Essential Reads

What's The Difference Between Rationality And Rationalizing?

A complicated issue at the heart of a whole lot of debate and argument

Is Virtual Virtue a Virtue or a Vice?

Is wrapping our Facebook pictures in French Flags an empty gesture?

The Link Between the Refugee Crisis and Climate Change Talks

Biases hold the key to both Europe’s refugee crisis and climate change.

Why the Freelance Economy Is a Social Tragedy in the Making

Corporate profits are very high and retirement prospects very low.

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

The Meaning of Life

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 26, 2015 Fighting Fear
Description of the Discovery of the Meaning of Life! Including from the perspective of a frog

9 Signs Your Child Has Entitlement Issues

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 Singletons
If you are an overly involved or protective parent, you probably feed into your child’s sense of entitlement with realizing it. Here, ways to measure the extent of your child or teen’s “Me, Me, Me” problem and turn the tide of entitlement.

Four 2015 Twists to Holiday Shopping

If you're like most, you'll be shopping differently this year. Here are four ways that this holiday shopping season will be different this year.

Standard Interpretations in Psychotherapy

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 22, 2015 Fighting Fear
Psychotherapists who cannot think of something sensible to say sometimes make facile interpretations which do not apply to any particular patient and which are, for the most part, wrong.

5 Key Elements Of Sustainable Change

If you want to know whether someone will stick to a given goal (resolution) you will need to know how specific/realistic the goal, about his motivation, his level of confidence, and the strength of his willpower.

What's The Difference Between Rationality And Rationalizing?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Ambigamy
We toss around rational and rationalize as though we know the obvious objective difference between them when actually, it's a little more complicated than that.

New Employee Survey Underscores the Value of Feeling Valued

By Victor Lipman on November 18, 2015 Mind of the Manager
A new survey shows how few employees feel valued at work and see meaningful advancement opportunities — and why this matters for retention.

Why Are Drugs So Outrageously Expensive?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on November 18, 2015 Saving Normal
The drug industry is the most profitable on earth because it has exercised its power to price gouge. The combination of mounting public outrage, frequent media exposure, and the politics of this election season now provide the critical ingredients for possible change.

How to Use Social Affinity Groups to Engage Customers

A simple, cheap and effective method to use current social memberships of customers to influence their long-term behaviors.

One Key to Effective Management: Plain Old Common Sense

By Victor Lipman on November 17, 2015 Mind of the Manager
Most people like to be treated the way you like to be treated. Why wouldn't they?

Millennials to the Rescue

How are millennials leading the charge to constructive social change? They are moving away from traditional social approaches to categorization of people (and hence marginalization) to increased inclusion increasing the possible health and well-being of others.

Why Are Republicans so Bad for Business?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 The Human Beast
Republican politicians bill themselves as pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-opportunity. Yet the financial facts say otherwise. Republican administrations bring hard times, for rich and poor alike. Why are their results so different from their aims? Perhaps Democrats are better at motivating workers.

Romance Is Bad for Our Mental Health

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 Ambigamy
The tendency to treat life's rough, uncertain ride as romantic fiction runs and ruins our personal and social lives. Romance ignores chance in favor of fate, probabilities in favor of certainties, details in favor of destinies. It glorifies us and vilifies anyone who gets in our way. It turns love into a sugar high and crash and makes a mess of politics.

Change, the Not So New Norm

We talk about change all the time. Yet, in spite of the frequency with which it occurs, we are not skilled at managing it. Here are some tips to guide you through the process.

Is Virtual Virtue a Virtue or a Vice?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 Ambigamy
If you're a little troubled by the lightweight gesture of simply Praying for Paris, Je suis Charlie, or just clicking to superimpose the French Flag on our Facebook pictures, you're tapping into an old concern, whether little gestures are empty or useful.

The Link Between the Refugee Crisis and Climate Change Talks

Although it may not seem likely at first glance, many crises share a common source in human decision-making biases. Whether it is the refugee crisis, climate change or another crisis, the barriers formed by a preference for short-term gains and the status quo are hard to overcome.

Why the Freelance Economy Is a Social Tragedy in the Making

By Victor Lipman on November 12, 2015 Mind of the Manager
The Social Contract is dead. We're becoming a nation of freelancers. Corporate profits are very high and retirement prospects very low.

Why Try to Change Me Now?

It is commonly assumed that we love someone even though we know his flaws—as love is essentially not about the partner’s characteristics, but about the lover’s attitude. Accordingly, it is not fruitful to try to change the partner’s characteristics; it is the lover’s attitude that needs to change. There is some grain of truth in this view, but the story is more complex.

3 Ways to Enjoy (Pretty Much) Any Experience More

How to enliven our jaded palates and increase relish in our activities using simple methods.

20 Other Possible Reasons They Said No

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 10, 2015 Ambigamy
A rejection is not necessarily all about you. Here are some examples of other things it could be about.

Redesigning the Dollar

The recent discussion of putting a woman on the $10 bill to replace Alexander Hamilton (though others have suggested replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 instead) have made this an opportune moment to consider making more extensive changes in our currency.

Psychiatry’s Med Check: Is 15 Minutes Enough?

Goodbye 50 minute therapy visits, the new mode of treatment by psychiatrists are short medication-focused appointments. Here are some ideas to work with and hopefully change the status quo.

Why We Still Give A Man A Fish

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 09, 2015 Ambigamy
Every truism is a half-truth, and if you want to get at the other half ask yourself why, if it’s so damned true, do people have to keep repeating it?

Why Doesn’t Increased Wealth Always Make Countries Happier?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 09, 2015 Ulterior Motives
The United States seems to exist in a state of perpetual political campaign these days. Politicians play on people’s dissatisfaction and unhappiness as they talk about why they will be able to make things better. The hidden assumption of this work is that if the economy improves, people will be happier.

A Reasonable Dietary Goal for Today

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 08, 2015 Fighting Fear
Dieters fail because they think of dieting in the wrong way. Setting deadlines is counter-productive. Success in dieting can be measured each day

Loss Aversion and Romance

By Eyal Winter on November 07, 2015 Feeling Smart
Lazy and disheveled ranks as top deal breaker.

Is Marriage the Cure for Poverty?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 06, 2015 The Human Beast
Marriage is correlated with prosperity in the U.S. So many conservatives promote marriage as a financial elixir. Yet this perspective is scientifically flawed. It also suffers from too narrow a geographical focus on conditions in the U.S.

The Fallacy of Pavlov's Dog

Instead of training our employees (and spouses and children) to salivate on-command, we should be instilling them with the principles of total motivation.

How to Overcome Fear of Rejection

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 Ambigamy
Fear of rejection is largely fear of having to rethink your approach. Here are three sane ways to over- or under-reacting to negative feedback.

Five Steps to Avoid Going Broke Over the Holidays

By Michael F. Kay on November 05, 2015 Financial Life Focus
Halloween is over, but for some the real nightmare holiday is approaching.