Essential Reads

Introduction to Investing in Healthy Minds

How can and should we invest in the mental health of young people?

Are Women Better Managers Than Men?

In the study, female managers outperform male on employee engagement scores.

The Advantage of Quitting

The sunk cost fallacy

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

10 Ways to Be Less Reactive in Difficult Situations

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

Planning for Your Parents’ (Or Your) Old Age

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on August 15, 2011 in Singletons
In a perfect world, families come together to support their aging parents. Can you count on that in your family?

"Only Child" Redefined

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on August 11, 2011 in Singletons
With so many blended families, how do you define “only child”?

Can You Predict the Future?

By Ben Y Hayden Ph.D. on August 09, 2011 in The Decision Tree
A group of scientists is trying to understand the wisdom of the crowds. You can participate in their study and get $150 for your effort.

The Perils of Corporate Social Responsibility

By Hans Villarica on August 09, 2011 in Better Business Behavior
It’s time to stop assuming consumers reward brands’ CSR efforts across the board - because they don't. A new Journal of Consumer Research study says messages of social responsibility from luxury brands may even backfire.

Does the World Have Financial PTSD?

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on August 09, 2011 in Just Listen
When FDR said: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," he was right. PTSD is the fear following an initial trauma -- that caused you to feel vulnerable -- of retraumatization, that you're afraid will finish the job and destroy you.

Are You a Mac or a Mac User? How the Language of Identity Persuades

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on August 08, 2011 in Sold on Language
Do you think of yourself as a beer-drinker, or do you merely drink beer? Are you a Democrat, or do you just vote for Democratic candidates? Wielding the right language to tap into people's sense of identity can make for potent persuasion.

Pain? What Pain?

By Sam Sommers on August 07, 2011 in Science Of Small Talk
Even the experience of physical pain depends on context. I went for a morning run today and it was clear from the start that it was going to be a struggle. Almost immediately, that pesky ache in my left foot announced its off-and-on presence with authority, and I knew it would be a battle of mind over matter to get through my usual distance...

What Do You Really Know?

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on August 05, 2011 in Unthinking
A chance encounter with an intriguing book, The Wave, exposes just how vulnerable our thinking is to several powerful outside influences. What can you learn from this, too?

What’s Your Fairness Quotient?

By Peter Corning Ph.D. on August 05, 2011 in The Fair Society
Among our many individual differences, we also vary in our sense of fairness toward others. Here’s an informal quiz about some everyday fairness issues.

When Being Beautiful Backfires

By Sam Sommers on August 01, 2011 in Science Of Small Talk
It pays to be pretty. Or so we've been told by life experience as well as research finding. Better looking people get the benefit of the doubt, get away with bad behavior, and make more money. But sometimes being beautiful can backfire...

Meet the World’s Oldest Mothers of Newborns

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on August 01, 2011 in Singletons
What drives women to want to become mothers in their 60s and 70s?

The Great Recession of Our Virtual Lives

By Elias Aboujaoude M.D. on August 01, 2011 in Compulsive Acts
We used to want to keep up with the Joneses. Now, it's our online alter egos we are competing with. Could our new relationship with money be contributing to our economic woes?

What’s the Matter with Libertarianism?

By Peter Corning Ph.D. on August 01, 2011 in The Fair Society
There is much to admire in the core libertarian values of freedom and personal responsibility, but some of the more radical variants rely on terminally deficient models of human nature and our complex society. Ultimately, libertarianism is unfair.

6 Well-Kept Secrets that Affect Family Size

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on July 30, 2011 in Singletons
Six well-kept "family secrets" influencing the nuclear family today. Why are they not being discussed?

When You Negotiate, Don’t Argue

By Art Markman Ph.D. on July 29, 2011 in Ulterior Motives
There is a lot of interesting psychology involved in negotiation. How much should you try to persuade at the same time that you negotiate?

Can Diet Soda Make You Fat?

Effective weight watching begins in our heads. Then again, not all weight watching is effective. What are 7 common mistakes dieters' make?

Overcoming Anger at Products That Backfire

By Art Markman Ph.D. on July 27, 2011 in Ulterior Motives
There are many products that aim to protect us in various ways. Despite the best intentions of these products, though, they sometimes fail. How can we minimize the strength of the betrayal we feel when protections backfire?

The Know-It-All Fallacy: Yeah, But He's Got an Answer for That Too!

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 27, 2011 in Ambigamy
The false belief that because someone has a confident retort to every challenge he must be right.

The “S” Word

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on July 27, 2011 in Singletons
Do we really want to provide our children with a model of parenting that showcases ourselves as selfless martyrs who live out our dreams through our children?

A World Without Women?

By Carlin Flora on July 26, 2011 in Under a Friendly Spell
"A world without women" sounds like science fiction. But the gender imbalance is real: 160 million women are "missing" around the globe.

OxyContin Abuse by Youth

By Joel Bakan on July 25, 2011 in Childhood Under Siege
Teenagers and young adults in the town of Port St. Lucie, Florida "complain of having little or nothing to do, and marijuana, prescription drugs and parties often fill the void," according to them and their parents, as a story in last Sunday's New York Times reported.

Is Capitalism Fair?

By Peter Corning Ph.D. on July 25, 2011 in The Fair Society
It seems “fairness” is a buzzword in our politics these days. But what does fairness mean? How do you know it when you see it? Though some cynics view fairness as nothing more than a mask for self-interest, it turns out the cynics are wrong.

What Is Beautiful?

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on July 25, 2011 in Unthinking
We think of beauty as something exceptional. Yet there is ample evidence that what makes you beautiful is something quite different. Who and what is beautiful? Brace yourself for a surprise.

How to Pick a Movie

Can you pick a movie with confidence that you'll enjoy it? Despite the hype, despite the critics? Yes. You can use the popularity ratings from online sites and, if you make some statistical assumptions, you can be 70% sure that you'll enjoy the movie you're considering.

Shopping with Darwin

By Carlin Flora on July 19, 2011 in Under a Friendly Spell
A Q and A with Gad Saad about consumer behavior.

Psychopath Cowboys; Sociopath Herds: A New Theory of How Evil Happens

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 19, 2011 in Ambigamy
If you want a simple but accurate explanation for why civilization so often veers toward evil, here’s a theory worth considering: Psychopaths are overrepresented in positions of power and they make sociopaths out of large numbers of us.