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New Research, Resources, and Talks worth knowing about in the Research Lead — Disputed Data on Crime-Fighting Tanks, Par...
03/26/2021
Research Lead: Disputed Data on Crime-Fighting Tanks, Parsing the Importance of Passion, Boosting Organizations with Behavioral Science, and More - By Caitlyn Finton & Michaela Barnett - Behavioral Scientist

New Research, Resources, and Talks worth knowing about in the Research Lead — Disputed Data on Crime-Fighting Tanks, Parsing the Importance of Passion, Boosting Organizations with Behavioral Science, and More

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 March 2021.

Scott Barry Kaufman speaks with Simon Baron-Cohen about Baron-Cohen’s new book, The Pattern Seekers, which makes the cas...
03/26/2021
Exploring the Links Between Autism and Invention - By Scott Barry Kaufman - Behavioral Scientist

Scott Barry Kaufman speaks with Simon Baron-Cohen about Baron-Cohen’s new book, The Pattern Seekers, which makes the case that the same genes that give rise to autism are and have been crucial to humanity’s propensity to invent and innovate.

Scott Barry Kaufman speaks with Simon Baron-Cohen about Baron-Cohen’s new book, The Pattern Seekers, which makes the case that the same genes that give rise to autism are and have been crucial to humanity's propensity to invent and innovate.

Psychologists Scott Barry Kaufman and Simon Baron-Cohen recently discussed the link between invention and autism. Baron-...
03/22/2021
Exploring the Links Between Autism and Invention - By Scott Barry Kaufman - Behavioral Scientist

Psychologists Scott Barry Kaufman and Simon Baron-Cohen recently discussed the link between invention and autism. Baron-Cohen’s new book, The Pattern Seekers, argues that the same genes we find in autistic individuals helped Homo sapiens emerge as inventors extraordinaire over the past 70,000 years.

Scott Barry Kaufman speaks with Simon Baron-Cohen about Baron-Cohen’s new book, The Pattern Seekers, which makes the case that the same genes that give rise to autism are and have been crucial to humanity's propensity to invent and innovate.

Each month, we search academic journals, applied outlets, and talks and seminar series for the emerging ideas that we th...
03/22/2021
Research Lead: Disputed Data on Crime-Fighting Tanks, Parsing the Importance of Passion, Boosting Organizations with Behavioral Science, and More - By Caitlyn Finton & Michaela Barnett - Behavioral Scientist

Each month, we search academic journals, applied outlets, and talks and seminar series for the emerging ideas that we think are worth knowing more about. Writing in a brief, digestible form, we connect you to science you might apply in your life or at work, shed light on today’s social and cultural issues, and instill a sense of wonder and curiosity about the questions scientists are asking and what they’re finding out. This month’s Research Lead, by Caitlyn Finton and Michaela Barnett, highlights 11 such ideas and insights. Dive in!

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 March 2021.

Should nudging penalize people that differ from the average just because, on the whole, a policy would benefit the popul...
03/21/2021
The Future of Nudging Will Be Personal - By Stuart Mills - Behavioral Scientist

Should nudging penalize people that differ from the average just because, on the whole, a policy would benefit the population?” Stuart Mills offers ideas for how nudges can evolve and solve the problem of heterogeneity.

While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story could be different.

What Dreams May Come and Why and How: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreams
03/20/2021
What Dreams May Come and Why and How - By Caitlyn Finton - Behavioral Scientist

What Dreams May Come and Why and How: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreams

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, and more on the science of dreams: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreaming

"California is banning companies from using 'dark patterns,' a sneaky website design that makes things like canceling a ...
03/19/2021
What We’re Reading Archive - Behavioral Scientist

"California is banning companies from using 'dark patterns,' a sneaky website design that makes things like canceling a subscription frustratingly difficult" by Allana Akhtar for Business Insider, plus more of what we're reading this week:

March 19, 2021 California Is Banning Companies from Using ‘Dark Patterns,’ a Sneaky Website Design that Makes Things Like Canceling a Subscription Frustratingly Difficult By Allana Akhtar Business Insider

"Salvador Dalí had his key-over-plate technique. He’d hold a key right over the end of the chair and think about a paint...
03/19/2021
What Dreams May Come and Why and How - By Caitlyn Finton - Behavioral Scientist

"Salvador Dalí had his key-over-plate technique. He’d hold a key right over the end of the chair and think about a painting he wanted to make. As he fell asleep, the key dropped and woke him up, and he got an image in his mind."

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, and more on the science of dreams: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreaming

The Case for Handgun Waiting Periods — A mandatory waiting period before buying a handgun actually enjoys widespread sup...
03/19/2021
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The Case for Handgun Waiting Periods — A mandatory waiting period before buying a handgun actually enjoys widespread support. What’s more, behavioral science backs it up too.

This is a 403 error, and it's not as ominous as it sounds. Bitly can only show this page to people who have permission to see it. Maybe what you are looking for can be found at Bitly.com.

In their new book, When Brains Dream, Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold, explore the science of dreaming. Caitlyn Finto...
03/18/2021
What Dreams May Come and Why and How - By Caitlyn Finton - Behavioral Scientist

In their new book, When Brains Dream, Antonio Zadra and Robert Stickgold, explore the science of dreaming. Caitlyn Finton caught up with Stickgold to learn more about how we can study dreams and bust some commonly held ideas about dreaming.

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, and more on the science of dreams: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreaming

“While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story might...
03/18/2021
The Future of Nudging Will Be Personal - By Stuart Mills - Behavioral Scientist

“While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story might be different,” writes Stuart Mills. “Should nudging penalize people that differ from the average just because, on the whole, a policy would benefit the population?” He offers ideas for how nudges can evolve and solve the problem of heterogeneity.

While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story could be different.

The latest insights on human behavior and decision-making delivered to your inbox each week. 📬Sign up for the Behavioral...
03/18/2021
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The Behavioral Scientist is a non-profit digital magazine. Our mission is to make the valuable insights gathered from behavioral science accessible and useful to society. We publish commentaries and conversations on current events, culture, and research. Each week, we send our email edition, featur...

Personalized nudges are the next frontier for choice architects, argues Stuart Mills this week. He explains why and how ...
03/18/2021
The Future of Nudging Will Be Personal - By Stuart Mills - Behavioral Scientist

Personalized nudges are the next frontier for choice architects, argues Stuart Mills this week. He explains why and how personalization could help develop more effective interventions, along with some of the hurdles that need to be cleared.

While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story could be different.

In a Q&A with dream scientist Robert Stickgold this week, he reveals that it’s a myth that we only dream during REM slee...
03/17/2021
What Dreams May Come and Why and How - By Caitlyn Finton - Behavioral Scientist

In a Q&A with dream scientist Robert Stickgold this week, he reveals that it’s a myth that we only dream during REM sleep, tells a story involving French nobility, perfumes, and early-dream experiments, and describes a disturbing corporate initiative to litter our dreams (“the last bastion of our free mind”) with advertisements.

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, and more on the science of dreams: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreaming

The Year Of Choosing Dangerously by Maggie Koerth for FiveThirtyEight, plus more of what we're reading this week: https:...
03/17/2021

The Year Of Choosing Dangerously by Maggie Koerth for FiveThirtyEight, plus more of what we're reading this week: https://buff.ly/2IeHrG8

After each catastrophe of this past year, one idea may have echoed through your mind: this was preventable. If you’re ye...
03/17/2021
To Solve Problems Before They Happen, You Need to Unite the Right People - Dan Heath - Behavioral Scientist

After each catastrophe of this past year, one idea may have echoed through your mind: this was preventable. If you’re yearning for proactive problem-solving, revisit Dan Heath’s piece from our archive on how to do just that. The first step? Bringing together the right collection of collaborators.

When everyone was telling teenagers to “just say no” to drugs and alcohol, a team in Iceland was figuring out what teenagers could say yes to.

“When you wake someone up from REM sleep and run them through 60 of these word pairs, you suddenly discover that they’re...
03/17/2021
What Dreams May Come and Why and How - By Caitlyn Finton - Behavioral Scientist

“When you wake someone up from REM sleep and run them through 60 of these word pairs, you suddenly discover that they’re faster on hot-chocolate than they are on hot-cold. They’re faster on thief-wrong than they are on right-wrong. The brain seems to be selectively, preferentially, and certainly more rapidly accessing weak associations than strong ones.”

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, and more on the science of dreams: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreaming

The future of nudging will be personal, argues Stuart Mills. In his piece this week, he explains how we can create more ...
03/17/2021
The Future of Nudging Will Be Personal - By Stuart Mills - Behavioral Scientist

The future of nudging will be personal, argues Stuart Mills. In his piece this week, he explains how we can create more effective nudges by personalizing choice (the options someone is nudged toward) and delivery (the way they’re nudged, e.g. norms vs defaults).

While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story could be different.

Salvador Dali put himself in a dream-like state to help find inspiration for in his paintings. With new tech, researcher...
03/17/2021
What Dreams May Come and Why and How - By Caitlyn Finton - Behavioral Scientist

Salvador Dali put himself in a dream-like state to help find inspiration for in his paintings. With new tech, researchers are trying to tap into his process to induce creativity. More on dream hacking and the science of dreams in this week’s interview with Professor Robert Stickgold.

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, and more on the science of dreams: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreaming

When a nudge is applied broadly, it’s aiming for an improvement on average in the targeted population—which, Stuart Mill...
03/15/2021
The Future of Nudging Will Be Personal - By Stuart Mills - Behavioral Scientist

When a nudge is applied broadly, it’s aiming for an improvement on average in the targeted population—which, Stuart Mills points out, might come at the expense of certain individuals. One solution to this problem? Getting personal.

While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story could be different.

While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story could ...
03/15/2021
The Future of Nudging Will Be Personal - By Stuart Mills - Behavioral Scientist

While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story could be different. It’s time nudges got personal, argues Stuart Mills.

While a nudge might appear effective because a population benefited on average, at the individual level the story could be different.

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, an...
03/15/2021
What Dreams May Come and Why and How - By Caitlyn Finton - Behavioral Scientist

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, and more on the science of dreams with Robert Stickgold.

Dream research began before Freud, REM sleep isn’t the only stage when we dream, how researchers study dream hacking, and more on the science of dreams: A Conversation with Robert Stickgold on the Science of Dreaming

"Many laboratories (and indeed, most modern universities) operate like a feudal system: stark hierarchies of absolute po...
03/11/2021
Poorly Run Labs Are a Threat to Behavioral Science, But Democratic Principles Offer a Way Forward - By Jeffrey Lees - Behavioral Scientist

"Many laboratories (and indeed, most modern universities) operate like a feudal system: stark hierarchies of absolute power where resources and credit flow upward while systems of control flow down the hierarchy. Like other employer-employee relationships, lab members are entirely subordinate to those above them. But unlike at-will employment, students and researchers in labs have few realistic prospects for leaving a lab and finding another, as students are tied to enrollment in their university and researchers compete for a tiny set of lab-based jobs across the entire globe."

Labs with stark power imbalances harm those lower on the academic hierarchy. Decoupling power from expertise can help fix broken models of producing research.

"Rather than seek to annihilate self-deception and all it represents, a better goal would be to think carefully about wh...
03/11/2021
The Usefulness of Our Delusions - By Shankar Vedantam - Behavioral Scientist

"Rather than seek to annihilate self-deception and all it represents, a better goal would be to think carefully about what it does, and ask ourselves how we can work with it. In other words, we ought to care less about whether something is simply true or untrue and ask more complicated questions: What are the consequences of self-deception? Whom does it serve? Do the benefits justify the costs?" – Shankar Vedantam

Rather than seek to annihilate self-deception, a better goal would be to think carefully about what it does, and ask ourselves how we can work with it.

"One reason people cling to false beliefs is because self-deception can sometimes be functional . . . Holding false beli...
03/10/2021
The Usefulness of Our Delusions - By Shankar Vedantam - Behavioral Scientist

"One reason people cling to false beliefs is because self-deception can sometimes be functional . . . Holding false beliefs is not always the mark of idiocy, pathology, or villainy." – Shankar Vedantam

Rather than seek to annihilate self-deception, a better goal would be to think carefully about what it does, and ask ourselves how we can work with it.

The current research system has costs, both in terms of mistreatment and exploitation of those who work there, and in te...
03/10/2021
Poorly Run Labs Are a Threat to Behavioral Science, But Democratic Principles Offer a Way Forward - By Jeffrey Lees - Behavioral Scientist

The current research system has costs, both in terms of mistreatment and exploitation of those who work there, and in terms of the quality of research they produce, argues Jeffrey Lees this week. His piece is a call to reimagine how labs work, starting with integrating small-d democratic principles.

Labs with stark power imbalances harm those lower on the academic hierarchy. Decoupling power from expertise can help fix broken models of producing research.

"Benevolence is a chance benefit, not a guarantee. There are far too few mechanisms in place to protect students and gua...
03/09/2021
Poorly Run Labs Are a Threat to Behavioral Science, But Democratic Principles Offer a Way Forward - By Jeffrey Lees - Behavioral Scientist

"Benevolence is a chance benefit, not a guarantee. There are far too few mechanisms in place to protect students and guarantee that those in power don’t act in malevolent ways." – Jeffrey Lees

Labs with stark power imbalances harm those lower on the academic hierarchy. Decoupling power from expertise can help fix broken models of producing research.

This week, Sofia Deleniv, Dan Ariely, and Kelly Peters describe results from a large new survey in Canada showing that t...
03/09/2021
“Natural Is Better”: How the Appeal To Nature Fallacy Derails Public Health - By Sofia Deleniv, Dan Ariely, & Kelly Peters - Behavioral Scientist

This week, Sofia Deleniv, Dan Ariely, and Kelly Peters describe results from a large new survey in Canada showing that the appeal to nature fallacy is an important part of understanding why people resist getting the COVID vaccine.

People tend to see “natural” as a cue for “safe.” This fallacy is a component of vaccine resistance—but we may be able to flip this inclination to encourage uptake.

The dominant model of research is what Jeffrey Lees describes as a benevolent dictatorship. That’s a best-case scenario....
03/09/2021
Poorly Run Labs Are a Threat to Behavioral Science, But Democratic Principles Offer a Way Forward - By Jeffrey Lees - Behavioral Scientist

The dominant model of research is what Jeffrey Lees describes as a benevolent dictatorship. That’s a best-case scenario. Labs, he argues, are organized around “stark hierarchies of absolute power where resources and credit flow upward while systems of control flow down.” Lees' piece this week is a call to reimagine how labs work. We can start by integrating small-d democratic principles.

Labs with stark power imbalances harm those lower on the academic hierarchy. Decoupling power from expertise can help fix broken models of producing research.

This week, Shankar Vedantam explores the complexity of self-deception through the story of the Church of Love, a romance...
03/09/2021
The Usefulness of Our Delusions - By Shankar Vedantam - Behavioral Scientist

This week, Shankar Vedantam explores the complexity of self-deception through the story of the Church of Love, a romance scam taken to industrial levels.

Although his initial reaction was to question how people could let themselves fall for such a ruse, with time he came to see a broader lesson.

“Rather than seek to annihilate self-deception and all it represents,” he explains, “a better goal would be to think carefully about what it does, and ask ourselves how we can work with it.”

Rather than seek to annihilate self-deception, a better goal would be to think carefully about what it does, and ask ourselves how we can work with it.

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