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Behavioral Economics

The Dangers of a Glass Half-Full: Don't Let a Sunny Outlook Threaten Your Finances

Scott Burns | Posted 03.17.2015 | Money
Scott Burns

Looking on the bright side may help improve your social life, health and career. Unfortunately, your optimism may also hide risks to your finances.

Laziness Is More Complex Than You Think: How a More Nuanced Approach Can Help Us Overcome Laziness When Needed

Jon Jachimowicz | Posted 03.05.2015 | Healthy Living
Jon Jachimowicz

We also need to recognize that sometimes, being lazy is far from a sin. After all, isn't getting to take a deserved break why we expend effort in the first place?

How Tinder Is Changing the Dating Game

Kelsey Clark | Posted 02.26.2015 | College
Kelsey Clark

In a dating world in which one-word text messages warrant excitement and a "match" is made with the swipe of a finger, you can't help but wonder... Are we to blame, or is it all Tinder's fault?

America Desperately Needs to Double Its Savings Rate: Here's How to Do it

Scott Burns | Posted 04.04.2015 | Money
Scott Burns

In the past, much of the workforce had a portion of wages seamlessly and automatically reserved for the future in investments managed by employers. Now, most of us need to make an active choice to put money toward distant goals.

Randomized Controlled Trials: Powerful, But Only When Used Right

Jon Jachimowicz | Posted 03.25.2015 | Business
Jon Jachimowicz

RCTs are important. They are an outstanding tool that researchers have to obtain better insights. However, RCTs need to be designed better: we need more intervention arms, better control groups, better definition and measurement of other possibly affected behaviors, and longitudinal designs including follow-ups to evaluate long-term effectiveness.

The Psychology of 2014: Understanding Protests, Ice Buckets, Taylor Swift and More

Troy Campbell | Posted 03.08.2015 | Science
Troy Campbell

It dominated Facebook feeds for weeks -- everyone from your high school girlfriend to your college roommate to your extended family seemed to join in. The trend swept the nation, yet the question remains: why was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so successful?

3 Simple Strategies to Keep Your Financial Resolutions

Shahar Ziv | Posted 03.02.2015 | Money
Shahar Ziv

As January kicks off, close to half of Americans will make resolutions on the perennial quest for self-improvement. Predictably, losing weight continues to be the top goal for 2015. Money-related resolutions, however, rank among the favorites.

You Don't Know What It Means to be Successful

Danielle Posa | Posted 02.07.2015 | Healthy Living
Danielle Posa

Don't get caught up in the machine. And if you think you're stuck, or that you don't have any other options because you can't get out of your job, or (insert reason here), just simply start talking about what you want. You might be surprised how quickly people want to be part of it, and who would be willing to help you get there.

The Unfulfilled Potential of Diapers

Michael Feigelson | Posted 01.17.2015 | Impact
Michael Feigelson

There are innovators working to give moms and dads the nudge they need to keep the conversation going even in the inevitable moments of exhaustion and frustration.

In Defense of 'Nudging': When the Government Nudges, Everyone Wins

Jon Jachimowicz | Posted 12.29.2014 | Healthy Living
Jon Jachimowicz

'Nudging' -- intentionally designing our environments to make certain decisions more likely than others -- can be an effective and ethically sound tool to help people make better decisions for themselves and for society at large.

Four Proven, Easy Ways to Secure Your Retirement

Scott Burns | Posted 12.26.2014 | Money
Scott Burns

Saving more is critical to your wealth. Use these four proven strategies to raise your investment rate and secure your retirement.

Choosing Smart Reference Groups Can Improve Outcomes and How We Feel about Them

Jon Jachimowicz | Posted 12.07.2014 | Business
Jon Jachimowicz

By being aware of and consciously guiding our attention toward other, less-apparent possible references, we can guide our behavior and feelings.

The Joy of Judging and Why Michael Bay Gets to Keep on Making Movies

Troy Campbell | Posted 11.29.2014 | Entertainment
Troy Campbell

Well, modern consumer scientific research finally has an answer to this puzzling question. And the answer is not just the world has poor taste in movies. The answer is we love judging, or in this case, bashing Bay.

The New Books to Read This Fall

Adam Grant | Posted 11.04.2014 | Business
Adam Grant

My favorite part of being an author is writing. A close second is finding new books in my mailbox. This fall, there's an unusually exciting crop of big idea and business books about human behavior, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the fundamental questions of success, meaning, and happiness in work and life.

Why Modern Consumers Crave Both Freedom and Structure

Troy Campbell | Posted 10.27.2014 | Business
Troy Campbell

Consider even the mundane phenomenon of self-serve frozen yogurt. The reason frozen yogurt has become so popular may not be entirely due to its taste, but to the opportunity for constrained creativity.

Irrational Markets Or Irrational Individuals? Designing 'Smart' Environments Improve Decision-Making and Make Markets More Efficient

Jon Jachimowicz | Posted 10.14.2014 | Business
Jon Jachimowicz

How can markets be made efficient when people aren't? Apparent market failures are often attributed to individuals making apparent 'irrational' decisions. However, I argue that markets can be made more efficient when creating environments for individuals that aid their decision-making.

Have and Have Not: The Widening Gap

Wray Herbert | Posted 10.01.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Little is known about people's thoughts about wages and fairness. In general, people favor some threshold of fairness, but what is this threshold -- and how widely is it shared? Two psychological scientists have recently begun exploring these important questions.

Our Oceans Are Dying: Mobilizing an Indifferent Public to Confront This Crisis

Bernard Starr | Posted 08.27.2014 | Green
Bernard Starr

If more environmental studies and more alarming news will not mobilize leaders and the public for an all-out commitment to the preservation of our small vulnerable corner of the universe, what will? Perhaps we need to shift our focus from information to changing human behavior.

If We Want People To Eat Real Food, We Must Make It Easier To Eat Real Food

Brad Stulberg | Posted 08.13.2014 | Healthy Living
Brad Stulberg

When it comes to eating healthy, the deck is rigged against us. If we are going to invest in a broad campaign telling people to "eat real food," we must also invest in a broad campaign to make eating real food an "easier" choice to make.

Why Behavioral Economics Is Cool, and I'm Not

Adam Grant | Posted 08.13.2014 | Business
Adam Grant

Psychology has come a long way since Freud, but the brand hasn't caught up. Ideally, we'll start rebranding psychology as a source of interesting, rigorous ideas.

Unexpected Modern Status Symbols

Emily Guy Birken | Posted 08.03.2014 | Money
Emily Guy Birken

It's hardly surprising to learn that status-seeking individuals choose to buy goods and services based on how impressive the cost is. What is disconcerting is to realize that it's not just that typical high-prestige goods like handbags, luxury cars and the like that can become markers of status.

Why L.A. Locals Are Terrible Tour Guides

Troy Campbell | Posted 07.21.2014 | Los Angeles
Troy Campbell

A few summers ago, I took my girlfriend to my Californian home. I wanted her to love California, so I took to her to the special unknown, off-the-beat...

Health Care Design and the Experience of Running a Marathon

Brad Stulberg | Posted 07.06.2014 | Healthy Living
Brad Stulberg

By evaluating the total marathon experience, we can identify key components that make running an entirely unnatural distance so appealing, and consider how we might apply them to health behavior change.

Behavioral Economics, Social Norms, Excessive Drinking and Why Everyone Wants to Be a 'Face in the Crowd'

Adam Winstock | Posted 06.24.2014 | Healthy Living
Adam Winstock

Many smokers will say, "of course smoking kills -- other people, not me. I've got good genes." Holding this dangerous, usually inaccurate perception means we are less likely to put things in place to reduce our risk of harm.

Why We Need Underdogs in Basketball and Life

Troy Campbell | Posted 05.24.2014 | Sports
Troy Campbell

At the end of the day, so many of us feel like underdogs and we want nothing more than to see another underdog succeed. Luckily for us, we can count on the annual March Madness to provide a few underdogs success stories.