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Life is better through a behavioral lens. This weekly podcast tackles topical news items and gives them additional meaning by applying behavioral science to them.
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This week we look at how we communicate risk and uncertainty.  In an article from Harvard Business Review titled, “The Art of Communicating Risk” by Anne Cleaveland, Cussins Newman, and Steven Weber, the authors outline how communicating risk, particularly uncertain risk, is at the very least, difficult.Sometimes, the recipients of the message are underestimated; however, we are actually pretty good at coping with “straightforward bad news.” Our communication style and frequency matter the most when we face uncertainty, especially in situations where we can’t tell how bad something might be.The article identifies a common dilemma that firms wrestle with: whether to err on the side of communicating too much or too frequently, OR not enough and too infrequently.  The idea is that both have negative consequences and finding the sweet spot is challenging.Our discussion focuses a behavioral lens on three directives that companies should consider in risk communication. First, stop improvising. Second, change the metric for success and measure the results. And finally, design risk communications from the beginning. We hope you enjoy this week’s discussion of the application of behavioral science and, if you did, please take a moment to give us a quick rating or review. We hope you go out and find your groove this week. LinksHBR Article: The Art of Communicating Risk: https://hbr.org/2020/09/the-art-of-communicating-risk?utm_campaign=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=97432048&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8nQTZBdA_wxHEidLHYRdp--uNeQFG7seEZUAH681QXpA_PSP5Ql8Qt7Jt9FpF6LLA2Usx4qQ0V2kPMCyGh_d4a-MqrQQ&utm_content=97432148&utm_source=hs_emailAnurag Vaish, co-founder of The Final Mile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anurag-vaish-1987818/?originalSubdomain=inTeresa Amabile, PhD: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=6409Premortem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-mortem#:~:text=A%20pre%2Dmortem%2C%20or%20premortem,of%20the%20project%20or%20organization.
We were inspired by a recent article on CNBC’s website by Cory Steig, called “ 'Psychological safety’ at work improves productivity–here are 4 ways to get it, according to a Harvard expert.” The piece reviews some research on psychology safety that Kurt and I have been focused on for years.Psychological safety is a concept that was identified by Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson from work in the 1990’s. Professor Edmondson defines psychological safety as “a workplace where one feels that one’s voice is welcome with bad news, questions, concerns, half-baked ideas and even mistakes.”  One way we experience this is when we feel that the team has my back through both good and bad. Kurt and Tim believe that psychological safety is both undervalued and under-implemented in companies today and we hope listeners can apply some of the key points in this brief discussion to their workplace.© 2020 Weekly Grooves LinksKurt Nelson, PhD: Kurt@LanternGroup.comTim Houlihan: Tim@BehaviorAlchemy.com  Psychological Safety at work improves productivity:  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/05/why-psychological-safety-is-important-at-work-and-how-to-create-it.htmlHow Making a Mistake in the Interview Could Land You the Job: https://www.vault.com/blogs/interviewing/how-making-a-mistake-in-the-interview-could-land-you-the-jobRe:Work – Google shares much of the insights from Project Aristotle and how to implement them:  https://rework.withgoogle.com/print/guides/5721312655835136/Forbes article by Shane Snow that overviews Psychological Safety and describes what it is and is not – nice summary that helps clarify key aspects of this concept:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/shanesnow/2020/05/04/how-psychological-safety-actually-works/#51e147dbf864How to foster psychological safety in virtual meetings: https://hbr.org/2020/08/how-to-foster-psychological-safety-in-virtual-meetingsElliot Aronson, PhD Coffee Study: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratfall_effect
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Noah Weiland of The New York Times wrote an article titled, “Study Finds ‘Single Largest Driver’ of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump.”  The article is based on research from the Cornell Alliance for Science that analyzed over 38 million articles around the world on the pandemic. They found that “Mentions of Trump made up nearly 38% of the overall “misinformation conversation,” making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic.”Of the 38 million articles on the pandemic, 1.1 million of them “disseminated, amplified or reported on misinformation related to the pandemic.”  The study found 11 topics of misinformation that were prevalent in these articles – ranging from the pandemic being a hoax facilitated by the Democrats to the virus being a deep state or bioweapon of China to the most common one – miracle cures.Kurt and Tim decided to break down the discussion into three parts: 1.) The psychology of misinformation.  2.) The messenger effect and 3.) The psychology behind why Donald Trump might be doing this.© 2020 Weekly Grooves Links“Study Finds 'Single Largest Driver' of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump”: https://news.yahoo.com/study-finds-single-largest-driver-120309389.htmlCORONAVIRUS MISINFORMATION: Quantifying sources and themes in the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’: https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Evanega-et-al-Coronavirus-misinformationFINAL.pdfWhat drove the COVID misinformation ‘infodemic’: https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2020/10/what-drove-the-covid-misinformation-infodemic/“Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t, and Why”: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/43522604 
This week’s groove comes from an article by Laura Counts from the University of California at Berkley, where she reported on some research by Berkeley Haas professor, Cameron Anderson. Professor Anderson’s research points out that being a jerk, while it might get you some immediate gains, in the long run is a bad strategy.  In two longitudinal studies that Anderson and his colleagues conducted, they found that “disagreeable individuals did not attain higher power” relative to others. This flies in the face of some commonly held beliefs, but this belief stems from availability bias, where some high profile leaders are egotistical and mean.  And as Laura states in her article, “It’s not to say that jerks don’t reach positions of power. It’s just that they don’t get ahead faster than others,”Kurt and Tim decided to integrate the thoughts of two great ideas into this discussion. The first is Adam Grant in his description of three main social interaction types: Givers, Takers, and Matchers. The other is based on the work of Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria, and it’s called the 4 Drive Model. We think both of these approaches add context to Professor Anderson’s work.We hope you enjoy this episode. If you like it, please share it with a friend, mention us on social media or leave us a review on whichever pod service you use. We hope you go out and find your groove this week!   Links“Being a selfish jerk doesn’t get you ahead, research finds,” by Laura Counts, August 31, 2020. https://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/research/being-a-selfish-jerk-doesnt-get-you-ahead-research-finds/?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email“People with disagreeable personalities (selfish, combative, and manipulative) do not have an advantage in pursuing power at work.” Anderson, Sharps, Soto and John (2020) https://www.pnas.org/content/117/37/22780Adam Grant, “Give & Take” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16158498-give-and-takeLawrence & Nohria, 4 Drive Model: https://www.leadersbeacon.com/how-great-leaders-use-the-4-drive-model-to-impact-employee-motivation/#:~:text=The%204%2DDrive%20Theory%20of,%2C%20and%20to%20Define%20%26%20Defend.
We got a call recently from Eugen Dimant, a friend of ours who is an associate professor in behavioral and decision sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, about how the University of Michigan was trying to let students know that they should only gather in groups of 25 of less.Eugen suggested we tee it up as a topical issue for Weekly Grooves and we readily agreed. It led to a discussion about what colleges are doing to regulate student activites to contain the coronavirus, the punishments involved in breaking those regulations, the environment in which students make deicisons on how to behave, and the importance of proper communication.Also, in this episode we include some of the conversation we had with Eugen, which is a departure from our standard approach and we hope you enjoy it. Eugen’s insights from a  sociological perspective make for important reminders in an age when when the words we choose to communicate impacts whether get sick or not people.As always, please let us know what you think and share it with a friend or colleague.© 2020 Weekly GroovesLinksEugen Dimant, PhD: https://ppe.sas.upenn.edu/people/eugen-dimantUniversity of Michigan Tweet: https://twitter.com/UMich/status/1299069416202739712University of Alabama outbreaks: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/29/us/university-of-alabama-covid-19-cases-trnd/index.html  
Redefining Old Age

Redefining Old Age

2020-09-0413:24

Nathan Yau, the head of the FlowingData.com blog site, wrote a piece called “Redefining Old Age” where he explores our changing definition and understanding of what it means to be old. The article starts by looking at various definitions of old age and reminds the reader that the average person’s life expectancy has dramatically increased since the 1930s.  Kurt and Tim dissect this topic through a behavioral science lens wondering how old age gets redefined when (a) we live so much longer and (b) the psychological and social implications are so different today than they were even two decades ago.Nathan does an excellent job of reporting the facts in his article and there are three important ones to call out. First, the definition of old age is often dependent upon who you ask. It can start with “Anyone with white hair and glasses” to “About 10-15 years before I expect to die.” The second is that the World Health Organization notes that “old age” is highly dependent on living in a developed country or not. The third call-out is that less than 100 years ago, in 1930, only 50% of males and 57% of females made it to the ripe old age of 65. Today, the average life expectancy of males is 77 and females is over 81 years old. That is an enormous change in such a short period of time.Finally, the article has some very cool graphs that highlight the supporting documentation and we encourage you to check it out. You might even become a fan of FlowingData.com, which gets our enthusiastic support.Thanks for listening and keep on grooving.© 2020 Weekly Grooves LINKSRedefining Old Age: https://flowingdata.com/2020/08/26/redefining-old-age/?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=emailLife Expectancy by Country: https://www.worldometers.info/demographics/life-expectancy/Priming and the Psychology of Memory: https://www.verywellmind.com/priming-and-the-psychology-of-memory-4173092Dan Buettner “Blue Zones”: https://www.bluezones.com/Positive vs negative priming of older adult’s generative value: do negative messages impair memory?: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13607863.2016.1239063?journalCode=camh20Look for new roles for older citizens in an aging America, says Stanford's Laura Carstensen: https://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/february/carstensen-older-americans-021712.htmlTim Urban - Your Life In Weeks: https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/05/life-weeks.html
This week we were inspired by an article in The New York Times by Nicole Pajer called “Can Love Survive This Election?” Nicole’s article confirmed our sneaking suspicions about how romantic relationships may be suffering in the current political climate. She points out how divorces due to political affiliation are on the rise and reports that people using dating sites are searching on political affiliation of potential partners – now more than ever.So, we decided to look more closely at the topic through a behavioral science lens.One of our first questions was about whether the social norms around relationships and political identity might be changing. A decade ago, people with different political perspectives could successfully be in close relationships – but what about now?We hope you enjoy the episode and share it with a friend.© 2020 Weekly Grooves Resources“Can Love Survive This Election” by Nicole Pajer in The New York Times August 25, 2020: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/25/fashion/weddings/can-love-relationships-survive-this-election.htmlHoward Lavin, PhD: https://cla.umn.edu/about/directory/profile/lavineEli Finkel, PhD, on “The All or Nothing Marriage”: https://elifinkel.com/allornothingmarriage 
This week we were inspired by Robby Berman’s article on Big Think.com called “Eyes painted on cow butt’s thwart lion attacks.” It got us thinking about how humans put together stories from things that don’t make sense – just like lions.The article is about how lions don’t prey on cattle when the cattle have eyes painted on their butts. Lions are what are called ambush predators. That means they want the easiest kills possible. They want to come up on an unsuspecting animal and pounce it quickly…and they won’t do that if the animal appears to be looking at them.Lions confuse the painted eyes for real eyes. More than simply the inability to process a fake eye from a real eye, lions are susceptible to an optical illusion. Optical illusions happen to be very similar to cognitive illusions (in decision making) in humans.Kurt and Tim decided to follow this direction: how do people make decisions when the inputs don’t make sense or when there’s too much input data?This discussion is about human decision making and the challenges we have with using shortcuts (heuristics) to make sense of overwhelming amounts of data. © 2020 Weekly GroovesResources  “Eyes painted on cow butts thwart lion attacks” in BigThink.com by Robby Berman, 12 August, 2020: https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/cow-eye-butt?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1  “TOP 10 MASTERS OF DECEPTION IN THE NATURAL WORLD” http://isciencemag.co.uk/features/top-10-masters-of-deception-in-the-natural-world/  “’Reality’ is constructed by your brain. Here’s what that means, and why it matters.” By Brian Resnick, Vox, July 2020. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/20978285/optical-illusion-science-humility-reality-polarization  “How Do Optical Illusions Work?” by Kirk Zamieroski on Inside Science: https://www.insidescience.org/video/how-do-optical-illusions-work  Common Biases & Heuristics: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XHpBr0VFcaT8wIUpr-9zMIb79dFMgOVFRxIZRybiftI/edit   Some of our favorite optical illusions…Cornsweet illusion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornsweet_illusionAdelson’s Checker-Shadow Illusion: https://www.illusionsindex.org/ir/checkershadowPoggendorff Illusion: https://www.illusionsindex.org/ir/poggendorff-illusionShepard Tables: https://www.illusionsindex.org/i/shepard-scalesKanizsa Triangle: https://www.illusionsindex.org/i/kanizsa-triangle 
3 Reasons Why Dolly Parton is So LikeableToday we saw an article in Billboard Magazine by Melinda Newman titled, “Dolly Parton: Steers her Empire Through the Pandemic – and Keeps it Grooving.” Yes, putting “grooving” in the title made it appealing, but the general fascination with Dolly caused us to investigate more deeply.What we found is what millions of people already know: Dolly Parton is frickin amazing!  Looking back at her 50 years of work –as a singer, actress, and entrepreneur – you get a sense of how amazing she is with all the success in a diverse line of work.As the article stated, “Everyone sees her as theirs.”  She transcends boundaries by connecting with people from many walks of life.  This is partly due to who she is – she is warm, funny, smart, and likeable but also diverse in her professional offerings.Melinda Newman’s article was in part spurred because Dolly garnered a lot of publicity with her positive support of Black Lives Matter. Some of the press was caused by an apparent mismatch of her persona and who she really is. Surprise leads to attention and she got it. Plus the way that she stated her support called out white people –  and that was surely an attention-getter.We hope you enjoy our episode of Weekly Grooves. If you do, please leave us a quick review on the service of your liking.© 2020 Weekly Grooves ReferencesDolly Parton: Steers her empire through the pandemic – and keeps it grooving.”: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/country/9432581/dolly-parton-country-power-players-billboard-cover-story-interview-2020Psychology Today: Why we are obsessed with celebrities: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-big-questions/200912/why-we-are-obsessed-celebritiesNew Yorker Radio Hour with David Remnick: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/dolly-partons-americaLikeability Scale: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/roger-covin/likeable_b_901191.html
This week we were inspired by an article by Minda Zetlin on Inc.’s webpage titled, “Need to make a difficult decision fast?  Take 15 minutes and do this first.”The article outlines tips on how to slow down prior to making a key decision in order to improve the quality of the decision you’re making. The basic idea is to move fast, we need to slow down.In the article, Ms. Zetlin shares how we, particularly in this time of COVID, are dealing with a lot of tough decisions. This causes stress and can potentially lead to decisions that we regret later.   In it, the author suggests that people should take a 15-minute timeout before any significant decision and I quote, “Nearly all business decisions – even very pressing ones – can accommodate a 15-minute delay.”It's not only a timeout – but a timeout with some very specific steps: She notes, Step 1: 30-60 seconds of vigorous exercise.  Step 2: take some deep breathes. Step 3: pause and process your decision. We hope you enjoy this episode. If you do, please leave us a quick review.© 2020 Weekly Grooves LINKS“Need to Make a Difficult Decision Fast? Take 15 Minutes and Do This First,” Minda Zeltin, Inc. Magazine: https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/decision-making-tough-choices-mental-calm-focus.html Exercising to Relax – Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax “Endorphins and Exercise: How Intense Does a Workout Have to Be for the ‘High’ to Kick in?”: https://www.wellandgood.com/endorphins-and-exercise/ “Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises and Your Vagus Nerve”: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201705/diaphragmatic-breathing-exercises-and-your-vagus-nerve “Deciding advantageously before knowing the advantageous strategy” by A, Bechara, H. Damasio, D. Tranel, and A. Damasio: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/275/5304/1293 Stephen Curtis, PhD in Behavioral Grooves # 148: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/covid-19-crisis-stephen-curtis-on-neuroplasticity-and-creating-the-ideal/ 
Changes in How We Work

Changes in How We Work

2020-07-2619:53

This week we explore a recent article published in Harvard Business Review’s “The Big Idea” section titled, “Microsoft analyzed data on its newly remote workforce.” It’s written by Natalie Signer-Velush, Kevin Sherman and Erik Anderson and it compares 4-months of anonymized data from 350-plus Microsoft employees during the pandemic to the same metrics prior to the work-from-home orders. Kurt and Tim discuss the findings and then try to decipher “why” those changes occurred via the behavioral and psychological inputs and outputs that may have been at play.  Some of the findings are contrary to what we might think, and of course, it will be interesting to see if any of the new habits/routines continue after the pandemic is done.  Links“Microsoft analyzed data on its newly remote workforce,” by Natalie Signer-Velush, Kevin Sherman and Erik Anderson: https://hbr.org/2020/07/microsoft-analyzed-data-on-its-newly-remote-workforceThe Surprising Science of Happiness – TED talk – Dan Gilbert: https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_the_surprising_science_of_happiness/transcriptBehavioral Grooves #56: Liz Fosslein: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/liz-fosslien-the-smile-file/The Hedonic Treadmill (and other biases and heuristics): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XHpBr0VFcaT8wIUpr-9zMIb79dFMgOVFRxIZRybiftI/editThe 4 Drive Theory: http://blog.lanterngroup.com/tag/4-drive-theory 
Megan Brenan, a research consultant at Gallup, published an article on July 13, 2020, about data collected in a recent Gallup Poll. Her article is titled, “Americans’ Face Mask Usage Varies Greatly by Demographics.”  We were intrigued because every demographic breakdown comes with some psychological components.Facemask use in public helps to stop the spread of coronavirus, according to the latest scientific sources. However, wearing a mask has become politized beyond the facts. Brenan’s article took an in-depth look at the demographic breakdown of usage of masks and we wanted to discuss the potential psychological issues associated with them. We thought that there might be some psychological differences among the demographic groups. We wondered why some people are feeling like they don’t have to wear a mask, or that wearing a mask makes some people “sheep,” while others wear a mask without hesitation and can’t understand what might be motiving others to not wear a mask!We hope you enjoy our discussion and, if you do, please leave us a quick 5-star rating!© 2020 Weekly Grooves LINKSAmericans’ Face Mask Usage Varies Greatly by Demographics: Megan Brenan Gallup: https://news.gallup.com/poll/315590/americans-face-mask-usage-varies-greatly-demographics.aspx?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=emailThe Masks We Wear (and Don’t Wear): Shawn Burns Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/presence-mind/202006/the-masks-we-wear-and-don-t-wearConfrontation over face masks and the psychology behind why some people resist them: Jessical Flores USA Today:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/07/14/across-usa-face-masks-seen-some-lifesavers-others-seen-them-violations/5437469002/The Masks We Wear (and Don’t Wear): Shawn Burns Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/presence-mind/202006/the-masks-we-wear-and-don-t-wear
This week, Tim found an article published by the American Economic Association with Harvard professor Mario Small, PhD called “Rethinking racial discrimination: how sociology can help economics diversify its perspective.”The article explores how – with only 3% of economists identifying as black in a recent AEA survey – economists are lacking a diverse perspective.  Dr. Small argues this inhibits creativity and innovation in the field of economics and is particularly true as it relates to how racial discrimination is studied in economics.He argues that economics could learn from sociology in the way the field embraces different perspectives and uses each to paint a more accurate and holistic understanding of issues. He points out that there are currently only two main perspectives on discrimination in economics – “taste-based and statistical-discrimination,” neither of which reaches the underlying issues. In this episode, Kurt and Tim explore the article with a slightly different lens. We have seen how diversity of race and gender and age and political affiliation can lead to more engaging discussions, improved creativity, more robust innovation, and hence better outcomes, in science, business, and our personal lives.We hope you enjoy our discussion and please share it with a friend if you found it helpful.© 2020 Weekly Grooves LINKSRethinking racial discrimination: https://www.aeaweb.org/research/economics-racial-discrimination-mario-smallHBR: Does Diversity Actually Increase Creativity?: https://hbr.org/2017/06/does-diversity-actually-increase-creativityEthnic Diversity and Creativity in Small Groups: McLeod, Lobel & Cox: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1046496496272003Hidden Brain: Creative Differences: https://www.npr.org/2019/01/24/687707404/creative-differences-the-benefits-of-reaching-out-to-people-unlike-ourselvesImplicit Bias Review: http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/implicit-bias-training/resources/2017-implicit-bias-review.pdfDiversity and black leadership in corporate America: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/02/success/diversity-and-black-leadership-in-corporate-america/index.htmlKimberle Crenshaw, JD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberl%C3%A9_Williams_CrenshawApril Seifert, PhD in Episode 24: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/april-seifert-on-digital-exhaust-analysis-and-gender-stereotyping/Race and Intelligence: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligenceApril Seifert, PhD – Episode 24 of Behavioral Grooves: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/april-seifert-on-digital-exhaust-analysis-and-gender-stereotyping/GI Joe Effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GimHHAID_P0 
We saw an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “When Workers Can Live Anywhere, Many Ask: Why Do I Live Here?” and it got us thinking. Millions of white-collar workers have been displaced from their offices and are being told they are on indefinite work-from-home status. And many of those workers are opting to leave the big cities where the virus has been most aggressive.In addition to the temporary exodus to more rural settings, some people are leaving big cities to find permanent solace in the countryside.This got us thinking about how humans are predictably irrational about decisions about their futures. The biases about future happiness go hand in hand with changing where you live.The article that got us thinking about this was written by Rachel Feintzeig and Ben Eisen. Together, they do a great job of assembling data on the movement during the heart of the crisis and notes that even with a major recession hitting the global economy, many people feel the need to move.© 2020 Weekly Grooves Links“When Workers Can Live Anywhere, Many Ask: Why Do I Live Here?” from the Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2020: https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-workers-can-live-anywhere-many-ask-why-do-i-live-here-11592386201“Is It Time to Let Employees Work from Anywhere?” by Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury , Barbara Z. Larson and Cirrus Foroughi, August 14, 2019 in HBR: https://hbr.org/2019/08/is-it-time-to-let-employees-work-from-anywhereRemote Work Statistics: Shifting Norms and Expectations from February 2020: https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/#:~:text=Remote%20Work%20Is%20Increasing&text=Over%20the%20last%20five%20years,or%203.4%25%20of%20the%20population.“U.S. Workers Discovering Affinity for Remote Work,” Gallup Polls, April 3, 2020: https://news.gallup.com/poll/306695/workers-discovering-affinity-remote-work.aspxSchkade, D. A., & Kahneman, D. (1998). Does Living in California Make People Happy? A Focusing Illusion in Judgments of Life Satisfaction. Psychological Science, 9(5), 340–346. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9280.00066“The evolution of decision and experienced utilities” by Robson and Samuelson, Theoretical Economics, September 2011: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.3982/TE800Dan Buettner: On Quality of Life, “Thrive”: https://www.wbur.org/npr/131571885/how-to-thrive-dan-buettner-s-secrets-of-happinessDan Gilbert: On Predicting Future Happiness. https://positivepsychology.com/daniel-gilbert-research/#:~:text=Daniel%20Gilbert%20completed%20his%20Ph,emotional%20state%20in%20the%20future.George Loewenstein, Ted O’Donoghue & Matthew Rabin on Projection Bias: https://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/sds/docs/loewenstein/projectionbias.pdf  
We were pleased when we saw an article this week in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, by Alicia Eler titled, “George Floyd Murals, Graffiti on Boarded-Up Twin Cities Businesses Spread a Message of Pain ⁠— and Hope.”  The author states, “In the wake of last week’s riots, hundreds of artists around the city are transforming boarded-up windows with messages of remembrance, hope, demands for justice, healing community and pride for minority-owned businesses.”We wanted to explore this idea of graffiti art in situations like the one we’re in right now – not only as a way of expressing emotions but of creating something more meaningful and lasting. And in so doing, we wanted to look at the underlying psychological principles behind how art in public spaces affects us. LinksMinneapolis Star Tribune, by Alicia Eler: https://www.startribune.com/george-floyd-murals-graffiti-on-boarded-up-twin-cities-businesses-spread-a-message-of-pain-hope/571102672/Healing Invisible Wounds: Art Therapy and PSTD: https://www.healthline.com/health/art-therapy-for-ptsd#1Graffiti Psychology: Why Vandals Strike: https://www.cleanlink.com/cp/article/Graffiti-Psychology-Why-Vandals-Strike--1131Tattooing Buildings: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psychiatric-disorder/201506/tattooing-buidingsOgilvy “Babies in the Borough” Project: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19398580Video of Babies in the Borough: https://www.local.gov.uk/babies-borough-using-behavioural-insights-reduce-anti-social-behaviourPeyton Scott Russell “Sprayfinger”: http://sprayfinger.com/?author=1 
On May 25, 2020, a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by holding him down with a knee on his neck for over 8 minutes. This was done while three other officers either helped in holding down Mr. Floyd down or stood by watching. Mr. Floyd’s death is an unimaginable horror as it was not the result of a split-second or hair-trigger decision, but a callous, calculated effort that lasted more than 8 minutes.  This killing kicked off a week of protests which grew darker as the nights went on.  As many as 81 buildings in Minneapolis have been burned, with 25 of them completely destroyed, and 270 businesses have been vandalized since Mr. Floyd’s death.This hits home for Tim and Kurt. Tim lives only a few miles from the epicenter but has had people racing down his street, as they were deterred from the closed freeways by roadblocks – some of them threatening his neighbors with harm.  Kurt lives only blocks away from where some of the protests occurred and could smell the smoke and tear gas in the air, hear the chants of protesters, and see the police and national guard units patrolling up and down his street in the middle of the night as they stood watch to protect the neighborhood. The bank and post office that were burned down is where Kurt did his banking and sent his mail from. The loss of property in no way compares to the loss of human life – that is, Mr. Floyd’s life – and in no way compares to the hundreds of years of black suppression. These are terrible tragedies on many levels.We’ve decided to talk about this on this podcast because it is personal for us – we have gone through a range of emotions and we thought that many of you might have been going through the same.  There have been similar incidents of outrage and protests in the past – Eric Garner and Michael Brown are just two that come to mind – but this one seems different.  Maybe it’s different because we live here and it’s so close…but maybe it’s different because it was the last straw that finally tipped the scales…let’s hope so. LinksTally of Buildings Damaged in Minneapolis: https://www.startribune.com/these-minneapolis-st-paul-buildings-are-damaged-looted-after-george-floyd-protests/569930671/ Kareem Abdul Jabar – People Pushed to the Edge: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge“Psychological Research Explains Why People Protest” Forbes, May 20, 2020. By Nicole Fisher: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2020/05/29/the-psychology-of-protests-reveals-why-americans-are-ready-for-action/#334d1f3bbbb6White guy with AR-15 vs. Black guy with AR-15 video: https://www.facebook.com/KeithKuder/videos/866107570115697
Joseph Grenny penned an article on May 20th in HBR.com called “5 Tips for Safely Reopening Your Office.” It tapped into something we have been thinking about recently: What can be done to help people get back to work…safely?Grenny’s work adds to a growing library of articles about how companies can reopen by focusing on structural and process components. Many articles speak to the importance of taking people’s temperatures before they enter the building, creating physical distancing cues or structural changes in the office, protocols for what happens if someone does come down with COVID-19, and others. They are all important, but they are not the whole story.We haven’t seen much of a behavioral science approach to how employees and customers feel about coming back to work. This episode considers the emotional issues of returning to work. As our friend, Anurag Vaish at FinalMile says, “Risk is a feeling, not a number.”© 2020 Weekly Grooves Links"5 tips for safely reopening your office space": https://hbr.org/2020/05/5-tips-for-safely-reopening-your-officeA leaders toolkit for reopening: https://sites.google.com/view/reopening-toolkit/homeEmotional Intelligence: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/emotional-intelligence 
This week, we saw an op-ed piece in Elemental Medium called, “Quarantine Fatigue is overtaking us. We could have done better.”  It was written by Gabe Zichermann and he outlined a few of the human hardships that have manifested themselves in quarantine. The fatigue factor that accompanies them is real and worthy of exploration. However, thought the author went farther and offered a bit of controversial advice – if we get a do-over – on how we should have handled it. Zichermann lays out three contributors to fatigue and makes some recommendations for what should have happened, or as he calls it, a “do-over.”  The three areas are 1) human contact, 2) shame and stigma, and 3) boredom and restlessness. Kurt and Tim dive into the piece to discuss the behavioral science behind public shaming, our need for human contact, and how to stimulate creativity through boredom.  LinksElemental Medium:  “Quarantine Fatigue is overtaking us.  We could have done better.”: https://elemental.medium.com/how-to-use-behavioral-science-to-prevent-the-next-pandemic-6e3fa02eb4c5Forbidden Fruit https://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?id=335 
This week, Matt Egan in CNN Business wrote a piece called “Americans create new economic threat with their own savings.” In it, he wrote that credit card debt is declining as American’s are spending less AND are paying down their balances.This information piled on top of a conversation we had on our other podcast, Behavioral Grooves, with Mariel Beasley, the Director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University. She shared current research that lower-to-middle income Americans are saving MORE during the pandemic.On one hand, that’s totally rational because we don’t know how long the crisis is going to last and we need to save for what will sure to be additional expenses. On the other hand, increasing your savings when you don’t have a job doesn’t make sense.In this Weekly Grooves, we discuss some of the research literature on scarcity, fear, and the common mistake made by gamblers to place risky bets when their winnings are down. We also discuss the possibility of anticipated regret as a possible explanation for savings behaviors.We hope you enjoy it and that you’ll share this episode with a friend.© 2020 Weekly Grooves LinksEgan, Matt, “Americans create new economic threat with their own savings” CNN, May 12, 2020: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/12/investing/jobs-coronavirus-consumer-spending-debt/index.htmlCarrns, Ann, “How to Build an Emergency Fund in the Middle of an Emergency,” The New York Times, March 20, 2020: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/your-money/coronavirus-emergency-fund.html “Each extra dollar saved” reduces the likelihood of having to skip bill payments, said Mariel Beasley, a co-founder of Common Cents Lab, a financial research group at Duke University.Kahneman, Daniel, & Tversky, Amos, Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica, 47, 263–291, 1979: https://www.uzh.ch/cmsssl/suz/dam/jcr:00000000-64a0-5b1c-0000-00003b7ec704/10.05-kahneman-tversky-79.pdfLoudenback, Tanza, “The pandemic spurred Americans to finally start saving money, but it's unclear how long the new habit will last,” Business Insider, May 14, 2020:  https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/us-savings-accounts-increase-during-pandemic-emergency-funds-2020-5Shafir, Eldar, “The Psychology of Scarcity,” American Psychological Association, February 2014:  https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/scarcityWeber, Bethany & Chapman, Gretchen, “Playing for peanuts: Why is risk-seeking more common for low-stakes gambles?” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Making, 2003: https://tinyurl.com/y884upe7“Covid-19 Crisis: Mariel Beasley on Increasing Short Term Savings During the Crisis,” Behavioral Grooves, May 13, 2020, episode 146: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/covid-19-crisis-mariel-beasley-on-increasing-short-term-savings-during-the-crisis/Unemployment Rates in the United States from 1929 to 2019: https://www.thebalance.com/unemployment-rate-by-year-3305506Behavioral Grooves: https://behavioralgrooves.com/Kurt Nelson, PhD: @whatmotivatesTim Houlihan: @THoulihan
Charles Duhigg, one of our favorite authors on habits, wrote an article for The New Yorker called, “Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead, New York’s Did Not.” The article explores how the two cities differed in their response and how the results were tragically different. While Dughigg covers a lot of ground, and the article is fascinating, we want to explore a couple of key concepts out if it as it relates to communication.In the article, there is a reference to the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) field manual on managing a crisis. In it, a whole chapter is dedicated to communication and we thought the behavioral implications were worth discussing. ReferencesDuhigg, C., “Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead. New York’s Did Not,” New Yorker, May 4, 2020.  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/05/04/seattles-leaders-let-scientists-take-the-lead-new-yorks-did-notThe CDC Field Epidemiology Manual https://www.cdc.gov/eis/field-epi-manual/chapters.htmlBicchieri, C., & Dimant, E., “Nudging with care: the risks and benefits of social information,” Public Choice (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-019-00684-6   Kassim, S., The “Messenger Effect” in Persuasion, DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199778188.003.0053 https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199778188.001.0001/acprof-9780199778188-chapter-53 
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