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

Genes, Choice, and Human Aspiration

To have aspirations as a society makes no sense at all if we’re each slaves to our genetic dispositions and if whatever goals human beings can individually and collectively have are nothing but reflections of the goals of our genes. But an intellectually rigorous, evolutionarily-informed view of human nature and behavior by no means implies this.

How to Communicate with Difficult Seniors and Older Adults

Do you know a difficult older adult in your life? Higher standards of living and medical advancements are extending life expectancies in many countries to well above the age of eighty. Caring for, and having successful relationships with older adults often requires unique communication skills and strategies. Here are six keys for successful communication with seniors...

Mathematics–Queen of the Sciences

..the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. – Sir James Jeans (1877–1946)

Bad Investment Decisions?

By John Nofsinger Ph.D. on December 05, 2014 in Mind on My Money
What is the major source of your investment mistakes; socioeconomic characteristics, genetics, environment, or personal experience?

What Motivates Employees to "Go the Extra Mile?"

By Victor Lipman on December 05, 2014 in Mind of the Manager
A new study addresses this age-old management issue, and offers surprising answers.

Prediction: Religion Will Become Just Another Good Hobby

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 05, 2014 in Ambigamy
Both a prediction and a wish: That we find appropriate respect for religion in treating it as one of many healthy avocations.

Do Brands Interfere With Religiosity?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on December 05, 2014 in Ulterior Motives
There are many ways to express identity. If you walk down the street, you will see people wearing t-shirts with brands of products on them. They carry coffee mugs with the names of coffee companies. They carry bags that are branded with the logos of companies.

When Life Changes in the Blink of an Eye

By Michael F. Kay on December 04, 2014 in Financial Life Focus
Ready or not, change happens. Sometimes it's something you can control and handle-other times, there's not a thing you can do other than hang on the best you can. The secret is in knowing the difference.

A GPS for Your Child with ADD/ADHD

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on December 03, 2014 in Singletons
Children with attention or learning issues are often called “stupid, lazy, or undisciplined.” What they are is undiagnosed. Understood.org has changed all that by offering online guidance for parents of the one in five children with learning and attention problems.

Music and the Shopper

By Kimberly Sena Moore on December 03, 2014 in Your Musical Self
This may be one of the few times we actually notice the songs being played as we shop.

Investors Following the Crowd

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on December 01, 2014 in Hidden Motives
The wisdom of crowds doesn’t apply to picking stocks. A new study published in the Journal of Portfolio Management shows that “hot stocks,” those that generate a lot of buzz and, as a result, move a lot, generally do not do well.

Pro Hominem Arguments

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 01, 2014 in Ambigamy
When we argue "Ad Hominem" (against the man) we say "You're a bad person so your idea must be wrong." When we argue "Pro Hominem, we say "Your idea is wrong but it's nothing personal." Pro hominem argument divorces critical feedback from character attack. It's worth cultivating in how we deliver and receive feedback. Here are few tips on how to do it.

The Psychology Behind the Song "Christmas Shoes"

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on November 30, 2014 in Brain Babble
Was the man sad when he bought "Christmas Shoes" for the boy's mother? If so, he may have spent more for them.

Which is Better? Christmas Party or Bonus?

How should an employer spend that Xmas money? Which will have the greater effect, a bonus or a party?

Assertiveness vs. Aggressiveness

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 29, 2014 in Fighting Fear
Everyone recognizes there is a value to assertiveness. Achieving any goal becomes more likely. Some people, however, confuse being assertive with behaving aggressively, which can lead to defeat.

Science and the Arts

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. – Pablo Picasso (1881–1973)

What Gottman Got Wrong

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 28, 2014 in Ambigamy
IMO, Gottman's use of "the four horsemen of the apocalypse" to describe what goes wrong in partnerships is unnecessarily gender-biased and vague, and can actually cause more trouble than it solves. But there's an easy fix.

How Impulsive Are You?

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on November 28, 2014 in Consumed
Did Black Friday prompt you to make an impulse purchase? Read this post and calculate your ‘dysfunctional impulsivity’ score.

How to Avoid Bargain-Brained Holiday Shopping Pitfalls

By Kit Yarrow Ph.D. on November 27, 2014 in The Why Behind the Buy
With so much to choose from we have to have a reason to buy—for many it's all about the bargain. Especially for gifts, make it about the product instead. Here's how.

If Anger Is a Gift, Let's Not Do Gifts This Christmas

By Steven Laurent on November 27, 2014 in Chill Pill
A response to Dr Karson's post, 'The Gift of Anger' in which I attempt to repudiate his alleged 'four benefits'.

7 Ways to Add Sanity in Gift-giving to Children

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on November 26, 2014 in Singletons
To buy — or not to buy — the “must-have” toy or tech device? Parents tend to bend over backwards to give children what they request. But, research shows experiences make people happier than possessions.

Thanksgrieving: How Inevitable Decline Can Make Us Grateful

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 25, 2014 in Ambigamy
A heartfelt blog post in the form of a Thanksgiving song

How Exercise Improves Your Performance at Work

By Ron Friedman Ph.D. on November 25, 2014 in Glue
Social scientists have collected some compelling evidence suggesting that exercise makes us smarter, happier, and even more productive.

How and Why Power Corrupts Men More Than Women

We have all heard the phrase “Power corrupts,” but how strong is the relationship between possessing power and becoming corrupted by it? Research suggests that it is so powerful that very few people may be immune to the corrupting effect of power.

The Super Rich

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on November 25, 2014 in Hidden Motives
Most of us may not have noticed, but the rising tide of income inequality is engulfing the super rich as well.

Social Bonding and Addiction

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on November 24, 2014 in Science of Choice
The presence of strong social bonds in adulthood may decrease the vulnerability to drug abuse.

Want Wisdom? Choose Irony

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 24, 2014 in Ambigamy
Wisdom respects life's tough questions, not easy answers. Irony cultivates our patience with the tough questions.

Timing Is Not Everything

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on November 23, 2014 in In the Name of Love
Many people have claimed that timing is everything in life and love. I believe that timing, which is mainly a one-off task, is valuable in bringing two people together; however, time, rather than timing, is more essential in maintaining and enhancing profound love.

Is Zero Anger Optimal? Yes (with Footnotes).

By Steven Laurent on November 23, 2014 in Chill Pill
Many argue that a little anger is normal and appropriate. I argue the optimum amount, all things considered, is close to zero. There are some specific exceptional circumstances where anger may value add; but there are exceptions to these exceptions! And in any case they are too few and far between to outweigh the massive gains of a peaceful life.

The Uses of Science

Science increases our power in proportion as it lowers our pride. – Claude Bernard (1813–1878)