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

Whatever Happened to Courtesy?

Why we are losing the personal, courteous relationship between patient and doctor

Seduced by Beauty

By Rod Judkins MA, RCA on November 21, 2014 in Connect to Creativity
We should be wary of the power of beautiful design to seduce us.

The Borderline Parent—A Survival Guide

By Mark Banschick M.D. on November 20, 2014 in The Intelligent Divorce
Are you a child of someone suffering from a Borderline Personality? Do you have a friend or colleague who has a parent with BPD? It can be brutal - but there are ways to survive.

New Psych Test Opens Moral Can of Worms

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 20, 2014 in Ambigamy
Does a young beauty have more in common with her older crone self or with another young beauty? Either way you answer it, one might question your morality.

Why Are Medical Mistakes Our Third Leading Cause of Death?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on November 20, 2014 in Saving Normal
Medical error is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S.- 440,000 deaths a year caused by hospital mistakes and who knows how many more in outpatients. The cause is reckless over-testing and over-treatment in a chaotically disorganized medical nonsystem with perverse profit incentives

3 Ways to Stop Offensive People From Offending You

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on November 19, 2014 in Give and Take
A sneak preview of an entertaining new TV show based on psychological science

The Surprisingly Simple Secret To Getting Smarter Faster

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 18, 2014 in Ambigamy
The big difference between fast and slow learners is that fast learners are brave good sports, able to give up their hard-earned assumptions when they aren't working. They don't waste time flogging dead hobbyhorses. No matter what you're trying to learn, be a good sport not a sore loser and you'll get smarter faster.

The One Thing Parents Don’t Need to Stress About

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on November 18, 2014 in Singletons
What are your fondest childhood memories? Many parents go above and beyond to provide memorable experiences for their children—from pricey vacations to elaborate themed birthday parties. A new study says there’s more power in the mundane.

Why Corporate Boards Pay CEOs More

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on November 17, 2014 in Hidden Motives
Presumably corporations would not want to overpay their CEOs, which is why they hire “compensation consultants.” The consultants study the publically available information on comparable CEO compensation so that they can benchmark their peers. But it doesn't seem to work.

Why It Pays to Trust

By Joseph Nowinski Ph.D. on November 17, 2014 in The Almost Effect
People who are willing to trust others are healthier and happier

5 Questions You Have to Answer Before Asking for Advice

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on November 17, 2014 in The Squeaky Wheel
We ask for advice on matters large and small but do we go about it the best way or should we rethink how we go about seeking other people's opinion?

Science and Politics

Either man is obsolete, or war is. – Buckminster Fuller

How to Communicate Effectively with Older Adults

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 five keys for successful communication with seniors...

The Psychology of Storytelling

By Gregory Ciotti on November 14, 2014 in Habits, Not Hacks
The Psychology of Storytelling: why transportation leads to persuasion.

What's Worth More, Your Past or Your Future?

What’s more persuasive: Your potential or your actual accomplishments? The answer will surprise you and has important implications for getting jobs, promotions, and raises.

Why Are THEIR Political Views So Blatantly Self-Interested?

Should abortion be freely available? Should millionaires and billionaires pay higher taxes? My answers to those questions, like yours, are driven by higher principles. Or are they? Here's a look at a brilliant and thought-provoking new book by Jason Weeden and Robert Kurzban.

Show Me the (Holiday) Money

By Michael F. Kay on November 13, 2014 in Financial Life Focus
Holiday Season is a time for celebration. Avoid creating post-holiday financial panic!

My Intentions Are Good, Don’t They Count for Everything?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 12, 2014 in Ambigamy
Declaring good intentions as though wanting to do the right thing means you couldn't possibly have done the wrong thing is a great way to get people to give up on you, to keep their feedback to themselves, and keep you in the dark about what they really think. Use this rhetorical deflection technique at your own peril. It probably won't get you what you really want.

Positivese, Negativese, and Neutralese

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 12, 2014 in Ambigamy
One can't be a clear thinker until one recognizes clear thinking's biggest distraction, the need to feel right and righteous. To think well we have to get over ourselves. We do this most effectively by getting better at managing spin, the power of positive, negative, and neutral thinking.

Radicalism and Disruptive Innovation

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on November 12, 2014 in Jacob's Staff
How is anti-social behavior similar to disruptive innovation? When we give up hope, are we more inclined to reckless, i.e., anti-social, behavior? How is power in the Knowledge Economy different from power in the Industrial Economy? How do the tools of power compare in terms of effectiveness to fire up the imagination and inspire hope?

Surprising Lessons From Marijuana Legalization Votes

Marijuana legalization victories in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia follow in the footsteps of previous ones in Colorado and Washington. Already we are learning unexpected lessons as the new policies are implemented; and the issues we are encountering are quite different from the ones many had feared.

Study: Many CEOs Get Less Background Checking Than Graduates

By Victor Lipman on November 11, 2014 in Mind of the Manager
According to a survey of Human Resources executives, many CEOs undergo less background screening than does the average college graduate.

The Decline of Investment Banking

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on November 11, 2014 in Hidden Motives
MBA’S no longer flock to investment banking, according to the Economist in 2007. But why?

I Heart Me -- Really?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on November 10, 2014 in Living Single
The Chinese have outdone the Americans with the day they set aside for their shopping extravaganza. And it all started with single men marking their marital status with drinks.

How Ebola Won The Election for Conservatives

There's a natural fit between concerns and political values. Where liberals are the party of promotion, conservative are the party of protection. So why should democrats emphasize Ebola in their election campaign? Simply put, they shouldn't... ever, and paid the cost. The psychology of why this is so is covered here.

12 Ways to Become a More Rational Shopper

By Kit Yarrow Ph.D. on November 10, 2014 in The Why Behind the Buy
Culled from more than 100 ethnographies, a consumer psychologist shares 12 tips for smarter shopping

6 Body Language Superpowers

There are certain body language (i.e., nonverbal communication) skills that everyone possesses in lesser or more amounts. Some people are masters of certain skills, others possess different nonverbal skills.

The Pitfalls of Electronic Medical Records

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on November 10, 2014 in Singletons
Medicine is moving to more record keeping, less patient care. Patients compete with a computer for the doctor’s attention; doctors cannot be fully engaged with the patient while focused on typing. Is your doctor “in” and paying attention when you visit? Or, is he or she pecking the keys on a computer while you talk?

Faster, Faster

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on November 10, 2014 in This Is America
In Speed Limits, Mark Taylor, a professor at Columbia University, examines "the long arc of history" that has resulted in the insinuation of a "gospel of speed" into modern culture. And he sounds the alarm about the consequences of this phenomenon. Although by no means the first jeremiad on this subject, the book provides an informative account of speed's social impact.

Why Dads Earn More and Moms Earn Less than the Childfree

By Ellen Walker Ph.D. on November 09, 2014 in Complete Without Kids
Why Dads Earn More and Moms Earn Less than the Childfree