Essential Reads

How New Payment Technology Can Manipulate You

Can you resist paying the 'suggested' tip?

8 Negative Attitudes of Chronically Unhappy People

8 Negative Thoughts of Chronically Unhappy People

Conflicting Goals Can Make You a Better Decision Maker

Some conflicts actually improve your ability to choose.

How to Become the Most Attractive Job Candidate

Why understanding your strengths will help you stand out.

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

What Motivates You, the Carrot or the Stick?

By Donna Barstow on June 25, 2011 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Exercise has a good reputation, but why should I have to do it if I don't want to? What's in it for ME?

On Innovation and Optimism

By Moses Ma on June 24, 2011 in The Tao of Innovation
To succeed as an innovator, you must be indefatigably optimistic. This rule of thumb applies to the economy as well. Like what Economist Larry Summers said, "The central irony of financial crisis is that while it is caused by too much confidence, borrowing, lending and spending... it can only be resolved by increasing confidence, borrowing, lending and spending."

Procrastination: A Basic Human Instinct

By E E Smith on June 23, 2011 in Not Born Yesterday
I've been putting this off for months. Some time ago I read a review in The New Yorker of a book called "The Thief of Time," a collection of essays on the subject of procrastination. I have also put off buying the book because it costs $65, but I did enjoy the review.

Can psychology solve a classic paradox?

By Ben Y Hayden Ph.D. on June 22, 2011 in The Decision Tree
In 1963 Paul Samuelson posed a now-famous paradox. Psychology has now developed the tools to provide a solution.

Two roads diverged

By Ben Y Hayden Ph.D. on June 22, 2011 in The Decision Tree
The science of decisions

The Secret: How The World's Best-Paid Persuaders Do It

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on June 21, 2011 in Unthinking
Want to land that job, promotion, account--or just coax a nice birthday present from your significant other? Follow the simple advice of the world's most effective--and highest-paid--presenters. No other approach works as powerfully--as you will see. Literally.

A (p)review of the Consuming Instinct

Besides mangoes, blueberries, an iPad, and Legos, I bought a new book this week – the book explains why I bought mangoes, blueberries, an iPad, and Legos.

Confessions Of A Stay-At-Home Dad

I know what it’s like to be the only Y chromosome in the room, swimming in a sea of estrogen. I didn’t start out in life to be a stay-at-home dad. I didn’t fantasize that I’d spend years laboring over my PhD, and get licensed as a psychologist to stay home kissing my wife at the door on her way to the car, saying, “Have a nice day dear.” It just kind of happened.

Dogs in the Workplace

Data suggests that having pets in the workplace leads to more positive attitudes by employees, higher productivity, and reduced absenteeism.

Beating the Biological Clock

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on June 14, 2011 in Singletons
Flash freezing technology gives women in their 20s and early 30s the option to harvest and reserve their eggs for use at a later date. Viable? Yes, but is it a sure thing?

Quick Decisions Create Regret

Even if speedy decisions aren't necessarily bad ones, they still have a significant downside - they feel wrong.

Flourishing with Help from Marty

By Julie K Hersh on June 11, 2011 in Struck By Living
Is Flourish the answer or a NBA win?

Never Tell a Woman You Love Her! (Unless...)

A new series of studies explores the circumstances under which the words “I love you” bring happiness or unhappiness.

Your best defense against advertising may be your unconscious mind

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on June 09, 2011 in Sold on Language
Evidence is piling up that commercial messages may affect us in many ways that we're not aware of. But it seems we have a defensive system—one that can be turned on by our unconscious mind.

The Urge for Stuff Is Primal

Why did my mother care about impressing a woman whose jewels came from crime? We mammals inherited a brain that cares about how we stack up against others.

Is Your Ex a Psychopath?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 08, 2011 in Ambigamy
How can you tell who is or isn't clinically cold-hearted, a sociopath or a narcissist when all of us are a little bit? That's a question that's with us always, but especially in the political season.

Don't Touch That! Avoiding Impulse Spending

When you touch an item, you are 60% more likely to buy it.

Extended Double Standard: The Bible as Killer App

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 06, 2011 in Ambigamy
Highlights from the evolution of exceptionalism, from natural history and religious history where we really lean into saying"You may think I'm being selfish when I say I deserve more than you do, but notice how generous I am in saying that my clanspeople deserve more than you do also."

It's Lonely At The Top

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on June 05, 2011 in Beyond Freud
Business leaders are often lonely and find it difficult to seek help. But economists and businessmen are beginning to recognize how much human irrationality influences business and consumer decisions.

A Lonely Child? Not in Today's World

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on May 31, 2011 in Singletons
You can feel sad and alone in a sea of people. Dana, one of seven children confides. “People would say to me, ‘you must never be lonely,’ and it boggled my mind. I remember being lonely the whole time I was growing up.”

Ask Dr. Laundry

Having been invited to give a presentation at an upcoming scientific congress on the topic of cleaning agents and allergy on-the-job, I found that I needed to brush up on the subject. As it turns out, this is a very broad topic but not a bit esoteric. In fact, it’s all too much an everyday affair.

Poem: What Psychologists wonder about on Memorial Day

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 30, 2011 in Ambigamy
We honor them all, but in fact many died in vain or worse, for a Godawful cause. So what should we meditate upon this memorial day?

Complaint Handling: Where Companies and Customers Both Fail

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on May 28, 2011 in The Squeaky Wheel
Consumers whose complaints are handled well by a company become loyal customers and spread positive word-of-mouth. Yet too many companies fail at complaint handling and then fail again in responding to these failures. Here’s why:

Do You Do What You Say You'll Do?

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on May 27, 2011 in Don't Delay
To what extent do you keep your promises to yourself even if later on you don't feel like doing what you had promised yourself to do? A recent study reveals the predictive power of say-do correspondence in relation to procrastination.

Self-interest Drives Animals to Dominate or Submit

When a mammal sees a piece of food, a group-mate sees it too. Group-living animals evolved to size up others as they act to meet their needs.

How To Tap the Power of Your Mind: Four Surprising Stories

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on May 25, 2011 in Unthinking
How can you lose weight, give a speech, accomplish more? Four surprising stories--of 84 Boston hotel housekeepers, some lucky putters, colorless Cheetos, and Calvin Trillin's reception in a Minneapolis library--suggest an answer that you can use immediately.

The myth of animal altruism

Reciprocal altruism is the organizing principle of a mammalian herd or pack or troop. That means helping others when you get something out of it, otherwise put yourself first. Researchers cherry pick their data to portray nature as a collectivist utopia.