DiscoverBehavioral Grooves Podcast
Behavioral Grooves Podcast

Behavioral Grooves Podcast

Author: Kurt Nelson, PhD and Tim Houlihan

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Behavioral Grooves is a discussion of the application of behavioral sciences to work and life. It's the WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO podcast. Kurt Nelson, Ph.D. and Tim Houlihan interview researchers, academics, practitioners and accidental behavioral scientists. Our conversations are lively, spontaneous, full of laughs and insights into the science behind why we do what we do. We conclude each podcast with a grooving session, recorded after the interview, where we explore the science and reflect on the key takeaways from the interview and the topics we discussed.
109 Episodes
Melina Palmer is the host of The Brainy Business podcast and she has dedicated her career to seeking answers to these questions for herself and her clients. Melina uses behavioral economics to help everyone from global corporations to entrepreneurs understand the psychology of why people buy, unlocking the secrets of small changes that make a big difference via her podcast, public speaking, and column on The result is messaging, branding, advertisements, pricing and products that are more “brain-friendly” (meaning more leads, conversions, and revenue). Our conversation with Melina covered the anchoring effect and what a powerful tool it can be for both sellers and buyers alike. We also chatted about her John Mayer playlist on Pandora and some of the things she’s doing to make the world a better place through the education of behavioral economics and neuroscience. Kurt and Tim are also announcing our newest podcast, Weekly Grooves, which will be launching shortly, and we hope you’ll check it out. Groove idea for the week: What are you doing to integrate the anchoring effect into your business or your personal life? © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Brainy Business Website: Melina’s articles: Melina’s Facebook: Melina’s Instagram: Melina’s YouTube: Melina’s Twitter: Melina’s LinkedIn: Melina’s John Mayer Playlist: Anchoring Effect: Decoy Effect: Ran Kivetz, PhD: Katy Milkman’s Fresh Start Habit: Counterfactual Thinking: Seattle Mariners: Audacity (digital audio workstation): George Loewenstein, PhD:    Musical Links Gene Autry “Back in the Saddle”: John Mayer: Michael Bublé: Lady Antebellum: Miranda Lambert: Patsy Cline: Christina Perri: US National Anthem: Tom Petty: Damien Rice: Red Hot Chili Peppers: Ella Fitzgerald “Mac the Knife: Ella in Berlin 1960”: Steely Dan “Gaucho”: Beatles “Abbey Road”: Beatles “Sargent Pepper”: Iron & Wine: Dessa:
Too often, in our estimation, people make recommendations to us with the intent to improve our life but the effect on us is the opposite of that. Rather than completely engaging us, some recommendations or pieces of advice actually overpower any enthusiasm we might for following up. This is especially true when the recommendation is too big to get our heads around. Casual comments like, “Oh, you should read that book,” or, “You should go to Malaysia,” or, “You should check out that podcast series,” are often too much for us to process. They’re all well-intended, and could be terrific recommendations, but thinking about starting a massive new book in an already jam-packed life can be the opposite of engaging: sometimes, it’s demotivating.    So in this Grooving Session, we use a behavioral science hack to START SMALL and we’re recommending our favorite podcast episodes (produced by other podcasters!) to our listeners. We think you’ll like these specific podcast episodes by some of our favorite hosts on some of our favorite topics. And because they’re itty-bitty single episodes, we hope you can start small and check some of them out in the links below. Coming soon! We are launching a new podcast (a new channel in the podcaster’s vernacular) and it’s called Weekly Grooves. Weekly Grooves will be a weekly review of topical issues in the media during the week done through a behavioral science commentary. This will launch in late January 2020, and we hope you’ll check it out. Please take 23 seconds right now to give us a rating. A review only takes 57 seconds, so you can do that, too! Reviews and 5-star ratings play a positive role in getting Behavioral Grooves promoted to new listeners when they’re out browsing for an interesting behavioral science podcast. As always, thanks for listening and we hope you enjoy lots of great episodes from other podcasters!   Happiness Lab: Laurie Santos, PhD. Make ‘Em Laugh. Canned laugh tracks positively affect our experience even when we KNOW they’re canned! Great production and a cool person.   Choiceology: Katy Milkman, PhD. Take the Deal. Danny Kahneman, Colin Camerer, and Luis Green tell the tales of our flawed decision making – even when the consequences are big! Terrific interviewer. Great production.   Big Brains: Paul Rand. Why Talking to Strangers Will Make You Happier. Nick Epley, PhD discussed the importance of talking to strangers and how it will make YOU happier.   Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates: John Donvan. Is Social Media Good for Democracy? Fascinating discussion about the pro’s and con’s of social media.   The David Gilmour Podcast: David Gilmour. The Fender Stratocaster #0001. Yes. It really does exist and David Gilmour owns it and cherishes it.   You Are Not So Smart: David McRaney. Pluralistic Ignorance: The psychology behind why people don’t speak out against, and even defend, norms they secretly despise. A terrific episode exploring how social norms are perpetuated even when the majority don’t agree with them.   Song Exploder: Hrishikesh Hirway. Sheryl Crow: Redemption Day. How songwriters come to write and record songs is amazing to me and this is a very articulate songwriter.   O Behave: Ogilvy Consulting. Dollars and Sense. Jeff Kreisler (one of our favorites) and Rory Sutherland dig into Jeff’s work in behavioral finance.   Radio Lab: Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. Smarty Plants. This episode explores the amazingly brainy behaviors of brainless things: plants!   Happiness Lab: Laurie Santos, PhD. The Unhappy Millionaire This episode explores how we don’t really understand what makes us happy…with Dan Gilbert    The Knowledge Project: Shane Parrish. Neil Pasricha: Happy Habits Looks at habits that can make you happier or not   The Science of Success: Matt Bodner. Guest = Jonathan Haidt Three dangerous ideas that are putting our society at risk – Looking at the anti-fragile movement that Haidt looks at how we need to allow Coddling the American Mind.  Overprotecting kids and not letting them have failures…question feelings   Hustle and Flowchart Podcast: Matt Wolfe and Joe Fier. Therapy Session (153) – T&C, Podfest, Selling Shirts and Affiliate Marketing Matt and Joe discuss a number of things that have been going on with them and some insights on podcasting     Smart Drug Smarts: Jesse Lawler. Aphantasia with Dr. Joel Pearson Where Kurt found out about Aphantasia and realized that he had it.   Hidden Brain: Shanker Vedantam. Facts Aren’t Enough A look at confirmation bias and how data doesn’t change our minds…Tali Sharot and Cailin O’Conner add insight (smallpox variolation)   Big Think Think Again: Jason Gotz. Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie: the cognitive segregation of America © 2020 Behavioral Grooves  
Rory Sutherland is a British advertising executive who became fascinated with behavioral science. Between his TED talks, books and articles, he has become one of the field’s greatest proponents. Rory is currently the Executive Creative Director of OgilvyOne, after gigs as vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK and co-founder of the Behavioural Sciences Practice, part of the Ogilvy & Mather group of companies. He is the author of The Spectator’s The Wiki Man column and his most recent book, which we highly recommend, is Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life. We started our discussion with Rory by asking him about his new book and some of his insights from it. His approach to advertising, marketing and product design is informed by his ability to look for the things that aren’t there. He once described a solution to improving customer satisfaction on the Chunnel Train between London and Paris by suggesting that a billion dollars would be better spent on supermodel hosts in the cars than on reducing ride time by 15 minutes. He’s a terrifically insightful thinker. Our conversation ran amok of all sorts of rabbit holes, as expected, including ergodicity, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's “The Silver Blaze,” high-end audio and the dietary habits of the world-famous runner, Usain Bolt. In Kurt and Tim’s Grooving Session, we discuss some of our favorite takeaways from Rory’s conversation including, “The Opposite of a Good Idea is a Good Idea” and others. And finally, Kurt teed up the Bonus Track with a final reflection and recap of the key points we discussed. As always, we would be grateful if you would write us a quick review. It helps us get noticed by other folks who are interested in podcasts about behavioral science. It will only take 27 seconds. Thank you, and we appreciate your help.  © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Rory Sutherland: “Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life”: “Friction”: Murray Gell-Mann, PhD: Robin Williams “Scottish Golf”: Don Draper: Ergodicity: John James Cowperthwaite: SatNav: Daniel Kahneman, PhD: What You See is All There Is:,_Fast_and_Slow Arthur Conan-Doyle: Sherlock Holmes “Silver Blaze”: Tim Houlihan’s Blog on “Silver Blaze”: Ben Franklin T-Test: Volkswagen Fighter: David Ogilvy: Jock Elliot: Battle of Leyte Gulf: Croft Audio: Mu-So single speaker: WFMT Chicago: TK Maxx: Berlin Hotel with Big Lebowski: Shure:[top][types][]=microphones Zoom: Satisficing: Usain Bolt: Sheena Iyengar, PhD: Jelly Jar Study: Big Band Music:   Musical Links Aretha Franklin: Southern California Community Choir: Abba: Felix Mendelssohn: George Frideric Handel: Johann Sebastian Bach: Johann Christian Bach:  
Jana Gallus, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Behavioral Decision Making at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and our discussion dissected the intersection of behavioral economics, strategy and innovation, by focusing almost exclusively on the way incentives work. This was a terrific conversation for us because Jana revisited the foundation of incentives that is often overlooked in the corporate world: an “incentive” must include a scheme (rules) and a means (rewards). Too often, corporate clients focus on the reward and fail to consider the rules which to earn the reward by. Or vice versa. The rules become overly complicated in an effort to “be fair,” inevitably diluting the results. She also helped us dig deeper into aspects of incentives that are rarely covered, namely these three dimensions: (1) Tangibility, sometimes referred to as the element of an award that is physical and can be re-consumed; (2) Social signal, when combined with tangibility is sometimes referred to as trophy value that we can share with family, friends and co-workers; and (3) the Self signal, which is new to our experience and impacts the effectiveness of the reward-based by how well it aligns with the self-identify of the recipient. Finally, we laughed a lot while we discussed the role that precision plays in incentives and recognition. Frankly, it’s rare that we get to talk to researchers who bring up thought experiments that involve kissing. Jana reminded us how less precision is a key factor in keeping a reward in the realm of recognition. In our Grooving Session, Kurt and Tim cover some of our own war stories and we recap the key points in the Bonus Track – both follow our recording with Jana. © 2019 Behavioral Grooves   Links Jana Gallus, PhD: Jana Gallus, PhD: Uri Gneezy, PhD: Emma Heikensten, PhD: “Effect of Rewards” paper: Ariely & Heyman “A Tale of Two Markets”: Allan Fisk, PhD: NASA: Scott Jeffrey, PhD: Etymology of the word “damn”:   Musical Links Baby Mozart: Lang Lang: Milky Chance “Stolen Dance”: The Cure: AFI: Dan Wilson: Matt Wilson: Raffi:
The research that Reuben Kline, PhD is working on is focused on climate change mitigation. As an associate professor of political science and the director of the Center for Behavioral Political Economy at Stony Brook University, he is concerned about the actions we’ll take when presented with a list of options to mitigate climate change. Reuben’s research asks which lists are more effective: Long lists (in harmony with neo-classical economic theory to offer lots of choices) or short lists (in harmony with behavioral research on the tyranny of too many options)? He’s also studying the impact of offering people lists of difficult things compared to easy things, or when there’s a mix of both. Would it help the consumer to make trade-offs if there was a variety of effort offered to them? His work reveals some of the complications of how we think about lists of varying length and effort when it comes to climate change mitigation. At one point, we asked Reuben about how he feels when he hears from climate deniers and he noted with a laugh, “I study climate change, so I’m always depressed.” But he was also quick to point out that he’s optimistic about how people respond to some of his research. We should be optimistic, too, with people like Reuben researching these topics. We recorded this conversation at the NoBeC conference at the University of Pennsylvania where Reuben was presenting his findings to the students in the Masters of Norms and Behavior Change program at UPenn. In an alcove beside the main hall, we discussed the behavioral impacts of offering mitigation strategy lists to consumers. And we are grateful to Chris Nave, PhD and Eugen Dimant, PhD for hosting us at the conference. © 2019 Behavioral Grooves   Links Reuben Kline, PhD: Shanto Iyengar, PhD: Collective Risk Social Dilemma (The Disaster Game): Manfred Milinski, PhD: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Free Rider: Conditional Cooperation: Moral Hazard: BJ Fogg: James Clear: Wendy Wood, PhD: Sheena Iyengar, PhD, Jam Study:   Musical Links P Funk All-Stars: Parliament: Rick James: Sly and the Family Stone: Black Puma’s: The New Mastersounds: The Bamboos: Johnny Cash: Willie Nelson: Hank Williams: Led Zeppelin: Rolling Stones: Fela Kuti: Huey Lewis and the News:
Eugen Dimant, PhD is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences Department and a Senior Research Fellow at the Identity and Conflict Lab, Political Science Department – both at the University of Pennsylvania. His research is rooted in economics and sits at the crossroads of experimental behavioral economics, behavioral ethics, crime, and corruption, with much of his recent work focusing on the ways “bad apples” (people will malintent) can be thwarted. This is also manifest in his research on behavioral contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior among individuals and groups. Because we met up with him presenting a paper at NoBeC, a social norms conference, we also discussed the role of social norms in pro- and anti-social behaviors. We are inspired by Eugen’s work with social nudges and what can be done to minimize the impact of people who are out to corrupt systems and communities. And, we had a great time talking with this incredibly passionate researcher about his wide variety of interests. We are grateful to Eugen for reaching out to us as we were planning our 100th Episode celebration in Philadelphia. He invited us to the University of Pennsylvania’s NoBeC Conference – the Norms and Behavioral Change Conference – that was happening the same days that we were recording our 100th Episode. Eugen, along with his colleague Chris Nave, PhD, helped us arrange conversations with many researchers and speakers at the conference and we are forever grateful. Finally, we invite you to keep listening after our discussion with Eugen to hear Kurt and Tim’s Grooving Session and then the Bonus Track where we recap the key insights from the episode.    Links Eugen Dimant, PhD: Eugen Dimant research website: Paper 1 (erosion of Norm compliance): Paper 2 (backfiring is nudges): Paper 3 (nudges vs collective behavioral change): Paper 4 (how beliefs matter in behavioral change): NoBeC (Norms and Behavior Change Conference): Cristina Bicchieri, PhD: Gary Bolton, PhD: Nudge: Social Norms: Injunctive and Descriptive Norms: Pluralistic Ignorance: Peer Effects: Coleman’s Boat: Chris Nave, PhD: Bobo Doll Effect: Robert Cialdini, PhD: Kiki and Bouba: Pollstar:    Musical Links Drake: Bushido: U2: Ed Sheeran: Eagles: Rolling Stones: Fleetwood Mac:
Imagine that the two drawings below are called Kiki and Bouba in some alien language.  If you had to guess which one was Kiki and which one was Bouba - without any other information, which one would be Kiki, and which one would be Bouba?   If you are like most people, the sharp angular shape (on the left) would be named Kiki while the curvier rounded shape (on the right) would be named Bouba.  This effect is called the Bouba/Kiki effect which highlights how we map sounds to visual shapes and was first observed by Wolfgang Kohler in the late 1920s and then refined in the early 2000s by Vilayanure Ramachandran and Edward Hubbard.   In experiments, over 95% of respondents selected the curvy shape as Bouba and the jagged one as Kiki.  The effect shows that words that have softer, rounded sounds (i.e., oo’s and ah’s) are associated with rounder shapes, while sounds that have more angular, sharp sounds (i.e., k’s and I’s) are associated with more pointed shapes.  While this effect focused on speech and visuals, my colleague and co-host of Behavioral Grooves, Tim Houlihan and I have started to use it as a way to describe how we think.  Some of us think with a “Kiki” like a brain.  Others of us think with a “Bouba” like a brain.  While not perfect, it does help in understanding the differences in how our brains process, retain, and regurgitate information.  For instance, a “Kiki brain” is precise and sharp and can remember specific names, dates, and titles.  While a more “Bouba brain” retains information about the general concepts and impacts but is less precise and more holistic in the combination of ideas and thoughts.   So while Tim can typically recall the name of a behavioral science study, the year it was published, and the author(s) (very much a Kiki brain), Kurt can usually only recall the concept that the study explored, how that concept can be applied, and how it interacts with other behavioral science concepts (more of a Bouba brain).    Often times during the podcast, my Bouba mind will be at a loss for the name of a study or a particular researcher, however, Tim’s Kiki brain will have those names readily available.  On the other side of the coin, Tim will be reciting a specific study and my Bouba brain will instantly go to the nuances of the application of how this works and implications for the people involved.  Of course, like most other ways of describing ourselves, this is not an either/or situation.  I would argue that we all have aspects of Kiki thinking AND Bouba thinking depending on the topic, situation, and other factors (i.e., how much sleep we had the night before).  And no brain is just Kiki or Bouba – we shift between the two on a regular basis.  Like personalities, these descriptions are just the tendencies for the way we think.  For instance, I’m not always at a loss for remembering a study name or researcher nor do I not understand the subtleties or connections from those studies that I do remember.  We fluctuate on a continuum and we often move easily between the thinking styles.  In general, my notion is that Kiki brains are more admired.  Those are the people that I don’t like getting into debates with, because they will bring in facts and figures and names at lightning speed and I’m just trying to stay up and connect the dots.   I need to be on my phone looking up references and facts, while they are seemingly pulling them out of the air.  People with KikI brains come across as smarter and more informed – because they can recall these details whereas people with Bouba brains are left talking about the general proposition.  Kiki brains are not fumbling to remember people’s names, the exact figure for the organization’s budget or the year that the Challenger exploded.  At this point, there is no research that is on this or supports this crazy theory.  However, by naming these types of thinking styles, I think we can better interact with each other and contribute to our work.  The power of this is in helping us understand how we communicate with others and understanding how we process and remember information.       Notes Image:  Monochrome version 1 June 2007 by Bendž Vectorized with Inkscape  Maurer, Pathman, and Modloch (2006), The shape of Boubas: sound-shape correspondences in toddlers and adults.  Developmental Science. Ramachandran, V.S. & Hubbard, E.M. (2001). "Synaesthesia: A window into perception, thought and language" (PDF). Journal of Consciousness Studies.   © 2019 Behavioral Grooves
Cristina Bicchieri, PhD is the S. J. Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics, a Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, a Professor of Legal Studies at the Wharton School, the Head of the Behavioral Ethics Lab, the Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program, and is the Faculty Director of the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s one busy woman! We met up with her at the NoBeC (Norms and Behavioral Change) conference that her program sponsored in the Kislak Center at UPenn. Cristina’s program is in its 3rd year and hosts 75 students from 12 different countries. The unique program emphasizes practical applications of behavioral science and cross-disciplinary work. Students come from celebrity restaurants, tech businesses, NGOs, non-profits and global corporations and find the program engaging because of its diversity. If you’re interested, we encourage you to check it out – there are links in the episode notes for how to reach them. We had some recording issues when we were talking to Christina. Some edits were made to accommodate our gaffs and we hope you won’t mind. And, because we recorded it on the sidelines of a conference, you might hear some background noise occasionally.  © 2019 Behavioral Grooves   Links Cristina Bicchieri, PhD: The Grammar of Society: Norms in the Wild: Master in a Behavioral Decision Science at UPenn: Decision Theory: Game Theory: Epistemic Foundations of Game Theory: Multiple Equilibria: David Kreps, PhD: Social Norms: Conditional Preference: UNICEF: Gates Foundation: Reference Network: Soap Opera: Well Told Story:   Musical Links Giuseppe Verdi: Wolfgang Mozart: Bruce Springsteen: U2: Chicago: The Band: Styx: Journey: Fleetwood Mac:   Kurt Nelson: Tim Houlihan:
Grooving: 2019 Reading List

Grooving: 2019 Reading List


Kurt and Tim like to read about behavioral science and a variety of related fields. To help those interested in the subject, but unsure how to pick good books to either get started or advance their learning, our 2019 Top 10 Reading List should help. Our Top 10 list is really a Top 9, since both Kurt and Tim already had one of the books on both of their lists. But we also go beyond that list with some honorable mentions (that could have easily been swapped for some of our top choices), as well as a shortlist of fiction and poetry for your review. We hope you enjoy this year’s list and encourage you to let us know your thoughts about it. Did we nail the top picks? Did we miss some? What’s on your reading list for 2020? Who do you think should be a guest on Behavioral Grooves in 2020? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Do you need some Christmas or Birthday gifts?  Or maybe you just want to treat yourself?   Here are links to the books we mentioned in the episode!   Kurt’s Best Non-Fiction Books John Bargh, “Before You Know It"  Yuval Noah Harari, “Sapiens”  Michael Mauboussin, “Think Twice”  Wendy Wood, “Good Habits, Bad Habits”     Tim’s Best Non-Fiction Books Rory Sutherland, “Alchemy”  Franz de Waal, “Mama’s Last Hug”  Francesca Gino, “Rebel Talent”  Roger Dooley, “Friction” (on Kurt’s AND Tim’s lists)  Alan B. Krueger, “Rockonomics”    Honorable Mentions Honorable mentions for really great books that you should be aware of. Virtually any of these could have made our Top 10 list.  Nir Eyal, “Indistractable"  Daniel Pink, “When” Daniel Levitin, “The Organized Mind” Liliana Mason, “Uncivil Agreement”  Tali Sharot, “The Influential Mind”    And since we have had great guests with great books in 2019 (we love them and their work), we want to refer you to these authors and titles: Brian Ahearn, “Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical”  Ori Brafman, “The Spider and the Starfish"  Liz Fosslein, “No Hard Feelings”  Will Leach, “Marketing to Mindstates” Stephen Martin & Joseph Marks, “Messengers”  Amit Sood, “Guide to Stress-Free Living”   Tim’s Non-Fiction List We didn’t speak to these on the podcast, because we were most interested in addressing behavioral science books. However, Tim is also an avid reader of fiction and poetry. Tim wanted to mention some books he’s read (or re-read) this year that were particularly rewarding. Madeline Miller, “Circe” John Updike, “Rabbit is Rich”  David Whyte, “Everything is Waiting for You”   Thank you!     © 2019 Behavioral Grooves.  Note that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our suggestions, thoughts or ideas. All recommendations are made by Kurt and Tim based on what they believe.
This is Behavioral Grooves’ 100th episode! Who would have thought when we started out two years ago without a clue about HOW to produce and publish a podcast that we’d reach this milestone?  Our first podcast recording began with a very willing Dr. James Heyman, a computer with some recording software, and a dinky little microphone before a meetup we were doing that night. But the conversation was terrific, and we launched it with excitement. Today, we are more thoughtful, have better equipment, and continue to have great guests. For our 100th Episode, we traveled to Philadelphia to host Annie Duke, Jeff Kreisler and Dr. Michael Hallsworth in front of a live audience at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. A little about each of them… This episode covers decision making in an uncertain world with these three renowned experts. We talk about biases and hacks to deal with those biases. And we dove into the role that context plays in our decision making. After the live event, Kurt and Tim groove on some of the highlights of the discussion. Following that, Tim shares a recap in the Bonus Track portion of the episode.   Guests Michael Hallsworth, PhD is the Managing Director of the Behavioural Insights Team in North America, based in Brooklyn, New York. He has also worked on health and taxes in the Cabinet Office of the UK government and has authored behavior change frameworks including MINDSPACE and EAST. Annie Duke is the author of Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts, which quickly became a national bestseller. At one point in her career, she was a professional card player, where she won millions in tournament poker. And she is the co-founder of The Alliance for Decision Education, a non-profit whose mission is to improve lives by empowering students through decision skills education. Jeff Kreisler is a Princeton-educated lawyer who became a comedian, then an author, and then a total advocate for behavioral science. With his co-author, Dan Ariely, they wrote Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend it Smarter.   Sponsors and Recognition It is important to note our sponsors. Podbean, who has been hosting us since the very first episode, supported our endeavor and helped us live stream our event to listeners all over the world. We are very grateful to PeopleScience, an organization that supports the application of behavioral sciences with special emphasis on the world of rewards and recognition. PeopleScience is a terrific resource for job postings and original authorship. And, most importantly, PeopleScience is doing something that we love: they are bringing more science to the world of work. Special thanks go to a few of our peeps, too. Ben Granlund and Raya Parks helped us prepare for and execute the event. Chris Nave and Eugen Dimant at UPenn sent their masters students to the hall after a very long day of lectures. And Trey Altemose managed all of the people and technical issues as our stage manager. Your best friend at any live event is your stage manager and Trey guided us at every turn.  © 2019 Behavioral Grooves    Links Annie Duke: Jeff Kreisler: Michael Hallsworth, PhD: PeopleScience: Podbean: 100-Year-Old Scotch: Overconfidence bias: Imposter Syndrome: Motivated Reasoning: Blind Spot Bias (The Bias Bias): Base Rates: Illusion of Control: Human Operating Systems: Choice Architecture: Tribalism: Paternalism: Backfire Effect: Jay Van Bavel: Chris Nave, PhD: Eugen Dimant, PhD: Cristina Bicchieri, PhD: Jim Guszcza, PhD: Alex Blau: Alex Imas, PhD: Koen Smets: Motown Records: Soul Train:     Musical Links: The Five Stairsteps, “Ooh, Child, Things Are Gonna Get Easier”: Big Thief: Yo La Tengo: Bon Iver: Joni Mitchell: Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”: Violent Femmes: White Stripes: Cake, “I Will Survive”: Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”: Eagles, “Hotel California”: Berry Gordy: Supremes: Temptations: O’Jays, “Love Train”: Masonboro Sound, “Love Train”: The Spinners: Hall & Oats:
Katy Milkman is no ordinary behavioral scientist. She’s a Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions at Wharton and has a secondary faculty appointment in the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. She’s Co-Director, with Angela Duckworth, at the non-profit Behavior Change for Good Initiative. She’s the host of one of our favorite podcasts, called Choiceology, she is in the middle of writing a book, and she’s a Mom and Partner all at the same time. We are grateful to her for taking time to record a conversation with us about her work on temptation bundling, the sorts of projects she’s getting at the Behavior Change for Good organization, and a few tidbits about what her book, coming out in 2021, will have in store for the readers. Most importantly, Katy shared three important pieces of wisdom about behavior change during our conversation: 1. Behavior change is hard – cut yourself some slack. 2. We humans are not built to do the right thing all the time.  3. Just keep trying. Stay tuned for our BONUS TRACK at the end where we review key takeaways and offer up a Groove idea for the week!  (C) 2019 Behavioral Grooves Links Katy Milkman, PhD: Katy Milkman – Twitter: @katy_milkman Behavior Change for Good: Choiceology podcast: Temptation Bundling: Fresh Start Effect: Charles Duhigg: BJ Fogg Maui Habit: Robert Cialdini, PhD: Francesca Gino, PhD: Angela Duckworth, PhD:   Kurt Nelson: Tim Houlihan:   Musical Links Michael Jackson: Taylor Swift:
Chris Nave, PhD is the Associate Director of the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences Program at the University of Pennsylvania. We caught up with Chris at the NoBeC conference (Norms and Behavioral Change Conference) at UPenn. NoBeC brought together some of the brightest researchers in the field and we got to attend! The Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences program is in its 3rd year with 75 students from 12 countries. The students come from jobs in restaurants, fire stations, small businesses, and global corporations and they intend to leave UPenn with an understanding of what it means to be a behavioral scientist, but not actually BE one. We met Chris through our friend, Jeff Kreisler, and we instantly connected as members of the same tribe. But it was even cooler when Chris invited us to attend the conference and to record conversations with some of the researchers. This episode is the cornerstone of the series we recorded at the University of Pennsylvania and we are excited to share an over of the master’s program from Chris Nave.   Links Chris Nave: UPenn Masters of Behavioral Change Program: Piyush Tantia:   Musical Links Baby Shark: The Cure: Red Hot Chili Peppers “Dark Necessity”: Miley Cyrus “Party in the USA”: AFI: Vivaldi “Four Seasons”:
Chris Brown is in human risk management and practice is set in backcountry snow. He grew up outside of Philadelphia and after graduating with a degree in Urban Design/Architecture, he moved to Utah to pursue certification with the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) in avalanche training.  Chris works as a ski guide and avalanche/snow science professional, but his real job is helping skiers overcome their biases. He incorporates the work of Kahneman and Tversky, Richard Thaler and other great researchers into his classes and we found his intentionality in decision making noteworthy. We had a great conversation with Chris and we also want to express our gratitude to friend and colleague, Ben Granlund, for connecting us with Chris. Ben attended one of Chris’ classes and found it so engaging that he referred us to Chris. Ben was also delighted that Chris relies heavily on behavioral science and reminds us that the biggest threat to your life in avalanche country is your own decision making. After our recording stopped, we discussed Guide Services for training. If you are interested, check out AMGA ( and the American Avalanche Association:   Links Chris Brown Email:  Chris Brown Instagram:  Ian McCammon: Phil Tetlock “Super Forecasters”: Familiarity Bias: Expert Halo: System 1 / System 2:,_Fast_and_Slow Premortem: Bruce Tremper: Bayesian Decision Making: First Tracks: Laurence Gonzales “Deep Survival”: Wicked Learning Environments: Daniel Kahneman: The Tao of Wu:   Kurt Nelson: @motivationguru Tim Houlihan: @THoulihan   Musical Links Hip Hop: Reggae: Classical Music: Death Metal: Steel Pulse: Wu Tang Clan: MadLib: Gang Starr: John Coltrane: Marcus Miller: Stanley Clarke: Bela Fleck: Victor Wooten: Herbie Hancock:
Sometimes things just go better in twos and that was the case regarding our guests for this episode. Zarak Kahn is the Behavioral Innovation Director at Maritz and Erik Johnson is an independent Behavioral Science Consultant. They are the co-hosts of Action Design Radio and board members at Action Design Network. Kurt and Tim have known them as coaches and colleagues and wanted to talk to them about all of that. We discussed how the application of behavioral science continues to grow in both the corporate and policy words. Today, there are more jobs, more workshops, more bachelor's programs, more masters programs, more PhD programs, more meetups and more bootcamps than ever before. We expressed our collective desires to make behavioral science so easy to do it will be ingrained into every job from UX to Marketing to HR, and how we’d like to see people applying a behavioral lens in all of their decision-making. In our grooving session, Kurt and Tim emphasized the importance of expanding the community of people applying behavioral science and we are grateful to share the mantle with very bright and fine folk like Erik and Zarak.    Links Erik Johnson Twitter:  Erik Johnson LinkedIn:  Erik Johnson Website:  Zarak Kahn LinkedIn: Action Design Network: Action Design Radio (podcast): Robert Cialdini: Dan Kahneman: Richard Thaler: Cass Sunstein:    Musical Links Idles: Local Natives: Lana Del Rey: Carley Rae Jepson: Wye Oak “The Louder I Call the Faster it Runs”: Sylvan Esso: Johnny Flynn: Sharon Van Etten: Gillian Welch: M Ward: The National:
Victoria Shaffer is a researcher and professor at the University of Missouri. Victoria focuses on applying decision psychology and behavioral economics to medical decision making. In particular, she is researching judgment and decision making and how they impact the design of patient decision support tools. Tim and Victoria met working on a field research project with Dan Ariely, PhD because of her work on non-monetary rewards with Scott Jeffrey, PhD. She was pushing back on common sense preferences, such as money is the best motivator, just as she is today with her work in the medical field. Our conversation with Victoria began on familiar ground: the preference for cash as a reward and how it’s actually less effective than non-monetary rewards in incentive schemes. But we soon turned to the very personal journey of how she and her mother dealt with decisions surrounding her father’s diagnosis with cancer. Her personal journey became the foundation for important research to help patients, their loved ones and the caregivers communicate more effectively through stories.  It’s a fascinating discussion and we hope you enjoy it.    Links Victoria Shaffer: Shelly Taylor on Biases and Mental Health: Hal Arkes: Decision Support Tools: “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande: MD Anderson Cancer Center: Advance Directives: Palliative Care: Peter Ubel – Duke: Affective Forecasting Errors: Columbia Records: Dan Gilbert:   Kurt Nelson, PhD: Tim Houlihan:   Music Van Halen: Black Sabbath: Ozzy Osbourne: Styx: Depeche Mode: The Cure: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: James Taylor:
Kurt and Tim were invited to attend the Norms and Behavioral Change (NoBeC) workshop at the University of Pennsylvania on October 17 and 18, 2019, and what we experienced blew us away. We were impressed with a terrific diversity of academic fields studying social norms, the great work they are doing, and the generosity of the community (at UPenn as well as the behavioral science researchers from around the world). This gathering was very different from industry assemblies we’ve attended, which in and of itself was not a surprise. However, there were three noteworthy differences. First, the lineup of speakers was heavily weighted toward researchers with findings on projects involving social norms. Second, academic audience members held speakers accountable for rigorous processes and the descriptions of their results. Lastly, the Q&A at the end of each presentation was filled with animated questions from economists, behavioral economists, sociologists, political scientists, philosophers, strategists, law professors, and of course, psychologists. The cross-disciplinary aspect of this group reinforced the need for more diverse thinking in the business world. We came away with a greater appreciation of the role that social norms play in our behaviors and decision making as well as the tremendous research that’s being conducted on related topics. We will be publishing our series of interviews with researchers from the workshop in the coming weeks, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we did.   Links University of Pennsylvania Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences:
Paul Hebert knows incentives. He is the Vice President of Individual Performance Strategy at Creative Group, Inc. and a writer, speaker and consultant and is widely considered an expert on motivation and incentives focused on influencing behaviors that drive business results. Paul has been interviewed by the BBC and USA TODAY because of his work applying solid psychological theory to sales motivation. Paul, Kurt and Tim recently co-authored an eBook called “The 7 Deadly Sins to Avoid in Your Next Sales Incentive.” The purpose was to help sales managers who are struggling to maximize their effort and results when they use sales incentives. In the podcast, we recap the most common sins committed by sales managers and discuss ways of avoiding them. Spread goals evenly Give a huge prize to the top performer Must be above quota to earn We’ll figure it out behind the scenes Under-quota performers can’t be winners It’s all about the Benjamins  We hope you enjoy the discussion and recommend you download the eBook for reference. Links Paul Hebert: 7 Deadly Sins Ebook: Paul Hebert’s Blog: Fistful of Talent Blog:   Elliot Aronson, PhD: Zeno of Citium: Steenburgh and Ahearne “Motivating Salespeople”: Ariely and Heyman “A Tale of Two Markets”: Jeffrey and Shaffer “The Effects of Tangible Rewards”: The guy who traded a paper clip for a house: The Price is Right: Estonia:   Musical Links “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire: “Timothy” by The Bouys: “DOA” by Bloodrock: First Avenue: Trip Shakespeare: Trip Shakespeare “The Slacks” Dan Wilson: Tragically Hip: Morphine: Lucius: Semisonic: Trampled by Turtles: And the Professors: The Mighty Pines: Ewert & the 2 Dragons:
Grooving: On Goals

Grooving: On Goals


Goals are often misunderstood. Goals are much more than just objectives that are handed down to subordinates. Rather, goals are self-determined in the best cases, and at the very least, are set collaboratively to get the most out of them. We discuss Goal Setting Theory (GST), results from research that Tim conducted, and we address the three key elements that must be included to maximize the effect of the goals: 1. The goals must be perceived as achievable. Without perceived achievability, the goal is not accepted and, therefore, not a goal. 2. There must be some involvement with those who are executing the goals. If the goal is handed down from on high without meaningful participation from the person who’s going to act on it, it’s not a goal. 3. There must be a positive relationship between the goal and the reward (including a perceived assessment of risk). As the risk of achievability increases, so must the perceived value of the reward. This short grooving session also delves into some myths and how to deal with them. Ultimately, we want listeners to come away with a clear understanding of the powerful results than can be obtained with practical and effective use of self-selected goals.   Links Zig Ziglar: Goal-Setting Theory: Edward Locke: Gary Latham: Howard Klein: Ran Kivetz: George Loewenstein: Saurabh Bhargava: Raghuram Bommaraju: Raghuram Bommaraju & Sebastian Hohenberg on self-selected goals:   Kurt Nelson, PhD: Tim Houlihan:  
Brad Shuck, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation, and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville.  He is also recognized as one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on employee engagement and is a sought-after speaker from around the world.  Brad’s work is recognized as some of the most influential research in the field of employee engagement and his insights are invaluable. On top of that, Brad is a drummer, a lover of all sorts of music and our discussion traversed topics from the social determinants of health to having parents that were patient enough to allow him to learn drums as a child. In our grooving session, Kurt and Tim dive deeper into creating a work culture of meaning and we ask the musical question: how does moving from town to town as a child impact your musical tastes? And don’t forget to join us for our 100th Episode Celebration on October 17, 2019 in Philadelphia! Eventbrite link:   Links Brad Shuck email:  Brad Shuck web page:  Brad Shuck Google Connection: @drbshuck Teresa Amabile:   Brad’s Research Shuck, B., Alagaraja, M., Immekus, J., Honeycutt, M., & Cumberland, D. (2019). Does compassion matter for leadership: a two-stage sequential equal status mixed method exploratory study of compassionate leader behavior and connections to performance in human resource development. Human Resource Development Quarterly, X, XX-XX. doi: 10.1002/hrdq.21369  Shuck, B., Peyton-Roberts, T., Zigarmi, D. (2018). Employee perceptions of the work environment, motivational outlooks, and employee work intentions: An HR practitioner’s dream or nightmare? Advances in Developing Human Resources, 20, 197-213. doi: 10.1177/1523422318757209 Shuck, B., #Osam, K., Zigarmi, D., & Nimon, K. (2017). Definitional and conceptual muddling: Identifying the positionality of employee engagement and defining the construct. Human Resource Development Review, 16, 263-293. doi: 0.1177/1534484317720622 Shuck, B., Nimon, K., & Zigarmi, D. (2017). Untangling the predictive nomological validity of employee engagement: Decomposing variance in employee engagement using job attitude measures. Group and Organizational Management. 42, 79-112. doi: 10.1177/1059601116642364  Shuck, B., Alagaraja, M., Rose, K., Owen, J., #Osam, K., & Bergman, M. (2017). The health-related upside of employee engagement: Exploratory evidence and implications for theory and practice. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 30, 165-178. doi: 10.1002/piq.21246    Shuck, B., Adelson, J., & Reio, T. (2017). The employee engagement scale: Initial evidence for construct validity and implications for theory and practice. Human Resource Management, 56, 953-977. doi: 10.1002/hrm.21811  Rose, K., Shuck, B., #Twyford, D., & Bergman, M. (2015). Skunked: An integrative review exploring the consequences of dysfunctional leaders and implications for the employees who work for them. Human Resource Development Review, 14, 64-90. doi: 10.1177/1534484314552437   Musical Links Folk Music: A Lion Named Roar: Mumford & Sons: For King and Country: John Coltrane: Rodd Stewart: Kenny G:
Jim Guszcza is the chief data scientist at Deloitte Analytics. His title paints a picture that he’s a total numbers geek. And that would be a fair, but single-dimensional assessment. What it doesn’t speak to is Jim’s passion for behavioral science and, more importantly, the collaboration of data science and behavioral science. He makes a case for the application of behavioral science simply with this analogy: if we need help to see, we get eyeglasses. In so doing, we are using science and technology to help correct our faulty vision. But when it comes to correcting for our biases, we don’t turn to science and technology and that might improve our decision making. But we could. That’s where the collaboration between data science (or Big Data) and behavioral science come together: applying science and technology to decision making. And THAT was fascinating.  In our discussion about music, we talked about Jim’s equal interest in a Dvorak string quartet as much as he is the in the soundtrack to “Wonder Boys” or a great jazz piano performance. He shared he has a penchant for small venues and small bands. He then shared some tips about how to apply behavioral science to your job and your life. He focused on reading books and listening to podcasts as ways to become more educated on the topic and to help you apply behavioral science principles. NOTE: Behavioral Grooves is celebrating our 100th episode in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 17, 2019 with authors Annie Duke and Jeff Kreisler. Our sponsors for the event include PeopleScience and Podbean and we want to thank them for helping us make this possible. If you’re unable to join us in person, we’ll be live streaming the event and we hope you’ll log in there!  Links Jim Guszcza: “Moneyball” Michael Lewis: “Clinical Versus Statistical Prediction” Paul Miele: Richard Thaler: Cass Sunstein: Daniel Kahneman: Imposter syndrome: Bounded Rationality: Bounded Self-Control: Craig Fox, UCLA: Intention Action Gap: Mike Green, Deloitte: Cathy Neil: Robert Cialdini, ASU: “The Design of Everyday Things” Don Norman: Tom Malone, MIT: “Rockonomics” Alan Krueger: “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” Shoshana Zuboff: “Deep Medicine” Eric Topol: Stanford Human Centered AI: Carnegie Mellon Social & Decision Sciences: Behavioral Scientist Ethical Checklist:  “Quiet” Susan Cain: “Thinking in Bets” Annie Duke: Herbert Simon:   Kurt Nelson: @motivationguru Tim Houlihan: @thoulihan 100th Episode Event at Meetup: 100th Episode Event at Eventbrite: Behavioral Grooves: PeopleScience: Podbean:    Musical Links Bob Dylan: Van Morrison: Leonard Cohen: David MacDonald: Arthur Schoenberg: Wigmore Hall: Dvorak String Quartet: Schumann String Quartet: Vijay Iyer: Wonder Boys: Angus & Julia Stone: Flora Cash: Echo and the Bunnymen: The Cure: O.A.R.:
Comments (2)

Prashant Kumar

Great podcast! I learn so much with each episode

Oct 24th
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