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

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.

A Scientific Breakthrough on Free Will

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 23, 2011 in Ambigamy
Emergent Dynamics Theory shows how there's no freedom without constraints, but with constraints, there's freedom.

What do Natalie Portman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Danielle Steel have in common?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on May 23, 2011 in Singletons
What do Natalie Portman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Danielle Steel have in common?

Is This Singlism or a Smart Business Practice?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on May 22, 2011 in Living Single
My local Cinema Society charges $425 for a single membership and $650 for a couple membership. That’s $100 more per person for the single person than the couple. Is that singlism or a smart business practice?

China Rethinks Its One-Child Policy

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on May 18, 2011 in Singletons
With a change in China’s one-child policy, will the Chinese bear more than one child per family? What would you do if you lived in China and were starting a family now?

A few words on subliminal advertising

By Art Markman Ph.D. on May 17, 2011 in Ulterior Motives
Thinking about summer movies and theater snacks often gets people thinking about subliminal advertising. Does subliminal advertising really work?

Politically Correct Animal Language

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on May 14, 2011 in Sold on Language
The editors of the Journal of Animal Ethics have called for re-vamping animal language. So-called negative words like "pets" or "wildlife," they say, should be replaced by "companion animals" and "free-living animals." Could changing the language also change attitudes towards animals?

I'm the Gift!

By Eliezer Sobel on May 14, 2011 in The 99th Monkey
I had to get her store credit at The Cat Store for the oversized kitty nightshirt I bought her; I had never noticed that she sleeps au naturel. (I’m not always the most observant guy.)