Essential Reads

Water Games

Let us revisit a negotiation over drinking water in the German heartland.

What Happens When the Whole Family Plays with Food?

“Family therapy can be helpful; family dinner is transformative.”

Democracy and the Pro-social Impulse

Can there be democracy without idealism?

Tom Brady Broke the Rules, But Don't We All?

What "Deflategate" can teach us about human nature

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

It's Not About the Goal

By Michael F. Kay on December 30, 2014 in Financial Life Focus
We are taught to achieve our goals instead of living our values.

The Myth of Casual Marijuana Use

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on December 30, 2014 in Singletons
Already some two million teens smoke pot. We have sex-ed classes for teens that aren’t supposed to be having sex. Shouldn’t we be having marijuana-ed classes as well? Legalizing marijuana sends mixed message to teens. The claim that casual marijuana use is harmless is a myth. How to make your teen less vulnerable.

The Biggest Reason We Steal Other People’s Ideas

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on December 30, 2014 in Give and Take
Kleptomnesia: the idea theft you didn't see coming

Time Chauvinism, Time Blindness and Moral Chauvinism

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 28, 2014 in Ambigamy
"What a piece of work is man," said Shakespeare, "how noble in reason." True, but we're also a piece of work, earth's problem child. We are genius and fools; idiot savants. I'm an hopeful cynic. I trying to pin down what makes us stupid--me included, hopeful that maybe we can overcome it in time to save ourselves. This week I'm thinking about time and moral chauvinism.

Are Your Tweets Ratting You Out? Should They?

By Thomas P Keenan MA, M.Sc., Ed.D on December 28, 2014 in Technocreep
British charity Samaritans has pulled their controversial "Radar" app, which was intended to catch potential suicides through their sad-sounding Twitter posts. Privacy advocates around the world thought it was creepy to watch your friends' tweets for phrases like "I hate myself". It turns out that many others monitor what you say on Twitter - for less noble purposes.

Simple Truths

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster, it is an opportunity. – Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947)

Elitism and Climate Change Denialism

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on December 27, 2014 in The Green Mind
How can we begin to address the society-threatening damages caused by climate change when one of our major political parties is wholly set against action? Congressional Republicans stand alone in the industrialized world as the only major political party to refuse to acknowledge the threat. The will to dominate other people and nature may factor into their recalcitrance.

False Positives

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on December 26, 2014 in Hidden Motives
We tend to assume the opposite of a negative is a positive. The opposite of unemployment, for example, is employment. But it turns out the relationship between the two is more peculiar than that.

Motivation: Can You Encourage Your Tween to Care?

Tweens are at the age of assertion. This becomes more obvious the older they get. They may start to make more of their own choices about friends and interests. It is the values that their parents impart to them however, that have a great hand in determining these decisions.

Killing Me Softly:

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on December 22, 2014 in A Swim in Denial
The turmoil over killing innocents isn’t just about cops and race. Have you noticed that the structure of power in America is changing and it's affecting you? From work to entertainment, stress is rising. You can't change what you don't see.

The War on Weed is Over

By Richard Taite on December 22, 2014 in Ending Addiction for Good
The war on weed pursued by countless law enforcement personnel since at least the 1960s is effectively over.

How Quickly Should You Say 'I Love You'?

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on December 21, 2014 in In the Name of Love
Hearing your partner say "I love you" and "You are my greatest love" is regarded as one of the highlights of a romantic relationship. However, people are often uncertain about when to declare their love: whether to be the first to do so or whether to wait till the other has given an indication that they feel the same. Is there a best time to reveal your heart?

The Wisdom of Science: Questions, Guesses, and Predictions

We're building a machine that will be proud of us. – Daniel Hillis

10 Tips for Surmounting In-Law Difficulties

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on December 20, 2014 in Singletons
“Neutral” is rarely a word associated with in-laws; most are puzzling or problematic in some way— attempting to oversee your life, meddling in your marriage, telling you how to raise your children and the list goes one. Here, insights and tips for understanding and "managing" bothersome in-laws and building a healthier relationship.

Stuck In A Money Rut?

By Michael F. Kay on December 19, 2014 in Financial Life Focus
Stuck in a rut? Time to get creative.

The Anxiety of Freedom

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on December 17, 2014 in Science of Choice
Making authentic choices in the face existential anxiety is psychological courage in action.

Is a Red Light Effective to Stop People from Drinking Coke?

By Peter A. Ubel on December 17, 2014 in Scientocracy
We have a long distance to travel, before we arrive at Nutritional Facts labels that quickly inform consumers about what is good and bad for them to ingest.

Behavioral Science and Development Economics

By Diogo Gonçalves on December 17, 2014 in There Are Free Lunches
If governments adapt to, instead of resisting, individual bias in decision-making, they can, through small, low-cost, but powerful actions, enable people to make decisions and behave in ways that will lead to their longer term well-being. The WDR15 is a very important contribution that signifies a changed reality is not so far away.

5 Tips for Talking About Holiday Spending with Your Spouse

By Kerry Patterson on December 16, 2014 in Crucial Conversations
More than 60 percent of people either overspend during the holidays or have a spouse or partner who overspends. How do you talk about it?

Racial Anxiety Can Perpetuate Racial Inequalities

Sometimes the best way to reduce racial anxiety is the easiest: By hanging out together.

Yet More Corruption in Banks

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on December 15, 2014 in Hidden Motives
The rule was strict in banking. There was a firewall between analysis and sales — for good reason: to protect customers. But that now seems a thing of the past.

The Cruel Optimism of Xmas

By Laurie Essig Ph.D. on December 15, 2014 in Love, Inc
Xmas induces a feeling of hopefulness in hopeless times. That hopefulness is a kind of cruel optimism that stops us from facing the reality of income disparity in the US in favor of believing that a magical event like Black Friday shopping can save us.

Scientists - On Themselves and On Their Colleagues

The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance—the idea that anything is possible. Touch a scientist and you touch a child. – Ray Bradbury

Adolescents Get Fixated On Things That Are Rewarding

By Art Markman Ph.D. on December 12, 2014 in Ulterior Motives
It is common to talk about how the teenage years are a time of risky behavior. And, when we talk about why teens engage in risky behavior, there is a tendency to focus on the development of the frontal lobes. But that doesn't tell the whole story.

Medical Science Journal Concludes Men are Idiots

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on December 12, 2014 in The Squeaky Wheel
A well-known scientific medical journal just concluded men are idiots. Here’s what made them do it:

Why You Gave that Awful Present

By Kit Yarrow Ph.D. on December 10, 2014 in The Why Behind the Buy
We’ve all suffered through that awkward silence at least once, the one that comes right after someone opens the holiday gift you’ve selected for them that’s somehow not quite right. Here's where well-intentioned gift-givers go wrong.

Civil Debate on GMOs Is Still Possible For Open Minds

By David Ropeik on December 10, 2014 in How Risky Is It, Really?
Surveys show that most Americans may have heard about genetically modified food, but still have open minds. A recent debate about the issue encouragement that that civil arguments about the evidence can help the facts play more of a role than emotion in shaping people's perceptions about risk.

Bankers More Likely to Lie

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on December 09, 2014 in Hidden Motives
When bankers are reminded they are bankers, a new study has found, they are more likely to lie.

Can You Thrive After Childhood Trauma?

A person can survive traumatic events and be scarred for the rest of their life. Trauma affects children particularly profoundly. Children do not just get over trauma; they live with the consequences for a lifetime.

How to Give People Exactly What They Want

By Samantha Joel M.A. on December 09, 2014 in Dating Decisions
Get your partner what they want. Literally.