Essential Reads

7 New Books to Read This Fall

The best new titles on psychology

Will Americans Eat Fewer Subway Sandwiches Because of Jared?

Despite negative publicity, effects on customers are likely to be short-lived.

Do Shoppers Benefit From Buying With Subscriptions?

Subscriptions are very popular but have many downsides for shoppers

What Shoppers Should Know About Charm Prices

Prices that end in “9" are common and influence buying behavior

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

What Most People Get Wrong About Generosity and Selfishness

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 in Ambigamy
People treat generosity as all good and selfishness as all bad. It's more complicated than that. Still, pretending it's that simple can be a great way to grab what we want.

7 New Books to Read This Fall

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in Give and Take
The best new reads on psychology

Making Sense of Common Sense

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on August 27, 2015 in Consumed
How understanding the taken-for-granted can enrich behavioral science

Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

By David Maxfield on August 26, 2015 in Crucial Conversations
The quiet, polite expression of doubt can turn the rest of the group from zombies into thinkers.

Amazon and Toxic Workplaces

By Ray Williams on August 26, 2015 in Wired for Success
A recent expose of Amazon’s work culture in a New York Times report brings into focus the growing problem of toxic work cultures in North America, one that will take a huge toll on long term productivity and employee well being.

The Culture of Precaution

Would you rather definitely lose ten dollars or a one percent chance of losing 1000 dollars? Perhaps not surprisingly, people would much prefer to lose the 10 dollars, than run a small risk of a large loss. Why?

How To Need Less Affirmation

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 26, 2015 in Ambigamy
We all need ego-strokes, but how many? Here are five ideas for going on an affirmation diet, without starving.

Will Americans Eat Fewer Subway Sandwiches Because of Jared?

Jared Fogle embodies the Subway brand so his reprehensible actions spell potential doom. However, I argue that any adverse effects to Subway will be temporary, and offer four explanations for such an outcome.

Your Three Languages and How to Speak Them Well

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Ambigamy
There's a lot of confusion about when it's best to be positive, negative and neutral. Here we sort it out.

Vegetarianism and Money: Surprising Results from a New Study

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Animals and Us
What the results of a new survey of the diets of Americans reveal about the connection between vegetarianism and household income.

The Nine Levers for Better Decisions

To help people make better decisions, we have nine levers to use: Clarifying goals, structuring the decision, training, checklists, incentives, behavioral engineering, picking the right people, using information technology, and designing better organizations. We don't have to be trapped by habits of using only one lever, such as training or incentives.

Psychology for Flourishing

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on August 23, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
“A shared story is the basis of the ability of any people to live together as an organized society.” Cultural stories or narratives shape attitudes and behaviors, influencing everyday psychological functioning. David Korten says that we have our story wrong, one that heads us toward self-destruction. There is an alternative, life-promoting story...

Why Doesn't Anyone Return Messages?

By Victor Lipman on August 21, 2015 in Mind of the Manager
Are people just too busy these days? Or lazy? Or oversaturated with media? And does anyone (besides me) care?

This Is Your Brain On College Football

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on August 21, 2015 in Obesely Speaking
Beyond Social Tribalism, BIRGing, CORFing, and Tailgating - the brain needs its football.

Nine Steps to Turn Your Money "Shoulds" Into Action

By Michael F. Kay on August 20, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
When was the last time you rocked a “should”? As in, "I should replace that burned out light bulb." "I should exercise more often and eat better."

Do Shoppers Benefit From Buying With Subscriptions?

Most products and services can now be purchased with subscriptions. In this article, I will explain two types of subscriptions and the pros and cons of subscription-based buying. For most shoppers, the potential downsides of subscriptions far outweigh the benefits.

When Kindness Backfires: Salary Increases Cause Unhappiness

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on August 18, 2015 in A Sideways View
Most of us have seen the TV program about Undercover Bosses many of whom are surprised by the loyalty and dedication of their staff. But this is the story of a kind and generous boss who was to pay a high price for his generosity

Cookie Dilemma

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on August 17, 2015 in One Among Many
When you leave a cookie and the choice to eat it to others, you better mean it. Otherwise, you are not being socially mindful but hypocritical, or just dumb.

A Moving Experience

By E E Smith on August 17, 2015 in Not Born Yesterday
Psychologists list it among the most traumatic things we do as human beings, and I can believe it. I also believe that it gets harder as we grow older. Whether you call it pulling up stakes, relocating, moving on, or as my teenaged daughter used to say, "being uprooted," it can be painful.

Why Image Is Everything

By Douglas Van Praet on August 16, 2015 in Unconscious Branding
Research reveals the irrational reasons we buy brands.

Does the Impulse to Gossip Have a Silver Lining for Markets?

The urge to let others know when you've been taken advantage of, and instinctively knowing that almost all of us have it, may play a big role in helping markets to function well--most recently including ones relying on online reviews such as eBay, airbnb, and trip advisor. I describe a novel laboratory experiment that demonstrates the tendency to tell in its purest form.

Controlling CEO Pay

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on August 15, 2015 in Hidden Motives
The SEC recently established a new rule requiring most companies to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to that of their average employee, but what will be the likely consequence?

4 Creative Ways to Become a Better Manager

By Victor Lipman on August 14, 2015 in Mind of the Manager
To develop managers, we tend to focus on a relatively predictable skill set. These four less expected, creative approaches can help improve management performance. It's not about sensitivity, it's about productivity.

What Shoppers Should Know About Charm Prices

Charm prices (prices that end with the digit 9) are used by retailers because they encourage purchases. In this article, I will explain why charm pricing works and discuss four ways in which shoppers can minimize the effects of charm prices on their buying behavior.

Why Income Inequality Threatens Democracy

By Ray Williams on August 12, 2015 in Wired for Success
Rising economic inequality is threatening not only economic progress but also the democratic political system in the U.S.

The Altruism of the Rich and the Poor

By Jesse Marczyk on August 12, 2015 in Pop Psych
A new paper finds that the rich tend to be more charitable than previously-studied groups. Interestingly enough, the poor are also a rather charitable bunch. How can we explain both of these facts?

Get Into Your Money Groove

By Michael F. Kay on August 12, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
We each have something that is uniquely our thing. It might be hitting a golf ball, working in a laboratory, counseling people, building furniture or flower arranging.

Agri-therapy Helps Vets With PTSD

By Eric Newhouse on August 12, 2015 in Invisible Wounds
Retired Army Staff Sgt. Eric Grandon still suffers from PTSD, but he's finding that farming keeps him focused. His goal is to use his farm to help other vets find peace after coming home from war.

What It Takes to Support a Conscious Disruptor

By Miki Kashtan Ph.D. on August 11, 2015 in Acquired Spontaneity
In a world in which exchange is the norm, letting go of any accounting, giving as much as I can, and asking for all I want, are radical acts. Every step of the way, I have encountered people who tell me what I am trying to do isn’t possible.