOOC…

By Peter McGraw Ph.D. on May 15, 2013 in The Humor Code
How funny is Dan Ariely?

Your Ethical Mindset

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 14, 2013 in Ulterior Motives
People’s ethical behavior is complicated. Sometimes, we act consistently. Other times, we do not. What factors drive us to maintain consistency in our ethical behavior?

Senza Piombo

Having gassed up with unleaded (senza piombo), I arrived in Bergamo to teach psychology. This post begins with a Neo-Freudian view on shame and blame and ends with notes from the road.

E = "Education and Ecstasy"

This article examines recent developments in brain science, such as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and brain plasticity in the context of emerging social media. It highlights the importance of theories in media psychology. The auther asserts the need for new graduate programs in media studies and media psychology.

Why Every “P” Needs a Few Good “J”s

By Paul J. Zak on May 03, 2013 in The Moral Molecule
We all have different cognitive styles, and designing a cognitively diverse team can help facilitate success. Every P needs a few good J’s.

Do You Have the Strength to Lead?

Being a leader takes strength -- not physical strength, but inner strength. Here is a way to assess leader strength. It involves understanding leader character.

Is Your Life Strategy like Walmart or the Apple Store?

Diversification is a strategy found everywhere from microorganisms to giant Wall Street investment firms. But is it always the best bet? New findings, just released in the journal Psychological Science, suggest the answer may depend on whether you grew up rich or poor.

Bare-Naked Philosophy

Does knowing a word’s meaning reveal the nature of things?

You've Got to Face It to Erase It

Happiness is related to how people manage their money. Researchers at find that individuals who manage their money are happier, more satisfied with their lives, and experience less negative emotion.

How Monostic Are You?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 12, 2013 in Ambigamy
How free are you to think rationally? It depends a little on your intelligence and creative bravery, but mostly on the weight you bear to think in ways that'll get you through the day. The more load you bear, the more your beliefs have to serve as load-bearing walls. Holding up your life, they become inflexible in ways you might not notice. Here's a test for noticing.

How Can We Conserve Water? Do What Strangers Do

If you have stayed in hotels at all in the last 10, you have probably noticed the placards requesting that you re-use their towels. You many not know that, people are more likely to take a cue about how to behave from complete strangers who had happened to once stay in a hotel room than they are to take the same cue from other people of their gender or nationality. Why?

Curbing Too-High Hopes for Children’s Success

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on April 10, 2013 in Singletons
Parents fantasize about their babies before they are born. As the fetus moves in the womb, parents make predictions. As your child ages, being proud is very different from living vicariously through your child. Are your hopes too high?

Feeling Lucky Today?

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on April 02, 2013 in Consumed
We all know that gambling is irrational – that's also why lotteries appear to be recession-proof. Here's a roundup of cognitive biases in lottery gambling. Take your pick!

What Bracketology Teaches Us About Banking

By Peter A. Ubel on March 26, 2013 in Scientocracy
Would you want your hard earned money invested with someone who's performed the financial equivalent of picking Lehigh over Duke?

The Costs and Benefits of “Living for Now”

Research done by finds that present-oriented people are extraverted, they experience positive emotions as well as value stimulation. However, they also less financially clear and less likely to save money.

The First International Day of Happiness

On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.