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.
Tag Archive: social psychology
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.
Most people agree that success requires hard work and good fortune. Recent research suggests that people’s politics can be swayed depending on which of these ingredients they focus on when thinking about their own success. Thinking about the role of hard work in your success makes you more likely to support more conservative social policies, while thinking about the role of luck and the help of others makes you more likely to support liberal ones.
Two recent editorials by Dick Thaler and Tim Wilson make a strong case for the public benefits of social psychology.
Is social psychology in need of reform? I propose that despite high profile cases of fraud, we should be more focused on fixing the mistakes that honest researchers make all the time.
Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein has a thoughtful piece in The New Yorker this week that walks through the psychology and politics of how Republicans pulled a 180-degree turn in their position on the individual healthcare mandate. Klein’s argument revolves around several of the forms of motivated reasoning that I’ve discussed here over the past few weeks, including how partisans reflexively dislike whatever their opponent proposes and how we construct our ideals of fairness based on whatever suits our current purposes.
Building on my post last week that highlighted how compromise becomes difficult when people think there’s more distance between them and the other side than there actually is, I wanted to pass along a recent column by James Surowiecki on the “fairness trap”.