Essential Reads

Don’t Let Shame Weaken Your Retirement Plans

Psychologists tell us that shame can lead to despair and weakness.

4 Smart Ways to Save $10 on Your Next Grocery Shopping Trip

Use findings in consumer research to outwit marketers and save money.

Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores in America?

The answer lies in a combination of retail economics and shopper psychology.

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

Viral Values: How Do Personal Values Affect Behavior?

Everyday businesses are realizing that in order to prosper in today’s consumer-centric economy satisfying the psychological needs of their customers is vital to their financial success. For example, my friends at Zenzi are constantly touting the benefits of value-based marketing. But why, you may ask, are values so important?

How to Manage People Who Are Hard to Manage

Management would be easy if everyone you managed were hard working, collaborative, and had a great attitude and exceptional talent. But then it wouldn’t be management...

Me, My Brain, and I

Social psychologists have made recently breakthroughs in understanding the self and its functions using neuroimaging. I discuss some of these discoveries, including the positive bias in self-perception, an apparent purpose for consciousness, and one surprising source of self-regulation. It turns out our brains contain some interesting information about ourselves!

Investors Beware: Good News May Not Breed Good Decisions

Easy access to online information and the growth of online brokers presents great opportunities for investors, but it also presents some threats. The article explores the danger posed by the tendency to selectively seek and weight confirmatory information, and presents some tips to avoid the "allure of homophily."

Why Behavioral Economics is Cool, and I’m Not

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on June 13, 2014 Give and Take
Behavioral economics isn't what you think it is.

One Surprising Quality Every Leader Needs

When you think of exceptional leadership, your mind often runs to qualities like charisma, integrity, self-discipline, communication skills and executive presence. I'd argue that part of an obscure native of South America is as important as any of them.

Surprising, Well-Kept Secrets About Fathers

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on June 08, 2014 Singletons
Is the inept, relatively irrelevant father stereotype disappearing? Long-held beliefs about the value of fathers are challenged—as they should be—in the new book, "Do Fathers Matter?" The magnitude of a father’s role is far greater than you probably realize or understand.

Can You Actually Forgive and Forget?

We’ve all heard the saying, “forgive and forget,” but is there any truth to it? When someone has been wronged in a social relationship, will forgiveness actually lead to quicker forgetting of the hurt? Or, do feelings of hurt and revenge make you feel better in some cathartic sort of way? What does new research suggest?

3 Questions You Have to Ask Yourself Before Buying Anything

By Meg Selig on May 28, 2014 Changepower
When does a purchase make you happy and when does it leave you dissatisfied? New research reveals the key to feeling happier with your choices.

How to Overcome Chronic Lateness

Chronic lateness tends to be resistant to change. Here’s how to overcome it once and for all.

How Parents Miss the Point of Report Cards

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on May 19, 2014 Singletons
Parents can use a child’s report cards—good or bad—as a motivating tool—a positive roadmap for improvement rather than a source of family conflict and stress.

6 Clear Reasons Why Employees Are Disengaged

Why are so many employees disengaged? In 6 simple sentences, a book I recently read, "The Art of Engagement," offers as concise and plainspoken a description as I've yet come across of the problems employees face and the challenges management has.

Retire the Selfie

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on May 14, 2014 Consumed
Help your future self to more savings by connecting it with your present self. Or was that the other way around? It's not a temporal paradox, it's behavioral economics.

24 Percent of Companies Pay Bonuses to Failing Performers

It's not often I come across a statistic that shocks me, but this one did...

How Mastering All 5 Senses Can Get You What You Want

Our thoughts and decisions are unconsciously influenced by our physical senses in very surprising ways.

The Challenges of Remote Management

By Victor Lipman on April 27, 2014 Mind of the Manager
It's not easy to manage when you've never met your employees or your own boss. One manager's perspective...

Why Trust Isn't Easy

By Art Markman Ph.D. on April 22, 2014 Ulterior Motives
Trust is important. You have to trust that people will generally deal with you honestly, and that they will follow through on their commitments. After all, you do not know all the people who grow your food, make your clothes, and take care of your money in the bank. You do not have the time to do all of these things for yourself.

Discipline: Is It What You Say or How You Say It?

Nothing is of greater interest to parents than how their behavior affects their children; but do we know what questions to ask?

How to Be an Environmentalist in the Bedroom

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on April 15, 2014 The Squeaky Wheel
When one of my patients mentions a sexual practice I had not heard of previously, I consider it a quirk. When three different people mention the same practice in one week, I consider it a potential fad.

The Exceptional Motivational Power of Pizza

By Victor Lipman on April 11, 2014 Mind of the Manager
Small things can make a big difference in employee engagement and productivity. For one young woman, a slice of pizza was a welcome gesture. Effective recognition can take many forms.

A Designer Dog-Maker Regrets His Creation

Many designer dogs involve crossbreeding Poodles with other breeds in order to avoid coats that shed and to supposedly create hypoallergenic canines. Wally Conron, the inventor of the Labradoodle, believes that such problems are not solved in such crosses, and many additional problems have resulted from the popularity of these dogs.

You Are Awesome

Do you spend your time trying to improve on qualities and abilities that you don't value; working on your "weaknesses"? Make the most of your time and get the most Bang for your Buck. Discover your top character strengths and abilities; using them in unique ways will increase happiness. Old = "What's wrong with you?", New = "What's Right with You?"

The Pros and Cons of Winning a Fortune

Nearly everyone daydreams about winning big money in the lottery. Most people believe that winning a million in a lottery would dramatically change their lives, but would it change for better or for worse? Here's what the research on lottery winners shows.

What Causes Materialism in America?

Wealthy neighborhoods fuel materialistic desires. Individuals who live in affluent areas more likely to spend compulsively, less likely to save.

Why Guilt Trips Can Be Relationship Killers

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on March 18, 2014 The Squeaky Wheel
Have you ever given your romantic partner a guilt trip? Bad idea. Here’s why.

You'll Never Go Wrong Leading by Example

By Victor Lipman on March 12, 2014 Mind of the Manager
Beyond any ethical considerations, there's an exceedingly practical one: It's effective.

An Indian Economist in Bhutan: The Kingdom of Happiness

Vatsalya Srivastava is an Indian Professor who is studying Finances in the University of Tilburg – Holland. He was my colleague in the course of Behavioral Economics. When in one class, we were discussing the Economics of Happiness, I understood he had been in Bhutan, and couldn’t resist inviting him for an interview.

The Unfortunate Appeal of Narcissists in Management

By Victor Lipman on March 02, 2014 Mind of the Manager
Some of the hallmarks of the narcissistic personality — need for admiration and power, exaggeration, manipulativeness and lack of empathy — are also qualities that at times are useful for management success.

Psychological Testing Without Psychological Tests

Value Science and Moral Mathematics

A Simple Change That Could Help Everyone Drink Less

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on February 25, 2014 Consumed
Could a change in default alcohol serving sizes help us reduce problem drinking?