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Behavioral Scientist

Behavioral Scientist Original and thought-provoking reports from the front lines of behavioral science. Learn more: behavioralscientist.org

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The Open Secret of What Works—and What Doesn’t—for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion A new book explores why corporate di...
10/17/2022
The Open Secret of What Works—and What Doesn’t—for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - By Elizabeth Weingarten - Behavioral Scientist

The Open Secret of What Works—and What Doesn’t—for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A new book explores why corporate diversity trainings have endured despite the evidence they aren’t effective, and what does work to make progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion inside organizations.

A new book explores why corporate diversity trainings have endured despite the evidence they aren’t effective, and what does work to make progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion inside organizations.

A deeper understanding of what algorithms do and how they’re being deployed can save us from the whiplash between revere...
10/17/2022
Staying Smart in a Smart World: A Conversation with Gerd Gigerenzer - By Evan Nesterak - Behavioral Scientist

A deeper understanding of what algorithms do and how they’re being deployed can save us from the whiplash between reverence and resignation. Our conversation with Gerd Gigerenzer about his new book, How to Stay Smart in a Smart World

A deeper understanding of what algorithms do and how they’re being deployed can save us from the whiplash between reverence and resignation.

From the archive this week: Hurricane Ian flooded Florida, and cut power to swathes of the Caribbean. Even though meteor...
10/11/2022
The Way We Process Risks Can Keep Us in Harm’s Way - Behavioral Scientist

From the archive this week: Hurricane Ian flooded Florida, and cut power to swathes of the Caribbean. Even though meteorologists warned people in its path to evacuate, many chose to stay behind. What can such disasters teach us about how people assess risk? Tom Tasche unpacked this question in the wake of a flurry of other natural disasters—in 2018.

How the way we process risk can keep us in harms way by Tom Tasche

In a perfect world, we would respond to risks regardless of when the last disaster hit the country.

What happens when policy is left deliberately vague, regulations intentionally unclear? Sludge. Kelli Garcia reviews the...
10/11/2022
How a Sludge-Filled Policy Stoked Uncertainty and Fear for Immigrant Families - By Kelli Garcia - Behavioral Scientist

What happens when policy is left deliberately vague, regulations intentionally unclear? Sludge. Kelli Garcia reviews the ripple effects of fear and uncertainty in the immigrant community caused by an unclear policy about public benefits.

In 2019, a harsh immigration policy deterred many immigrants from applying for the public assistance they needed. A revamped rule aims to right that wrong.

This week, Geoffrey Cohen explores why feelings of belonging matter. “When we perceive threats to our sense of belonging...
10/11/2022
Understanding and Overcoming Belonging Uncertainty - By Geoffrey Cohen - Behavioral Scientist

This week, Geoffrey Cohen explores why feelings of belonging matter. “When we perceive threats to our sense of belonging, our horizon of possibility shrinks,” he writes. “We tend to interpret ourselves, other people, and the situation in a defensive and self-protective way.

Feeling uncertain if you belong is normal. But for some, the uncertainty persists longer than others. A duo of psychologists designed an intervention to change that.

How a Sludge-Filled Policy Stoked Uncertainty and Fear for Immigrant Families Kelli Garcia on how an ambiguous Public Ch...
10/10/2022
How a Sludge-Filled Policy Stoked Uncertainty and Fear for Immigrant Families - By Kelli Garcia - Behavioral Scientist

How a Sludge-Filled Policy Stoked Uncertainty and Fear for Immigrant Families

Kelli Garcia on how an ambiguous Public Charge Rule needlessly deterred families from applying for the benefits for which they were eligible.

In 2019, a harsh immigration policy deterred many immigrants from applying for the public assistance they needed. A revamped rule aims to right that wrong.

"Nudging’s value stems from its modest but unusual success in solving two hard problems. One is changing people’s behavi...
10/09/2022
Realistic Reasons to be Bullish on Nudging - by Ed Bradon - Behavioral Scientist

"Nudging’s value stems from its modest but unusual success in solving two hard problems. One is changing people’s behavior … The second is getting stuff done in large organizations, particularly government."

Nudges won’t solve every problem, but they can solve two hard problems well. And that’s reason to be optimistic about their future.

"When we experience a loss through death, our brain initially cannot comprehend that the dimensions we usually use to lo...
10/09/2022
Walking in the Dark: Creating a New Virtual Map in Your Brain After Loss - By Mary-Frances O'Connor - Behavioral Scientist

"When we experience a loss through death, our brain initially cannot comprehend that the dimensions we usually use to locate our loved ones simply do not exist anymore."

Here is the neurobiology of grief: the difference between an expected version of the world with your loved one in it and the actual world you are unwantedly experiencing without them. This is a learning problem, and it can only be solved with new experiences over time.

"Choice deprivation was clearly the most common experience, with participants reporting have too few options 51 percent ...
10/09/2022
Is Having Too Many Choices (Versus Too Few) Really the Greater Problem for Consumers? - Behavioral Scientist

"Choice deprivation was clearly the most common experience, with participants reporting have too few options 51 percent of the time. In contrast, participants reported having more options than desired only 14 percent of the time."

A new study featuring more than 7,000 participants from six countries found that choice deprivation—a feeling of not having enough to choose from—not choice overload is the most common consumer experience.

A new study featuring more than 7,000 participants from six countries found that choice deprivation—a feeling of not hav...
10/03/2022
Is Having Too Many Choices (Versus Too Few) Really the Greater Problem for Consumers? - Behavioral Scientist

A new study featuring more than 7,000 participants from six countries found that choice deprivation—a feeling of not having enough to choose from—not choice overload is the most common consumer experience.

New from Nathan Cheek, Elena Reutskaja, Barry Schwartz, and Sheena Iyengar

A new study featuring more than 7,000 participants from six countries found that choice deprivation—a feeling of not having enough to choose from—not choice overload is the most common consumer experience.

"If there is anything that the global setbacks of recent years should have taught us, it’s that forward progress cannot ...
10/02/2022
Realistic Reasons to be Bullish on Nudging - by Ed Bradon - Behavioral Scientist

"If there is anything that the global setbacks of recent years should have taught us, it’s that forward progress cannot be taken for granted. In nudging, we’ve got a tool with which to make some of that progress." — Ed Bradon

Nudges won’t solve every problem, but they can solve two hard problems well. And that’s reason to be optimistic about their future.

"White lies are less acceptable in the Dutch context: they are not taken to mean that you protect your friend or relativ...
10/02/2022
Americans Are Fake and the Dutch Are Rude! - By Batja Mesquita - Behavioral Scientist

"White lies are less acceptable in the Dutch context: they are not taken to mean that you protect your friend or relative, as they clearly are to some of my American friends. They rather have the meaning of keeping you out, and of breaking connection." — Basta Mesquita

What I learned about emotions when I traded Amsterdam for Ann Arbor.

"Nudging’s value stems from its modest but unusual success in solving two hard problems. One is changing people’s behavi...
09/27/2022
Realistic Reasons to be Bullish on Nudging - by Ed Bradon - Behavioral Scientist

"Nudging’s value stems from its modest but unusual success in solving two hard problems. One is changing people’s behavior … The second is getting stuff done in large organizations, particularly government." — Ed Bradon

Nudges won’t solve every problem, but they can solve two hard problems well. And that’s reason to be optimistic about their future.

The Brain Meets World Event Series begins this Wednesday with Barry Schwartz. In our conversation, we’ll discuss how our...
09/26/2022
Announcing: Brain Meets World Event Series - Behavioral Scientist

The Brain Meets World Event Series begins this Wednesday with Barry Schwartz. In our conversation, we’ll discuss how our theories of human nature, even if they’re false at first, can become true by shaping our social institutions that in turn shape us. For more info on the four-part event series and how to attend head here:

In its print form, Brain Meets World takes readers on a hero’s journey of ideas, through prose, poetry, historical archives, and art. Now we’ll explore these journeys in a series of live conversations this fall.

Nudges won’t solve every problem, but they can help solve two hard problems. And that’s reason to be optimistic about th...
09/26/2022
Realistic Reasons to be Bullish on Nudging - by Ed Bradon - Behavioral Scientist

Nudges won’t solve every problem, but they can help solve two hard problems. And that’s reason to be optimistic about their future. This week, Ed Bradon writes there are "realistic reasons to be bullish on nudging."

Nudges won’t solve every problem, but they can solve two hard problems well. And that’s reason to be optimistic about their future.

"For the brain, your loved one is simultaneously gone and also everlasting, and you are walking through two worlds at th...
09/21/2022
Walking in the Dark: Creating a New Virtual Map in Your Brain After Loss - By Mary-Frances O'Connor - Behavioral Scientist

"For the brain, your loved one is simultaneously gone and also everlasting, and you are walking through two worlds at the same time." — Mary-Frances O'Connor on the neuroscience of grief and loss

Here is the neurobiology of grief: the difference between an expected version of the world with your loved one in it and the actual world you are unwantedly experiencing without them. This is a learning problem, and it can only be solved with new experiences over time.

Check out the September Research Lead. Among the questions that this month’s selections ask:  - How does winning or losi...
09/21/2022
Research Lead: Grammy Awards Change Artists, A Bias Toward Decisiveness, Think Like an Anthropologist, and More - Heather Graci & Evan Nesterak - Behavioral Scientist

Check out the September Research Lead. Among the questions that this month’s selections ask:

- How does winning or losing a Grammy Award influence musicians’ later work?
- What is the link between friendship and social capital?
- Do we experience loss aversion for information?
- How do anthropologists try to make sense of the world?

The Research Lead is a monthly digest connecting you to noteworthy academic and applied research from around the behavioral sciences. Here are our picks for September 2022.

We don’t always have to fight complexity with complexity, argues Gerd Gigerenzer, and knowing when algorithms will outpe...
09/20/2022
One Data Point Can Beat Big Data - By Gerd Gigerenzer - Behavioral Scientist

We don’t always have to fight complexity with complexity, argues Gerd Gigerenzer, and knowing when algorithms will outperform simple data and when they won’t is the key to deploying them wisely.

In an unstable world, big data isn’t always best. Reducing the amount of complexity can lead to more accurate predictions.

Announcing: Brain Meets World Event Series — In its print form, Brain Meets World takes readers on a hero’s journey of i...
09/20/2022
Announcing: Brain Meets World Event Series - Behavioral Scientist

Announcing: Brain Meets World Event Series — In its print form, Brain Meets World takes readers on a hero’s journey of ideas, through prose, poetry, historical archives, and art. Now we’ll explore these journeys in a series of live conversations this fall.

In its print form, Brain Meets World takes readers on a hero’s journey of ideas, through prose, poetry, historical archives, and art. Now we’ll explore these journeys in a series of live conversations this fall.

Check out the September Research Lead, a monthly digest connecting you to noteworthy academic and applied research from ...
09/20/2022
Research Lead: Grammy Awards Change Artists, A Bias Toward Decisiveness, Think Like an Anthropologist, and More - Heather Graci & Evan Nesterak - Behavioral Scientist

Check out the September Research Lead, a monthly digest connecting you to noteworthy academic and applied research from around the behavioral sciences.

The Research Lead is a monthly digest connecting you to noteworthy academic and applied research from around the behavioral sciences. Here are our picks for September 2022.

Science is often presented in the form of the finished product—the answer. But we don’t read a novel solely for its endi...
09/06/2022
Print Edition #2 — Brain Meets World - Behavioral Scientist

Science is often presented in the form of the finished product—the answer. But we don’t read a novel solely for its ending, and the allure of travel isn’t the destination alone. Similarly, the power of science is its process, and what drives that process are questions, not answers.

That's the spirit with which we created Brain Meets World, our second print edition and event series.

Through prose, poetry, historical archives, and art, Brain Meets World takes readers on a hero’s journey of ideas. Across seven chapters totaling 160 pages, articles by leading behavioral scientists and science writers provide glimpses into the electric, surprising, painful, and peculiar paths that our ideas take—and take us on.

Brain Meets World invites you to be a part of the conversation, to make connections, to fill in gaps, to ask questions, and take ideas in new directions.

Each copy of the printed magazine comes with a ticket to the Brain Meets World virtual event series (schedule to be announced in September, 2022). The series will feature conversations with the scientists, writers, and artists featured in the print edition and is offered exclusively to Brain Meets World supporters.

Copies ship anywhere in the world, and every purchase supports Behavioral Scientist, a fiscally sponsored 501(c)3 nonprofit. Look inside Brain Meets World...

Through prose, poetry, historical archives, and art, Brain Meets World takes readers on a hero’s journey of ideas. Across seven chapters (161 pages), articles authored by leading behavioral scientists and science writers provide glimpses into the electric, surprising, painful, and peculiar paths t...

Can one data point beat big data? In an unstable world, big data isn’t always best. Reducing the amount of complexity ca...
09/04/2022
One Data Point Can Beat Big Data - By Gerd Gigerenzer - Behavioral Scientist

Can one data point beat big data? In an unstable world, big data isn’t always best. Reducing the amount of complexity can lead to more accurate predictions, writes Gerd Gigerenzer this week.

In an unstable world, big data isn’t always best. Reducing the amount of complexity can lead to more accurate predictions.

"Complex algorithms work best in well-defined, stable situations where large amounts of data are available. Human intell...
08/31/2022
One Data Point Can Beat Big Data - By Gerd Gigerenzer - Behavioral Scientist

"Complex algorithms work best in well-defined, stable situations where large amounts of data are available. Human intelligence has evolved to deal with uncertainty, independent of whether big or small data are available." — Gerd Gigerenzer in "One Data Point Can Beat Big Data"

In an unstable world, big data isn’t always best. Reducing the amount of complexity can lead to more accurate predictions.

In an unstable world, big data isn’t always best. Reducing the amount of complexity can lead to more accurate prediction...
08/31/2022
One Data Point Can Beat Big Data - By Gerd Gigerenzer - Behavioral Scientist

In an unstable world, big data isn’t always best. Reducing the amount of complexity can lead to more accurate predictions. Gerd Gigerenzer on how "one data point can beat big data."

In an unstable world, big data isn’t always best. Reducing the amount of complexity can lead to more accurate predictions.

Make the most of the last few weeks of summer by revisiting Ashley Whillans’s “Time Confetti and the Broken Promise of L...
08/26/2022
Time Confetti and the Broken Promise of Leisure - By Ashley Whillans - Behavioral Scientist

Make the most of the last few weeks of summer by revisiting Ashley Whillans’s “Time Confetti and the Broken Promise of Leisure.” She explains how slicing and dicing our time with an email here and a text there can make us feel like, no matter how much time we have, it’s just never enough.

We have more free time than ever before, but it’s so sliced and diced that we feel more time poor than ever. Here’s how to notice and overcome the time confetti in your life.

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