Essential Reads

Our Children's Children's Children*

Would we recognize our 26th Century descendants as human?

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?

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

How Your Dog Can Help Select Your Mate

By Donna Barstow on July 17, 2011 in Ink Blots Cartoons
We could all use a second opinion when deciding who to date, who to mate. Also, listen to your good dog.

Fourteen Surefire Signs That You're Dealing With A Sleezeball

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 15, 2011 in Ambigamy
If they sound like they're working from The Sleazeball Play Book, you're on to them.

How To Be Happier

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on July 15, 2011 in Unthinking
Do we experience unhappiness? Or do we merely think in such a way that unhappiness becomes inevitable? And what can you do to think yourself out of this dilemma and into happiness?

Buying Can Reduce Giving

By Art Markman Ph.D. on July 11, 2011 in Ulterior Motives
When you wander through the grocery store, there are lots of products that tie themselves to social causes. The idea is that everybody wins--the company, the charity, and the purchaser. It may not work out that well for the charity, though.

Think you can't be persuaded by ads you ignore? Think again

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on July 08, 2011 in Sold on Language
It’s no surprise to advertisers that people rarely devote their full brainpower to the ads that are lobbed at them. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the ads have no impact on consumers. Sometimes, it can mean the opposite.

Surprising July 4th Tea Party Rally Speech I'd Like to Have Heard

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 07, 2011 in Ambigamy
An exercise in true Tea Party priorities yielding different policy recommendations

Betting a Ferrari on the Climate Crisis

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 07, 2011 in Ambigamy
A new way to get real with climate change deniers

In Doc We Trust

Just like the spouses have to respect each other, and the children have to respect the parents (amen to that!), so does the medicine have to respect the physician. Lessons from Rwanda.

Who Do You Love?

By Sam Sommers on July 06, 2011 in Science Of Small Talk
There are some human experiences that we fancy as too ethereal to study. Like falling in love. But in the past several decades, behavioral scientists have had a lot to tell us about attraction and love...

Can It be That Men are More Stressed Than Women?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on July 06, 2011 in Singletons
New research from the Families and Work Institute suggests that the increased levels of work-family conflict are greater now for men than for women. I am not convinced. Are you?

George Clooney Is Dead?

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on July 06, 2011 in Unthinking
A crowd of independent thinkers acts wisely, as a famous book title once said. A crowd of people listening to others, however, easily becomes a Mob.

Can Nostalgic Advertising Re-Write Your Childhood Memories?

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on July 05, 2011 in Sold on Language
Our unreliable trips down memory lane suggest that advertisers have much to gain from tweaking our reminiscences.

Psychology, Not Economics, is Behind Market Bubbles

By Ben Y Hayden Ph.D. on July 03, 2011 in The Decision Tree
To explain market bubbles, ditch the economics, pick up a psychology textbook.

The 2011 Maynard Keynes Beauty Pageant

By Ben Y Hayden Ph.D. on June 29, 2011 in The Decision Tree
A modern recreation of a famous contest that explains stock market bubbles and crashes

Overcoming an Impasse in Childbearing Decisions

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on June 29, 2011 in Singletons
Having or not having children and how many can make or break your relationship.

Peeling Bananas

By Michael F. Kay on June 28, 2011 in Financial Life Focus
Even monkeys know how to learn at the breakfast table.

Limits in Human Imagination

By Adam Alter on June 28, 2011 in Alternative Truths
For all its sophistication, our capacity to imagine alternative states is far from perfect. Even our deepest imaginings fall far short of complete immersion, and we're always left in psychological limbo somewhere between the present and a loosely sketched alternative.

Does the Market Have a Brain?

Economists like Alan Greenspan suggest that it does, that by means of some "invisible hand," the market will guarantee stability. Baloney! If you believe that, I have some shares in a bridge in Brooklyn I can offer you at a bargain price.

Are you rational?

By Ben Y Hayden Ph.D. on June 26, 2011 in The Decision Tree
Economists use the word irrational in a way that confuses – and insults – the rest of us.

Fiction as stealth persuasion

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on June 26, 2011 in Sold on Language
The fictional words and actions of entirely made-up characters who have never drawn a breath in the real world can impact our attitudes and behavior more powerfully than the pleas or arguments of real flesh-and-blood people talking to us about real things in the actual world. Why should this be?

Are Individualism and Collectivism Compatible?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on June 26, 2011 in Moral Landscapes
If we examine human societies through human genus history and compare them with modern societies, we might learn a few things.

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.