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

Why do politicians sling mud? Because it sticks

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on March 22, 2011 in Sold on Language
We profess to hate negative attack ads in politics. But when it comes to negative campaigning, genteel social norms get some push-back from psychological mechanisms that give dirty politics an edge over keeping it clean.

Women at the Top: Not So Fast

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on March 22, 2011 in Singletons
Women lag behind men in advancement, salary, and career satisfaction. How do we level the playing field and speed up women’s slow climb to the top?

What the Bleep Do We Know?

By Raj Raghunathan Ph.D. on March 21, 2011 in Sapient Nature
People often don't know what they want--although they often think they do. This leads them to make decisions that are often not in their best self-interest.

Productivity Is Up, Wages Are Down: What’s Up With That?

Do you feel like you work harder and produce more, but you still can't make ends meet financially? That's because it's true! According to a recent study, worker productivity has been on a steady increase, rising 62.5% from 1989 to 2010, but wages during that time are only up 12%. Where's the money going???

Seven habits of sometimes effective critics: Unreliable sure-fire recipes for speaking your mind

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 15, 2011 in Ambigamy
An alternative take on this month's PT cover topic: Giving feedback.

This Is Your Tax Return on Behavioral Economics

A tax refund is the return of your own money, but only 19% say they'll reduce their holdings next year.

How to Test Your Empathy

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on March 15, 2011 in The Squeaky Wheel
Something is amiss in our discussion of empathy. I came to this conclusion after a brief search through recent news articles yielded the following headlines: College students have less empathy than past generations, too much testosterone lowers empathy, empathy is a cause of yawning, and my favorite newsflash, chickens are capable of empathy too!

Seven Speaking Tips That Beat “Pretend Your Audience Is Naked"

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on March 14, 2011 in Unthinking
How can you win over people and totally sedate your butterflies?  Here are my favorite seven lessons, gleaned from three decades of public speaking.

Don’t Try to Predict Upsets in Tournament Pools

By Matthew Hutson on March 14, 2011 in Psyched!
The best way to win your March Madness tournament pool is to stick to the seedings. So why do we try to predict upsets?

Life among the fragments

By Matthew Shanahan M.Sc. on March 13, 2011 in Living It
The French writer, Charles Baudelaire, observed through his writings that modernity is the experience of life lived in fragments. This experience, the human experience, is even more fragmented today than it was when Baudelaire wrote in the mid-1800's.

Are We Individual or Social—And Is This the Right Question?

David Brooks has a fascinating piece on expanding views of human nature in today's New York Times. He rightly criticizes the limited approaches to predicting human behavior adopted by economists and policymakers, but is he correct about what should be done instead?

The Great Stagnation (Part 1)

By Seth Roberts on March 08, 2011 in Personal Science
The tremendous accomplishment of this book is to bring the puzzle of economic stagnation to mainstream economic attention.

Full Bladder Decreases Desire for Immediate Monetary Rewards

By Gad Saad Ph.D. on March 07, 2011 in Homo Consumericus
If you wish to avoid being impulsive when making financial decisions, tackle such decisions on a full bladder!

Inside Job Wins Oscar

By Seth Roberts on March 07, 2011 in Personal Science
It attacks Harvard and Columbia professors and to some extent the institutions themselves. You don't see that every day.

The Startling Tale of The Six-Inch Nail

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on March 07, 2011 in Unthinking
This really happened. Just after New Year's Day 2010, a 29 year-old British construction worker leaped before he looked. He survived, and left us with a remarkable story about how our minds work, and how you can win friends and influence people.

The Dignity Movement Finds Its Feet

The only thing as important as how we treat the Earth is how we treat each other.

Who Should Hold the Guinness World Record for Complaining?

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on March 04, 2011 in The Squeaky Wheel
We complain today more than ever before in history. So it seemed reasonable for me to suspect that someone somewhere was proud enough of his or her ability to kvetch they established some kind of complaining-related world record.

Do Stars Matter?

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on March 02, 2011 in Unthinking
We see them rise and fall.  The Meryl Streeps, Geoffrey Rushes, and Oprahs are not just celebrities to us; they do something more--something that we need.

The language of power in the anti-prestige age

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on March 02, 2011 in Sold on Language
We expect broadcasters to have a little bit of linguistic class, and this includes not dropping g's and turning ing into in', pronouncing nuclear as nucular, or seasoning their speech with generous dashes of double negatives. But Presidents, it seems, are an entirely different matter.

Monkey Business

By Eric Jaffe on March 01, 2011 in Headcase
The evolutionary roots of economic behavior

Your beliefs affect the strength of the placebo effect

By Art Markman Ph.D. on March 01, 2011 in Ulterior Motives
How do your beliefs about a placebo influence the way it affects you?

Do Women’s Pheromones Trigger Economic Riskiness in Men?

Increasing evidence suggests ovulation alters how women act, dress, and spend money. But does the mere scent of an ovulating woman affect how a man thinks, and the risks he’s willing to take? A new series of studies addresses this question, further challenging the belief that estrus is “hidden” in humans.