DiscoverYoung and Profiting with Hala Taha#126: The Science of Decision Making with Dr. Maya Shankar
#126: The Science of Decision Making with Dr. Maya Shankar

#126: The Science of Decision Making with Dr. Maya Shankar

Update: 2021-08-09


Want to make better decisions?

In this episode, we are talking with Dr Maya Shankar, behavioural scientist and podcast host. Maya is currently the Senior Director of Behavioral Economics at Google and is the Creator, Host, and Executive Producer of “A Slight Change of Plans”, a podcast with Pushkin Industries. Maya previously served as a Senior Advisor in the Obama White House, where she founded and served as Chair of the White House's Behavioral Science Team — a team of scientists charged with improving public policy using research insights about human behaviour. In 2016, Maya served as the first Behavioral Science Advisor to the United Nations.

Maya completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cognitive neuroscience at Stanford, after receiving a PhD from Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and a B.A. from Yale in cognitive science. She has been profiled by the New Yorker and has been featured in the New York Times, Scientific American, Forbes, and on NPR's All Things Considered, Freakonomics, and Hidden Brain.

Today’s episode discusses Maya’s childhood as a violin prodigy, how she became a student at Juilliard’s pre-college program, and her career journey. We’ll also talk about Maya’s job at the White House, some common behavioural scientist concepts like the Sunk Cost Fallacy and Nudging, and how we, as humans, can make more realistic decisions.


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Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts:




02:44 - Maya's Childhood and Hand injury. 

05:41 - How Maya got into Julliard

08;29 - Maya's lessons as a pro violinist. 

11:19 - What is Behavioural and Cognitive Science. 

22:35 - The Suncoast Fallacy. 

25:50 - When is it time to move on? 

27:21 - Maya's Journey in Obama's White House. 

35:02 - Being Creative and Optimistic in every situation. 

37;39 - What is Nudging? 

44:02 - Why is it hard to change people's minds? 

46:29 - Nudging in business and professional life.

50:27 - How to make realistic decisions? 

53:30 - The Peak End Rule. 

54:05 - The IKEA Effect 

54:32 - Maya's Podcast. 

59;48 - Maya's Secret to Profiting in Life


Mentioned In The Episode:


Maya’s Podcast, A Slight Change of Plans:

Maya’s Website:

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#126: The Science of Decision Making with Dr. Maya Shankar

#126: The Science of Decision Making with Dr. Maya Shankar

Hala Taha