DiscoverBehavioral Grooves Podcast
Behavioral Grooves Podcast

Behavioral Grooves Podcast

Author: Kurt Nelson, PhD and Tim Houlihan

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Improve your work and life through science! Behavioral Grooves is a discussion of the positive application of behavioral science to work and life. It's the WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO podcast. Kurt Nelson, Ph.D., and Tim Houlihan interview leading 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.
208 Episodes
Dessa is a singer, rapper, writer, speaker, science and philosophy connoisseur, podcast host, and ice cream flavor inventor. (Her flavor is Dessa’s Existential Crunch which consists of crème fraîche, brown sugar ice cream, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Disaronno Amaretto Liqueur, and a cashew and praline pecan brittle crunch). Dessa has made a career of bucking genres and defying expectations — her résumé as a musician includes being part of the Doomtree collective, a solo artist with performances at Lollapalooza and Glastonbury, co-composer of pieces for 100-voice choir, performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, and top-200 entries on the Billboard charts. She also contributed to the #1 album The Hamilton Mixtape. As a writer, she published a memoir-in-essays called My Own Devices which was released in 2018 in addition to two literary collections along with many articles in journals such as The New York Times and National Geographic Traveler. And now she is the host of a new podcast that explores “why we do the things we do” called Deeply Human. The podcast is a fun exploration of a number of topics and brings in experts to help explain why we behave the way we do. We wanted to talk to Dessa before we knew about her podcast. Here is part of the e-mail that we sent to her publicist to ask for an interview: “While it may seem a bit off-brand for us to ask for an interview with Dessa, we think that it would be fascinating, and we’d love to talk to her about the intersection of music and emotion.   While we typically interview behavioral science researchers and practitioners, we often interview what we call “accidental behavioral scientists.”  These are people who are applying the aspects of behavioral science to their work without really knowing that they are doing it. Dessa captures a lot of our human experience in her lyrics and discussing that would be a wonderful way of exploring this concept. We would also love to talk to her about her experience with the scientific fMRI research that she talks about in her essay, “Call of your ghost.” Our conversation with Dessa examined a wide range of topics – moving from her podcast, to music’s ability to create synchronicity between people, to how we can’t compare subjective experiences, to how emotional connection comes from dropping veils and getting out of our “practiced mirror face.”  This is an episode that you definitely don’t want to miss. © 2021 Behavioral Grooves   Links Dessa: or Deeply Human: wherever you get your podcasts from Lute: The Diary of Ann Frank: Alan Alda: Helen Fisher: Barry Schwartz: Oxytocin: EEG: QEEG: Autism: Epilepsy: Penijean Gracefire: Cheryl Olman: fMRI: Neurofeedback: Harry Haslow – Wire Monkey experiments: Research on Emotion and Narrative - Drummer Boy (Military): “Rock ’n’ Roll but not Sex or Drugs: Music is negatively correlated to depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic via reward-related mechanisms”: Pew Research (2016) The Joy and Urgency of Learning: Common Biases and Heuristics:    Musical Links Dessa “Fighting Fish”: Dessa “The Chaconne” (Kurt’s favorite version of the song with Aby Wolf and Jeremy Messersmith): London Bulgarian Choir: Lady Midnight “Bloodsong”: Chopin’s Mazurkas: Erik Satie “Gymnopédie No. 1”: “Hamilton” soundtrack: “Hamilton Mix Tape”: Dessa Live - Mayada “Haydn Sonata in D”: Chopin “Mazurka Op. 68 n. 2”: Yann Tiersen “La valse d'Amélie”: Tim Houlihan “I Get Lonesome, Too”:  
Can you design an experience for someone else? Jonathan Mann, the Vice President of User Experience at Renaissance Learning says, “Umm, not really.” Prior to joining Renaissance, Jonathan led user experience teams at Target Corporation and PayPal. And as a practitioner, he’s always valued good research to help him, and his teams, deliver better work. Our discussion centered around the question, “is it possible to design an experience?” Jonathan’s research discovered that “an experience” is more than just what we think of as the element that happens in the moment we consider it an experience. Jonathan reminded us that the totality of “an experience” combines three key elements: the anticipation of the experience, the experience itself, and the memory of the experience. A vacation is a great example of this: we plan and anticipate lots of experiences before we arrive at our destination. Then we are flooded with experiences in the moment, and afterward, we have photos to remind us and memories to interpret our experience after the fact. We know that the remembered self is one of the most important reasons we do anything: how we’ll remember it. So why shouldn’t we consider it identifying the experience in its broadest sense? We talked about Jonathan’s meeting with Bob Cialdini and how Jonathan’s work with Bob’s crew brought incredible results to the initiatives they were working on at PayPal. We are always happy to see how nicely behavioral science and business results dovetail. And maybe most importantly, this episode features a live fingerstyle guitar micro-concert by Jonathan. We asked him about playing and he instantly turned around, grabbed his guitar, and started playing for us. His fingerstyle abilities are very fine, and that part of the recording was nothing short of delightful – in every aspect of the word. Enjoy it! We hope you enjoy our episode with Jonathan Mann and discover new ways that you can integrate his clever thinking on designing an experience into your own work. © 2021 Behavioral Grooves   Links Jonathan Mann LinkedIn: Jonathan Mann Album: (with links to Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, etc) Jonathan Mann YouTube: Jonathan Mann Woodworking: Dan Gilbert, “Stumbling on Happiness”: Robert Cialdini - Towel study: Common Biases and Heuristics: The Dakota: Fingerstyle Guitar:     Musical Links Green Day “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”: Stone Temple Pilots “Interstate Love Song”: Leo Kottke “Last Steam Train”: Tommy Emmanuel “Classical Gas”: The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Voodoo Child”:  
Bertram Malle, PhD teaches social cognitive science and social psychology at Brown University, he’s the author of dozens of articles and has focused his recent work on how humans feel about robots, and researches how the etiquette and facial abilities of robots impact how we perceive them. His research indicates that the more human-looking a robot is – especially in its “face” – the more humans are likely to attribute emotions or moral codes to them. Bertram’s work reminds us that the context we experience robots in influences the relationships we build. Maybe more importantly, Bertram reminded us that robots must be designed to exist in very specific contexts. The appearance and communication abilities of a robot that checks us into a doctor’s office needs to be very different from the robots we use to assist us with making an airline reservation. While that may be intuitive on one level, it highlights the remarkable complexity required in the design and manufacturing of these robots. Each one needs to be built for a specific purpose – there is no one-size-fits-all with robots. Bertram reminded us that it’s difficult to imagine that robots will ever reach the complexity and flexibility of their human counterparts. We also parsed out the differences between hope and optimism. This topic was particularly important to because we’re too often conflating the two. Hope, Bertram explained, is something we have when we lack confidence or influence in the outcome. And optimism exists where we might have some degree of influence over the outcome. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Bertram Malle.   © 2021 Behavioral Grooves   Links Bertram Malle, PhD email: Social Cognitive Science Research Lab (Brown University): Bertram Malle, “Theory of Mind”: Bertram Malle & Patty Bruininks “Distinguishing Hope from Optimism and Related Affective States”: Bertram Malle Selected Publications: ABOT: MIT Lab on Automated Vehicles: “Her” film: “Ex Machina” film: TAY: Isaac Asimov: Jóhann Jóhannsson: Hildur Guðnadóttir: Fritz Heider, PhD & Marianne Simmel, PhD, “An experimental study of apparent behavior”:   Common Biases and Heuristics: Minnesota Timberwolves:   Musical Links Radiohead “Hail to the Thief”: Esbjörn Svensson Trio “Seven Days of Falling”: Bill Dixon “Motorcycle ‘66”: Tyshawn Sorey “Unfiltered”: Sigur Ros “Brennisteinn”: Hildur Gu∂nadottir “Unveiled”: Anders Hillborg “Violin Concerto No. 1”: Daniel Lanois with the Venetian Snares: Daniel Lanois with Parachute Club: The Bad Plus “Never Stop II”: Iceland Symphony Orchestra, “Recurrence”: David Chesky, “Jazz in the new harmonic”: Kings of Leon, “Sex on Fire”: “Annihilation” soundtrack: “Tenet” soundtrack:
Logan Ury studied psychology at Harvard, was a TED Fellow, then became a behavioral scientist at Google, where she ran Google’s behavioral science team – which we now know as The Irrational Lab. She became a dating coach and is currently the Director of Relationship Science at the dating app Hinge, where she leads a research team dedicated to helping people find love. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and The Atlantic, among a variety of media outlets, including HBO and the BBC. And you should note that she’s a featured speaker at SXSW 2021. Aside from those cool things, we wanted to talk to her because she is the author of How To Not Die Alone. In our conversation with Logan, we talked about the challenges people face in getting prepared for dating, making the most of their dating experiences, and maintaining great relationships once they’ve landed in one. She shared her insights into how to overcome some of the common hurdles and to make the most out of each phase of the dating life. We had an interesting discussion about why moving from ‘romanticizer’ or ‘maximizer’ to ‘satisficer’ can make a big difference in your relationships (and in life). We talked about the Monet Effect and how we need to work hard to overcome some of our biggest biases – like the fundamental attribution error and negativity bias. She was also kind enough to share a little bit about her communal living conditions and her recommendation that we all need more significant others – OSO’s – in these turbulent times. NOTE #1: The “F” word features prominently in our conversation since it’s in the title of one of her book’s chapters. NOTE #2: Christina Gravert joined for our Grooving Session as our first-ever Grooving Partner, and you’ll hear her in the introduction, as well. We’re pleased that our good friend was named by Forbes magazine as one of the top behavioral scientists you ought to know. Christina teaches Economics at the University of Copenhagen, is a co-founder of Impactually, a behavioral consultancy, she has been a guest on Behavioral Grooves (episode 16 on creating a Nudge-A-Thon), and was a speaker at Nudge.It North 2021. © 2021 Behavioral Grooves   Links Logan Ury: “How to Not Die Alone”: Ira Glass: Dan Ariely: Esther Perel: John Gottman, The Gottman Institute: Eli Finkel: Daniel Gilbert: Jane Ebert: Alain De Botton “School of Life”: Reiki: “Algorithms to Live By”: John Nash “A Beautiful Mind”: Nicole Prause: 36 Questions That Lead to Love: The School of Life books: Shelley Archambeau – Episode 204: Christina Gravert – Episode 16: Christina Gravert, “Online Dating Like a Game Theorist”: Christina Gravert – Impactually: “10 Behavioral Scientists You Should Know”:   Musical Links “Hamilton” soundtrack: Chance the Rapper “Coloring Book”: Bush “Glycerine”: 
Shellye Archambeau is the author of “Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms.” It’s part memoir, part inspiration, and career guidebook. While Shellye argues it’s for everyone, we reckon it’s really best suited for the most ambitious among us. In the book, Shellye shares how she went from being the only black girl in her high school to being the CEO of a Silicon Valley tech firm, MetricStream. And it’s an amazing tale of an amazing woman. In our conversation with Shellye, she talked with us about the challenges she faced growing up. But what was more interesting to us was talking with her about the way she makes decisions. She has this ability to see how things fit – or don’t fit – into her personal and business goals. And then she acts on them with amazing conviction. She is one remarkable person. We talked about how she has a strong inclination to set lofty goals – that we call BHAGS (big, hairy, audacious goals) – that never changes over the course of her career. These BHAGS gave her a North Star to navigate by. But the BRICKS (the steppingstones to needed to achieve long-term goals) she used along her journey were flexible and changed as her situation changed. This flexibility is something we wanted to call out, because it wasn’t just being flexible that got her where she is today. Her incredible ability to create plans and execute those plans is what really set her apart from her peers. And we can imagine that all of her peers at IBM were talented, skilled, smart, and driven. Just not as much as Shellye.   INTERESTED IN BEING A PART-TIME INTERN FOR BEHAVIORAL GROOVES? If you’d like to pursue being a part-time intern with Behavioral Grooves, please contact Kurt or Tim directly. Kurt Nelson, PhD: Tim Houlihan:   “Transfiguration” by Jonathan Benson is used for the interstitial music in this episode. © 2021 Behavioral Grooves   Links Shellye Archambeau on Twitter: @ShelArchambeau Shellye’s web site: “Unapologetically Ambitious”: Carol Dweck – Growth Mindset: George Bernard Shaw: Stephen Curtis, Episode # 148: Locke & Latham on Goals: Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years”:   Musical Links Steve Miller “Fly Like an Eagle”: Spinners “I’ll Be Around”: Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On”: The O’ Jays, “Love Train”: Teddy Pendergrass, “Turn Off the Lights”: Alfie Pollitt, "Say It (Over and Over)": Earl Klugh, “This Time”: Dave Koz, “You Make Me Smile”: Brian Culbertson, “Colors of Love”: Praful, “Don't Fight with Life/Om Namah Shivaya”: George Benson, “On Broadway”: Elton John, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”: Audrey Hepburn, “Moon River”:
Nuala Walsh is a strategic adviser with MindEquity, working with organizations to create reputation, commercial and cultural change. She is a global leader, an award-winning marketeer, and a behavioral scientist. Nuala has nearly 3 decades of strategic, commercial, and governance experience in asset management, investment banking, and consulting. All her strategic solutions are informed by decision science & behavioral frameworks. Nuala is also the Non-Executive Director of GAABS, the Vice-Chair of UN Women, and she has been the Chief Marketing Officer, Standard Life Aberdeen. In short, she’s a remarkable person whose insights are worth paying attention to as both a practitioner and a researcher. We spoke with Nuala recently about some investigations she completed on two topics. The first was to understand the impact that fake news has on our ‘remembering’ self. What she discovered is that our memories don’t discriminate between true or false information – we tend to remember it all roughly the same way, when we believe it at the start. The second area we discussed was about whistleblowers in modern corporations. Without the proper environment, whistleblowers don’t act or can be maltreated within an organization when they do raise their hands. Nuala’s got some ideas on how to change that. Here’s her list of tips for improving your corporate culture to support whistleblowers: Reframe. The word whistleblowing is a negative word, so reframing it as “speaking up” could be more positive. There's a shift in how companies can rewrite how they message to employees. Economic. Scandalized companies earn 4% less than firms that have not experienced major scandals. So by definition, a company could earn 4% more if it’s clean and could impact employees' wages should they go to another firm. Rewards. Rewarding employees with relevant incentives and she is quick to recommend against financial, such as appropriately recognizing people, sharing salient stories of courage, talking about people in the company, people outside the company as role models…all of these can contribute positively to better company culture. By taking bad behavior out of the shadows or removing the Social Norming effect of removing it from secrecy is a powerful tool. But you can't just point to somebody internally to highlight their courage, leaders need to appropriately highlight teams that have called out errors that prevented disasters. It’s best to not pinpoint an individual because of personal risk and a lot of potential threats. Make it Normal. Employees won’t speak up in a dangerous work environment. The more you make the environment open and communal and part of the cultural norm, the less fear that is induced on people and the greater likelihood they’ll point out bad behavior when it happens. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Nuala as much as we did. If you like it, please don’t hesitate to give Behavioral Grooves a quick rating on your listening app. Links Nuala Walsh: Anthony Hopkins: Robert De Niro: Dan Gilbert: Daniel Kahneman: Elizabeth Loftus: Common Biases and Heuristics: Merle van den Akker: The Innocence Project: Josef Mengele: Ted Bundy: Ann Rule: OJ Simpson: Bibb Latané: John Darley: Kitty Genovese and The Bystander Effect: Robert Cialdini: Cass Sunstein: GAABS: Bloomberg: Nudge: Predictably Irrational: On False Creating False Memories:,recall%20or%20recognize%20these%20words. “On the prediction of occurrence of particular verbal intrusions in immediate recall”   Musical Links Tim Houlihan “Another Orion”: Eurythmics “Here Comes the Rain Again”: Tina Turner “Proud Mary”: Queen: Michael Jackson “Billy Jean”: Carmen Monarca “Habanera”: U2 “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”: Van Morrison “Into the Mystic”: Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel”:   © 2021 Behavioral Grooves
Chaning Jang is the CSO of the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics and has helped lead the organization since 2013. He is responsible for strategy, and a portfolio of projects, primarily focused on research. Prior to joining Busara, Chaning worked as an English teacher in the Czech Republic and an equities trader in Los Angeles. Chaning completed a Postdoc at Princeton University in Psychology and Public Affairs, holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Hawai'i with specialization in Behavioral Economics and Development, and a bachelor's in Managerial Economics from the University of California, Davis.  He is also a CFA level II holder. We spoke to Chaning one night (for him) from his office in Nairobi, Kenya and we focused our discussion on context and how so much of psychological research has been focused in WEIRD countries (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic). Because of this focus and how behavior can be linked to cultural and social norms, countries that are not WEIRD are often unable to successfully apply the research that was executed in WEIRD cultures. Chaning is trying to change that. The work that the Busara Center is doing is important on many levels, the most significant is trying to eliminate poverty at the heart of where it is the worst on earth: Africa. Chaning’s work is fascinating, his ideas sparkle with intensity, and his comments are inspiring. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Chaning Jang. We are grateful to Allison Zelkowitz from Save the Children for connecting us.   Links Chaning Jang, PhD: Busara Center for Behavioral Economics: Dan Ariely, PhD: WEIRD: Johannes Haushofer, PhD: Kahneman & Tversky: The Linda Problem (Conjunction Fallacy): Jeremy Shapiro, PhD: Economic and psychological effects of health insurance and cash transfers: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Kenya: Trier Social Stress Test: Cold Pressor Test: Kevin Parker: Poverty Decreases IQ:   Musical Links Tame Impala (Australian psych-rock): John Lennon “Instant Karma”: Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams “Get Lucky”: Fleetwood Mac “The Chain”: Joji “Your Man”: Fleet Foxes “Can I Believe You”: Freddie Mercury “I’m The Great Pretender”:   © 2021 Behavioral Grooves
Jonah Berger is a marketing professor in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the internationally best-selling author Contagious and Invisible Influence. He consults with some of the largest corporations in the world and derives great insights from his interactions with business leaders wrestling with strategic issues. In this episode, we caught up with Jonah to discuss his most recent book called The Catalyst. His book takes a counter-intuitive view on persuasion by focusing on reducing barriers to change rather than learning just the right lines, information, or coercive measures to use. Jonah advocates for first understanding why people are doing what they’re doing before we try to get them to do something else. He shared his REDUCE model with us - Reactance, Endowment, Distance, Uncertainty, and Corroborating Evidence – and we dove into Reactance as a major component of how we resist change. The harder you push on someone to change, the more likely they are to push back. It’s natural for us to push back and to illustrate, just try this little experiment with someone in your household (another adult). Ask your adult counterpart to hold up their hand at shoulder level and have your palms meet. Tell them you’re going to push on their hand, then do it with some force. Do they push back to slow the advance of your hand or do they just go limp and let you push their hand as far as you can? It’s likely that they’ll push back. The same is true of any behavior change. And that’s okay. Our natural tendencies serve us well in many situations, but not all. Jonah’s perspective on how catalysts change behavior will open your mind to new ideas. We hope you enjoy it and, this week, find your groove. © 2021 Behavioral Grooves Links Jonah Berger, PhD: Jonah Berger Additional Resources:  Lee Ross, PhD: Mark Lepper, PhD: Kurt Lewin, PhD “Force Field Analysis”:   Musical Links Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You”: Queen “We Will Rock You”: Tim Houlihan “Thinking About You”: Dolly Parton “I Will Always Love You”:  
Recently, NPR’s Planet Money penned an article about how much our time is worth based on some research that was sponsored by the rideshare company Lyft. According to the article, Lyft economists tried to determine how much people were willing to pay to save some time. After crunching data from nine different cities, Lyft estimated the average value of time is $19.00 per hour. In this episode, Kurt and Tim discussed Ashley Whillan’s new book, “Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life,” some of the fundamental errors humans experience with time such as temporal discounting, loads of stats you’ll probably never need. We discover that better time management leads to greater happiness and combining habits and mindset is critical to wellbeing.  By the way, the US Department of Transportation’s official value of people’s time is $14.00 per hour. Go figure. © 2020 Behavioral Grooves     Links Planet Money (NPR): What Is Your Time Worth?: Big Think – Life in Numbers: Ashley Whillans, “Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life”:
Have you ever been caught in an avalanche or spoken to someone who survived? In this episode, you’ll hear what living through an avalanche is really like. Audun Hetland (a psychologist) and Andrea Mannberg (an economist) are researchers at the White Heat Project in Tromsø, Norway. The project is a collaboration between The Arctic University of Norway, Montana State University, and Umeå University, in Sweden. Their international team also includes researchers in geography, snow science, and political science. They are focused on the effects of positional preferences and bounded rationality on risk-taking behavior, and more specifically, skiing in avalanche terrain. As project leader, Andrea spoke about how this interdisciplinary team is helping backcountry skiers do a better job of managing their risk in avalanche terrain. To do so, they are studying decision-making under uncertainty and the curious way cold and hot states affect our choices. Their work has clear implications for corporate leaders who make decisions about budgets and human resources, and in many situations, the consequences can be quite high. In case you’re not familiar with Tromsø, Norway, it is a 2-hour flight north of the Arctic Circle. © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Andrea Mannberg, PhD and Audun Hetland, PhD: White Heat Project: Bridger Bowl: George Loewenstein & Dan Ariely’s paper on hot states vs. cold states: Seinfeld Morning Guy vs. Night Guy: Max Bazerman “Better, Not Perfect” Episode 196: Common Biases & Heuristics:   Musical Links John Coltrane “Green Dolphin Street”: Tom Waits “Tom Traubert’s Blues”: White Stripes “Seven Nation Army”: Monster: Monster: The Clash “London Calling”: Folk og Røvere: Philter: Andrea’s “dance song”: Isolation Years (A band from Andrea’s home town): The Knife: First Aid Kit:  
Joel Weinberger is a Professor of Psychology at the Derner Institute at Adelphi University with Postdoctoral training in motivation at Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and of the American Psychological Association. His research has focused on unconscious processes and worked closely during his post-doc with motivation guru David McClelland. Joel is the founder of the consulting firm Implicit Strategies, where he helps political campaigns, non-profits, and businesses discover what consumers unconsciously think and feel about their candidate, product, or brand. In addition to roughly 100 peer-reviewed articles, his political and business commentaries have appeared in various outlets, including The Huffington Post, Anderson Cooper, and Good Morning America. In addition to writing, teaching, and consulting, Joel is a practicing clinical psychologist. We are here to talk with him about his seminal book, The Unconscious, that we came to because of a generous recommendation from Yale scholar, John Bargh, PhD. We spoke with Joel in late June 2020 and, regrettably, we failed to publish our conversation earlier. So, you’ll hear some references to the 2020 campaign that are asynchronous to where we are today; that said, Joel successfully predicted the outcome of the US Presidential election back in June! Predictions aside, Joel’s encyclopedic knowledge of research on the unconscious is - dare I say - thrilling. We discussed Joel’s admiration for the work of Sigmund Freud, his collaborations with David McClelland, the interplay between the conscious and the unconscious, and research he’s done with his long-time partner, Drew Westen. We covered political campaigns, deniers of the unconscious, and the liberating voice of Sam Cooke. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Joel and happy new year! (And good riddance to 2020!) © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Joel Weinberger, PhD: “Unconscious: Theory, Research and Clinical Implications”: Mickey Mantle: David McClelland, PhD: David McClelland and Joel Weinberger on Implicit vs. Self Attributed: Sigmund Freud “The Interpretation of Dreams”: Sigmund Freud “The Unconscious”: Drew Westen, “The Political Brain”: Weinberger & Westen “RATS, We Should Have Used Clinton: Subliminal Priming in Political Campaigns”: Heddy Lamarr: Blues music: AJ Jacobs “The Year of Living Biblically”: Kwame Christian on Compassionate Curiosity – Episode 178:   Musical Links “Yesterday” by the Beatles: Sam Cooke “Bring it on Home to Me” (Harlem Version): Tedeschi Trucks Band - "Bring It On Home To Me": Leadbelly “Goodnight, Irene”: BB King “The Thrill is Gone”:
If you’re like the rest of us, your new year’s resolutions don’t last beyond St. Valentine’s Day. That’s okay – it’s normal. The trouble is it’s not what you want. If you WANT success with your resolutions – to accomplish your goals – then listen to this podcast. We’ve broken down the best behavioral science advice into 4 easy-to-follow tips that will help you achieve what it is you’re passionately committed to at the start of the year. We’ve incorporated research from some of the best work in the field is combined with the real-life experiences of our hosts, Kurt Nelson, PhD, and Tim Houlihan. Enjoy and please join us in saying “So long!” to 2020 with our last episode of the year. If you like our work, please give us a super quick rating or take a luxurious minute while you’re waiting for the oven to heat up for your holiday bake and give us a short review. Thank you and we look forward to a better year ahead. © 2020 Behavioral Grooves  
Max Bazerman is the Jesse Isidor Strauss Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and is the author of “Better, Not Perfect.” It is the latest in a string of 21 books Max has authored and stands on the platform of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers on decision-making, negotiations, and ethics. Max began by discussing the Myth of the Fixed Pie problem, which is quite common in negotiations. The Myth of the Fixed Pie indicates that we tend to rely on the way a problem is initially framed rather than thinking beyond it. We also talked about the importance of using our time wisely by being conscious of the things and experiences we focus on. Max’s worldview seems to be stitched together with the thread of human kindness. We found him, and our conversation with him, to be incredibly inspiring. Even though we caught up with Max early in the Fall, we felt so much joy and optimism in our conversation, that we decided to conclude 2020 with Max’s take on how much better humanity – not just everyone, but you and I individually, too – can be, if we just pay attention to our decisions We hope you enjoy our conversation with Max and if you liked it, please give us a quick rating or a review. Thanks for a good year, Groovers, and now on to 2021 © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Max Bazerman: Bazerman “Better, Not Perfect”: Bazerman “The Power of Noticing”: Silver Oak Cabernet – Alexander Valley: Sam Smith chocolate stout: David Messick: Ann Tenbrunsel: Mazarin Bhanaji: Dolly Chugh: Chugh “The Person You Want to Be”: Jeremy Bentham: John Stuart Mill: Peter Singer: Josh Greene: Greene “Moral Tribes”: Utilitarianism: Mort Seligman Learned Helplessness Lab: Robert McCollum, Department of Justice: Matt Meyers: Kahneman & Tversky: Thaler & Sunstein: Effective Altruism: David Ricardo – Comparative Advantage:   Musical Links Aoife O'Donovan“Oh, Mama”: Tracy Grammar “If I Needed You”: Simon & Garfunkel “Sound of Silence”: Simon & Garfunkel with Andy Williams “Scarborough Fair”: Scarborough Fair / Canticle - Jadyn Rylee, Sina and Charlotte Zone: Joan Baez “Blowin in the Wind”: Tom Rush “No Regrets”: Carole King “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman”: Crooked Still “Little Sadie”:
This is THE episode to listen to if you have missed the last 90 episodes. We can all agree that 2020 has been one hell of a year. Many people have been severely impacted by the pandemic, by financial uncertainty, with civil unrest, and the general malaise that the year seemed to have. Many are excited to say, “Good riddance!” The same goes for us, but Kurt and Tim have also used 2020 to surpass several milestones that we’d like to share with you. #1 Best Behavioral Science Podcast as voted by listeners of Habit Weekly (which was very, very cool – thank you to everyone who voted for us – we are humbled!) Global Top 20 Behavioral Science Podcast by Chartable 90 episodes this year (started with Rory at 107, will end with New Year’s Resolutions at 197) 72 unique guests 120 countries download Behavioral Grooves 3rd year in a row of fantastic growth (110% growth this year over last year) 30 episodes dedicated to putting a behavioral science lens on the coronavirus pandemic This episode is a rear-view mirror glance at some of our favorite conversations from 2020. We’ve included great quotes from terrific guests – in their own voices – so you can get a quick feel for what Behavioral Grooves is all about. And we are pushing full steam ahead into 2021 with plans for more remarkable insights from amazing guests, more grooving sessions on topical issues from Kurt and Tim, and a couple of new series that will bring applied behavioral science to you in ways that will enrich your personal and professional life. © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Kurt Nelson, PhD: @motivationguru Tim Houlihan: @THoulihan Behavioral Grooves: Nudge.It North Conference: Habit Weekly: Annie Duke – Episode 176: Max Bazerman – Episode not yet published: Gary Latham – Episode 147: Ryan McShane – Episode 191: Chiara Varazzani – Episode 118: Roy Baumeister – Episode 171: Eric Oliver – Episode 172: Bill von Hippel – Episode 187: Amy Bucher – Episode 192: Jessica Mayhew – Episode 179: Eli Finkel – Episode 174: Steve Martin & Joe Marks – Episode 110: John Bargh – Episode 155: Kwame Christian – Episode 178: Rory Sutherland – Episode 107:   © 2020 Behavioral Grooves
Pretty much everyone around the world agrees that 2020 was a challenging year and we’re glad it’s all but over. However, 2020 was a year we upped the number of guests (to 90), upped our reading habits (20+ books for the show), and had more authors as guests than in any previous year. In short, Kurt and Tim read a lot of new books. And because we read bunches of them, we’re here to save you time by offering you our view of the top 10 books – 5 from Kurt and 5 from Tim – on behavioral science from 2020. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did – and as always, let us know what you think! For quick reference, here’s our list with links for your enjoyment. And here’s to happy reading in 2021! Top Book List from Kurt “Behave,” by Robert Sapolsky: “Good Habits, Bad Habits,” by Wendy Wood: “Scarcity,” by Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan: “Think Like a Rocket Scientist,” Ozan Varol: “Before You Know It,” by John Bargh: Top Book List from Tim “How to Decide,” by Annie Duke: “Behavioral Insights,” by Michael Hallsworth and Elspeth Kirkman: “Alchemy,” by Rory Sutherland: “Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t, and Why,” by Steve Martin & Joe Marks: “Unleash Your Primal Brain,” by Tim Ash:   Honorable Mentions “Elevate,” by Robert Glazer “Designing for Behavior Change,” by Steve Wendel “Invisible Influences,” by Jonah Berger “White Fragility,” Robin DeAngelo “The All-Or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work,” by Eli Finkel “The Power of Bad,” by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney “Better, Not Perfect,” by Max Bazerman “Time Smart,” by Ashley Whillans “Blindsight: the mostly hidden ways marketing shapes our brains,” by Prince Ghuman and Matt Johnson Thanks for listening and we hope you find your groove with these books! © 2020 Behavioral Grooves
Are the new COVID-19 vaccines are safe? It will probably take time to know for sure; however, this week Kurt and Tim discuss the behavioral aspects of the transition. Kurt was engaged by an article in Bloomberg called “Vaccines May Have Social Side Effects,” by Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University. Professor Cowen raised the idea that the mere presence of vaccines may give people an unwarranted boost in confidence and lead to less mask-wearing and social distancing. In this 8-and-a-half-minute grooving session, we discuss some of the behavioral aspects of the transition. © 2020 Behavioral Grooves    Links “Vaccines May Have social Side Effects”: How a Covid-19 Vaccine Could End Up Helping the Virus Spread:  
Amy Bucher, PhD is the Vice President of Behavior Change Design at Mad*Pow and the author of “Engaged,” a new book on how to apply behavioral science to the design and development of products. At Mad*Pow, she designs motivating interventions to help people live healthier and happier lives and, in her spare time, knocks 150 books off her reading list every year. (OMG!) Amy was recently recognized as one of 10 behavioral scientists you should know in Forbes magazine. While we did spend a bit of time on the article and her work at Mad*Pow, most of our conversation focused on the book. We talked about motivation and the incredible power that idiosyncratic messaging can have on customers when used properly by marketing and sales. We also discussed participatory design, trust, and how important it is for product developers and marketers to demonstrate trust. She also offered her thoughts on how designers need to do a better job of integrating behavioral science into their products. Some are doing it, but there are lots of opportunities for improvement Amy offered some ideas on this. Lastly, we want to note that Amy wrote that one of the most important reminders for the corporate world: Almost everything a designer makes has behavior change built into it. The smart designers will be thinking about that as they design their products (or enhancements). We hope you enjoy this conversation with Amy as much as we did and hope that this week, you find your groove. © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Amy Bucher, PhD: “Engaged”: CODE for 20% off “Engaged”: BGpodcast1220 “Super Better” by Jane McGonigal:  “Atomic Habits” by James Clear:  Forbes Article: “Top Behavioral Scientists You Should Know”: Pattern Health: Ran Kivetz, PhD “Idiosyncratic Fit”: Peppers & Rogers 1:1 Marketing: McDonald’s milkshake innovation: Adam Hansen: Bent Handle Snow Shovel:   Musical Links R.E.M. “Losing My Religion”: Michael Stipe: Britney Spears: Robyn: The Doves “There Goes The Fear”: Pulp: Manchester Orchestra: Depeche Mode “Personal Jesus”:
Ryan McShane is the President and CEO of HR Evolution, a consultancy that designs systems that support employee alignment to organizational purpose through HR best practices, organizational development initiatives, and professional development solutions. We discussed a variety of HR related topics including psychological safety, emotional intelligence, and what can be done when it comes to improving the mindset of leaders. Ryan stressed that WIIFM (what’s in it for me) is central to the impetus to change at all levels of the organization. Plus, he offered a particularly cool insight: Change comes about when the pain of staying the same is higher than doing something different. We also discussed how the social contract between the employer and the employee has changed dramatically. And we got to hear Ryan’s rationale for being so optimistic about a future where employers need to put forth extra effort to attract and retain the best and brightest workers. It got us thinking: could the growing gig economy actually offer more value to the employees than the employers? Lastly, we appreciated Ryan’s approach to working through the pandemic and the reminder that intimidation and scare tactics have no place in today’s workplace. Frederick Taylor’s vision of work should be a thing of the past. Period. We hope you enjoy our conversation with this very bright behavioral science practitioner, and as always, let us know what you think! © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Ryan McShane: Ryan’s email: HR Evolution: Zappos: US Census Bureau Pulse Surveys: Schumann Resonance:,Earth's%20surface%20and%20the%20ionosphere.   Fredrick Taylor: Muir Woods:   Musical Links Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock: Grateful Dead “Ripple”: Nirvana “About a Girl”: Radio Head “Hail to the Thief”:  Smashing Pumpkins:  432 Hertz Music (Musik): JS Bach “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3”: Linda Diaz “Green Tea Ice Cream”: “Sunny Side of the Street”: Fabiano de Nascimento: Depeche Mode: Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor:
Cornelia Walther has spent most of her professional career with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program (WFP). She was the head of communications in large-scale emergencies in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. She earned her PhD in Law and is a certified yoga instructor and her current work is a remarkable amalgam of her studies and her life’s journey. In recent years, she developed POZE as a way of exploring the world to help uncover deeper levels of happiness. (POZE is an opening spiral that can stand for, among a few things, to Pause for a moment, Observe what’s going on around you, Zoom in on yourself, and Experience what is going on in the world.) These are wise and weighty thoughts and we thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with her. We also discussed how we are all interconnected – that your world and my world may be very different, yet we share connections if we only give ourselves the chance to experience them. The hope is that we recognize this connectedness – both at a personal level and at a larger global level – and bring greater meaning and happiness to our lives through this connectedness. One of our favorite lines from our discussion with Cornelia was this: “So driven was I by the craving for some thing or another, that I omitted to savor the beauty of now.”  We all need to take a moment, pause, and savor the beauty of now. © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Cornelia Walther: POZE: Gary Latham, PhD, Episode 147: Creole Language: Brad Shuck, PhD, Episode 91: Development, Humanitarian Aid and Social Welfare. Social Change from the Inside Out (May 2020): Humanitarian Work, Social Change, and Human behavior. Compassion for Change (June 2020): Development and Connection in times of Covid. Corona’s Call for Conscious Choices (October 2020): Social Change from the Inside Out. From Fixation to Foundation. From Competition to Change: From Individual wellbeing to collective welfare: Musical Links Pink “So What”: Verdi, “Aida”: Dvorak, “Symphony of the New World”:   Beatles, “Don’t Let Me Down”: Depeche Mode, “People Are People”: Mariza, “Quem Me Dera”: Ayub Ogada, “Kothbiro”: Giberto Gil: Fabiano do Nascimento, “Nana”: Tim Sparks, “Klezmer Medley”:  
Kevin Vallier, PhD is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, where he directs their Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law programs. Kevin’s interests span a wide spectrum including political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of religion, politics, and economics. He is the author of peer-reviewed book chapters and journal articles, and his recent books include Must Politics Be War? Restoring Our Trust in the Open Society (Oxford UP 2019) and, his newest book, Trust in a Polarized Age (Oxford UP 2020). We focused our discussion on Kevin’s philosophical viewpoint of political issues, traversing the axes of polarization and trust. We spent some time discussing how focusing on progress and process might be good short-term balms for our broken nation. We also asked him about potential solutions to our current situation in the United States and his answers might surprise you. Kevin offered approaches that only a political philosopher might have, and we enjoyed his unique perspective. His best tip for healing our nation’s divides (in the short term) might be as simple as joining a church or non-political non-profit organization to help your community. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Kevin Vallier. © 2020 Behavioral Grooves   Links Kevin Vallier, PhD:  Revolving Door: Ranked Choice Voting: Trump/Obama Valedictorian Speech: Robert Cialdini, PhD: Ideas42: Coleman’s Boat: Robber’s Cave Experiment: Nudge.It North: Musical Links Dolly Parton: Chet Atkins: Alison Kraus: Maynard Ferguson: Sufjan Stevens: Gregorian chant: Valaam chant: Byzantine notation: Organum: “Be Thou My Vision”:
Comments (2)

Prashant Kumar

Great podcast! I learn so much with each episode

Oct 24th
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