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Behavioral Economics

Random thoughts on rational decline

Robert Teitelman | Posted 01.23.2014 | Business
Robert Teitelman

This has been a rough few weeks for Rational Man. In fact, this has been a difficult decade or more for the concept, central to both the Enlightenment...

The Subtle Science of Sex in Consumerism and Everyday Life

Troy Campbell | Posted 01.23.2014 | Science
Troy Campbell

I don't like the idea that my mind and body are driven by such basic needs. I don't like the idea that businesses can use sex to sell to me or even change my mental state. But it's important for us to look at the truth of human nature, even if it's uncomfortable.

Damn It Feels Good to Be a Nerd: Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D.

Troy Campbell | Posted 11.25.2013 | TV
Troy Campbell

Joss Whedon gave us the opportunity to celebrate our nerdiness. He could have delved deep into the lore and introduced obscure comic book characters, but he didn't. Instead he let us enjoy our current superhero knowledge.

How to Make Star Wars Good Again

Troy Campbell | Posted 11.16.2013 | Entertainment
Troy Campbell

Recently, Disney announced that the new batch of Star Wars movies will feature standalone "origin story" movies. This has brought hope and terror to nerds everywhere.

#MacWarped -- The Apple Marketing Machine

Troy Campbell | Posted 10.12.2013 | Business
Troy Campbell

If you've ever wondered how the "Apple is cool" narrative persists so strongly in our society, it's because Apple users' visions of reality have become totally warped -- they simply see everything that Apple does as cool and everything else as uncool.

Do You Know Your Future Self? Your Health Depends On It

Paul Spector, M.D. | Posted 09.08.2013 | Healthy Living
Paul Spector, M.D.

Research shows that if you are disconnected from an idea of yourself in the future, you are more likely to be a victim of temporal discounting when it comes to health behavior.

Luck and Splitting Hairs in the NBA Finals and Life

Troy Campbell | Posted 08.21.2013 | Sports
Troy Campbell

The Spurs tested the Heat, but the Heat prevailed not because they were a team destined to win or a team that was entirely "on a different level" than the Spurs. The Heat won because that are probably a little bit better and luck smiled on them.

Should Lawyers Be Required to Take Continuing Education Courses on Human Mental Processes?

Mark Baer | Posted 08.18.2013 | Divorce
Mark Baer

On May 23, 2012, I gave a presentation to the members of the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of the Financial Planning Association. The topic was "Are Atto...

Ikea's New Free Food Deal -- and the Powerful Psychology Behind It

Troy Campbell | Posted 08.02.2013 | Business
Troy Campbell

In the end what's so fascinating is that customers may be completely aware of how Ikea's deal will manipulate them. But they may be fine with it anyway.

The Best Version of You Is Better Than the Half-Assed Version of Someone Else

Troy Campbell | Posted 06.24.2013 | Business
Troy Campbell

Now this is not to say that people shouldn't address their weaknesses or abandon learning basic skills. But it does mean that individuals and our society need to recognize that people have different skills.

Why Do the Poor Complain So Little?

Marcelo Giugale | Posted 04.08.2013 | World
Marcelo Giugale

Do better-informed poor people demand better government? The evidence is mixed. New research shows widely different results across countries and across services.

Deep Thoughts, No Fooling

Randy Rosenberger | Posted 02.10.2013 | Healthy Living
Randy Rosenberger

It's not your fault that you don't think harder and better. You're not wired for it. Deep thinking requires effort, and no matter how hardworking you think you are, we don't like to expend the effort required to think hard. It's a subconscious thing.

Republicans Show Dangers of the "Reality Distortion Field"

Alex Frey | Posted 01.07.2013 | Business
Alex Frey

The trick is to develop enough confidence in the models that we are not tempted to manually override them when they contradict our own preciously-held view of the world. This is unfortunately also difficult in practice.

The Power Of Shaming People Into Paying Their Taxes

Reuters | Posted 12.29.2012 | Business

* Persuading delinquent taxpayers to do the right thing * At less cost than enforcement, behavioralists get results By N...

Gifts For Me, Myself And I This Holiday Season

The Huffington Post | Caroline Fairchild | Posted 11.01.2012 | Money

The season for giving is just around the corner. Giving to yourself, that is. Data from the National Federation of Retailers show a trend of “sel...

Desperately Seeking Stats: No Such Thing as Information Overload for Today's Consumers

Debra Coughlin | Posted 12.03.2012 | Business
Debra Coughlin

By combining our own proprietary research with a broad range of emerging work from academia, we have reached a simple, but eye-opening conclusion for marketers: it's not brands that make people feel good, but their decision to choose them that makes them feel good.

Thinking Fast and Slow and Poorly and Well

David K. Levine | Posted 11.22.2012 | Business
David K. Levine

The world is full of strange behavior. It is natural to theorize this is due to irrational biases. But often apparently strange behavior is the right solution to a complex problem.

The Retirement Game

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.07.2012 | Science
Wray Herbert

Why do people keep toiling long beyond when they have to? Of course, the lucky ones do it because they love their work, and others want to bequeath something to their kids or hedge against misfortune. But what about those who lack these motivations but earn too much money anyway?

Piggy Bank Apps Bring Seamless Saving To Smartphones

The Huffington Post | Catherine New | Posted 07.06.2012 | Money

Resist the urge to spend 99 cents on iTunes for a game and digitally toss that change into your piggy bank instead. That's the big idea behind one new...

Are Rich People Meaner?

The Huffington Post | Catherine New | Posted 07.05.2012 | Money

The rich are more likely to: a) Cut off other drivers. b) Be disinterested in the welfare of others. c) Cheat on a test to get ahead. d) Give m...

The Paradox of Allais' Effect

Michael R. Powers | Posted 07.20.2012 | Science
Michael R. Powers

In comparing Allais' two counterintuitive observations -- that pendulums behave oddly during eclipses and that human beings behave oddly when making decisions involving uncertainties -- I can't help feeling the former is much more important than the latter.

Myopic Misery: The Financial Cost of Sadness

Wray Herbert | Posted 07.10.2012 | Science
Wray Herbert

Apparently, sadness has the effect of bringing to mind "take the money and run" rationalizations, rapidly and elaborately, which can lead to lousy judgments and real financial losses.

How to Spot a Scoundrel: Fidgeting and Trust

Wray Herbert | Posted 06.26.2012 | Science
Wray Herbert

Since trust and cooperation are so essential to the smooth working of human society, it makes sense that people would have learned over eons both to send signals of trustworthiness and to interpret signs of malicious intent.

The Wrong Policy Prescription for Pakistan's Vaccine Program

Dr. Orin Levine | Posted 05.26.2012 | World
Dr. Orin Levine

Just because legislating immunization coverage works in the United States doesn't mean it will work in Pakistan. The main reason is that the drivers of under-vaccination in Pakistan and the United States are fundamentally different.

Success in the Market: New Rules or Old Brain?

Kevin J. Fleming, Ph.D. | Posted 05.21.2012 | Money
Kevin J. Fleming, Ph.D.

Making meaning is a fundamental brain addiction with a pesky non-discerning quality to it that makes it tough to know when it is serving you and when it isn't. To me this is the only rule one needs to remember.