Lovable anti-hero George Costanza is having a salad for lunch when he suddenly clutches at his chest and declares, “I think I’m having a heart attack!” His companions, Jerry and Elaine, seem remarkably unconcerned with George’s seemingly life-threatening predicament. As George breathlessly lists off the symptoms he’s experiencing (Tightness… Shortness of breath… Radiating waves of pain!), Jerry arrives at a less catastrophic diagnosis: “I know what this is. You saw that show on PBS last night, Coronary Country.”
Category Archive: social psychology
I’m not sure how it’s possible that until yesterday I had never seen Paul Rozin speak. However it happened, I corrected a huge mistake by going to see him give an invited address at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago titled, The Aesthetics and Pleasures of Temporal Sequences. The talk spanned far more than that topic, but as Rozin’s research predicts, it was made extremely memorable by ending with a bang.
There is an academic achievement gap in the United States. Compared to their White peers, African American and Latino American students earn lower grades and are more likely to drop out of school. Recently, a small intervention, aimed at easing the psychological burdens that impair minority performance, has been found to interrupt this downward trajectory, improving the performance of minority students, narrowing the achievement gap, and with long lasting effects.
Is it possible to get gifts down to a science? With gift giving season upon us, there has been a flood of advice for consumers on how to navigate their purchases scientifically. I even got in on the action myself, writing a piece for the Chicago Booth website on some new research by Yan Zhang and Nick Epley about when people appreciate a gift’s thoughtfulness. Reviewing the research – and the journalism – got me thinking about the strengths and the limitations of bringing a scientific approach to exchanging presents. There is a lot to be said for studying gift giving, as long as we remain mindful of its limitations.
My first post for the Chicago Booth website has just gone up and I wanted to share the link — it’s called Using Behavioral Science To Pick The Perfect Holiday Gift. It’s on research by Yan Zhang and Nick Epley on when thoughtful gifts are appreciated. In writing the post I found several recent articles and guides on …
One of the obstacles that keeps the poor from rising out of poverty is the tendency to make costly financial decisions – like buying lottery tickets, taking out high interest loans, and failing to enroll in assistance programs – that only make their situation worse. In the past, these poor decisions have been attributed either to low income individuals’ personalities or issues in their environment, such as poor education or substandard living conditions. New research published this month in Science by Booth Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science Anuj Shah points to a new answer: living with scarcity changes people’s psychology.
Will Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large soda cups work? The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki gives us some compelling reasons to believe that it will, but there is also a case to be made that it could backfire.
Simultaneously disbelieving karma and “sort of believing it” may be a logical contradiction, but in reality it’s actually very common for people to be “of two minds” when it comes to these sorts of magical beliefs. While some people endorse karma without reservation, many of us would reject the notion that the universe is governed by laws of moral cause and effect, but we often still behave as if we believed it.
An update on Simonsohn’s recently posted paper in which I discuss one of the techniques used to confirm Simonsohn’s suspicions of fraud. The results of the analysis make it clear that the data was not generated by real subjects.