Essential Reads

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?

Tom Brady Broke the Rules, But Don't We All?

What "Deflategate" can teach us about human nature

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

Comparison and choice: When something is better than nothing

By Art Markman Ph.D. on February 01, 2011 in Ulterior Motives
When you make choices, you focus on the information that matches up between the options.  Research suggests that can lead you to make bad decisions.

On NOT Waiting for Mr. Right

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on February 01, 2011 in Singletons
Why should women postpone motherhood until their dream of being a parent becomes improbable? Even impossible. 

Procrastination: Two Philosophers and a Psychologist Discuss Delay

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on January 31, 2011 in Don't Delay
The most often-read essay about procrastination on the Internet is entitled "Structured Procrastination" written by John Perry, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University. John is also the co-host of the popular Philosophy Talk radio show. On January 30th, I joined John and co-host Ken Taylor (Stanford) to talk about procrastination. Here are some highlights.

Do Good Prices Make Us Uncomfortable?

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on January 31, 2011 in Unthinking
On the evening of March 25, 1996, Sharon Stone walked to the podium of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to present the Oscar for Best Musical Score.  Whether she started a trend or just signalled it, Stone's choice of wardrobe tells a new story about the choices we make.

On Sanctioning Bad Behavior and Feeling Good About It

By David DiSalvo on January 30, 2011 in Neuronarrative
There's a presumption among many that medical science has come along far enough to wall off our behavioral choices from their outcomes, especially when it comes to cardiovascular disease.

A Proposal To Contain Health Care Costs

In two previous posts, A Prescription For The Health Care Crisis and Analysis Of The Health Care Law, I attempted to analyze the major cause of America's skyrocketing health care costs

Overcoming tabloid medicine - an uphill battle

Can You Trust Your Health to the Internet? If anyone with an opinion on the MMR vaccination - autism conenction a veritable expert? If you think the answer is ‘yes', read more.

The princess-industrial complex

By Laurie Essig Ph.D. on January 27, 2011 in Love, Inc
Is pink a universal phase of childhood development or a result of the princess-industrial complex?

Subliminal seduction gets a second glance

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on January 27, 2011 in Sold on Language
Salacious images in ice cubes? Subliminal commands in movie theaters? Years after the de-bunking of myths of advertising mind control, we're coming to realize that unconscious responses to persuasion are just a part of daily cognition.

Are People Actually Brand Loyal?

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on January 25, 2011 in Unthinking
You spot her at a party, half-facing you.  You're interested, and even more interested when she turns her back to you, to reveal the tatoo of the Apple apple on her left shoulder.  "Now that''s brand-loyalty!"  you think.  But are we brand-loyal? Or is it something else?

Following the Crowd

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on January 21, 2011 in Hidden Motives
Is It Ever the Smart Thing To Do? It's pretty clear that many of those investors caught by the crash of the credit bubble in 2008 were following the crowd.  But what about the short sellers.... 

The Essential Ingredients of a Stereotype

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on January 19, 2011 in Singletons
The enormous flak over Amy Chua's book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," serves to fuel, not only a debate, but also the stereotype of immigrant parenting.  

National Blaming Week

By Neil Farber M.D, Ph.D. on January 19, 2011 in The Blame Game
Last week should aptly be renamed "National Blaming Week". A mentally unstable young man commits a horrendous and senseless act of violence. Our response? Blame somebody - blame something! Many in this country responded to the recent shootings in Tucson by blaming anyone and anything that could have potentially and negatively influenced...

Why Do So Many Newtons Live In New York?

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on January 19, 2011 in Unthinking
On Febuary 16, Nate Montana, son of the famed pro quarterback Joe Montana, announced that he was transferring from Notre Dame, his father's alma mater, to the University of Montana. You probably know some of the rest of this fascinating story. . .

Bem, Bayes, and the limits of statistical inference

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on January 19, 2011 in One Among Many
The debate over Bem's psi studies has sprouted a sidebar debate over statistical analysis. Never mind the fear inducing, amygdala activating word "statistics." The question is how do we learn from evidence? I submit that both Bem and his critics are barking up the wrong tree.

Looking for Leaders: 4 Pivotal Insights on How to Hire Good

So how do successful organizations go about looking for and identifying leaders when they do their hiring? Although there is no magic formula, here are a few insights on techniques that can help an organization gain a reliable prognosis of leadership potential in prospective hires.

The Surprising Clout of Comfort

By Harry Beckwith J.D. on January 12, 2011 in Unthinking
"I loved the legroom." "It tastes rich and chocolatey." "It looked strong in my major." But are those the real reasons why people buy certain cars, coffee and colleges?

Would You Like a Frappe with Your Burger?

By Julie Sedivy Ph.D. on January 11, 2011 in Sold on Language
We often choose consumer products and adopt regional dialects, whether consciously or not, in order to project a certain social identity. With American dialects pulling apart and becoming more distinct from each other, even big corporations like McDonald's want to be part of your in-group.  TV commercials are starting to talk to you in your own accent.

Leadership Is a Journey: Steps to Your Personal Leader Development

"Leadership is a journey, not a destination." What this means is that every leader, regardless of his or her position or successes, needs to continually work on leadership development.So, what are the key elements for you to successfully develop as a leader? 

The origins of the specious: How hypocrisy happens

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 10, 2011 in Ambigamy
The behavioral economics of talk vs. walk

Stop Having Children: Why Many Are

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on January 07, 2011 in Singletons
For as long as any of us can remember, children have been central to most people's lives. Today, some are wondering if they should have them at all.