207 episodes

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.

Behavioral Grooves Podcas‪t‬ Kurt Nelson, PhD and Tim Houlihan

    • Social Sciences
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

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.

    Why We Need Robots with Kind Faces with Bertram Malle

    Why We Need Robots with Kind Faces with Bertram Malle

    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
    Bertram Malle, PhD email:  bfmalle@brown.edu
    Social Cognitive Science Research Lab (Brown University): http://research.clps.brown.edu/SocCogSci/index.html
    Bertram Malle, “Theory of Mind”: https://nobaproject.com/modules/theory-of-mind
    Bertram Malle & Patty Bruininks “Distinguishing Hope from Optimism and Related Affective States”: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226421327_Distinguishing_Hope_from_Optimism_and_Related_Affective_States
    Bertram Malle Selected Publications: http://research.clps.brown.edu/SocCogSci/Publications/publications.html
    ABOT: http://www.abotdatabase.info/
    MIT Lab on Automated Vehicles: https://www.media.mit.edu/research/?filter=everything&tag=autonomous-vehicles
    “Her” film: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Her_(film)
    “Ex Machina” film: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_Machina_(film)
    TAY: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_(bot)
    Isaac Asimov: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Asimov
    Jóhann Jóhannsson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3hann_J%C3%B3hannsson
    Hildur Guðnadóttir: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildur_Gu%C3%B0nad%C3%B3ttir
    Fritz Heider, PhD & Marianne Simmel, PhD, “An experimental study of apparent behavior”: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1945-01435-001  
    Common Biases and Heuristics: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XHpBr0VFcaT8wIUpr-9zMIb79dFMgOVFRxIZRybiftI/edit?usp=sharing
    Minnesota Timberwolves: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Timberwolves
    Musical Links
    Radiohead “Hail to the Thief”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MdwaUtW_D4
    Esbjörn Svensson Trio “Seven Days of Falling”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7KXq6RJ0PA
    Bill Dixon “Motorcycle ‘66”: https://youtu.be/ZcO8zfp-FLg
    Tyshawn Sorey “Unfiltered”: https://tyshawn-sorey.bandcamp.com/album/unfiltered
    Sigur Ros “Brennisteinn”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc6zXSdYXm8
    Hildur Gu∂nadottir “Unveiled”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzaxVFc9oIs
    Anders Hillborg “Violin Concerto No. 1”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrJ7rhQDjsE
    Daniel Lanois with the Venetian Snares: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9u93SDxNsk
    Daniel Lanois with Parachute Club: https://www.discogs.com/The-Parachute-Club-Rise-Up/release/1209691

    • 1 hr 27 min
    The Myth of the "Relationship Spark" with Logan Ury (featuring a guest appearance by Christina Gravert, PhD)

    The Myth of the "Relationship Spark" with Logan Ury (featuring a guest appearance by Christina Gravert, PhD)

    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
    Logan Ury: https://www.loganury.com/
    “How to Not Die Alone”: https://www.loganury.com/book
    Ira Glass: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_Glass
    Dan Ariely: https://danariely.com/
    Esther Perel: https://www.estherperel.com/
    John Gottman, The Gottman Institute: https://www.gottman.com/
    Eli Finkel: https://elifinkel.com/
    Daniel Gilbert: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Gilbert_(psychologist)
    Jane Ebert: https://www.brandeis.edu/facultyguide/person.html?emplid=0fd6834b65b0eddec69f2ab77539fd341d63b270
    Alain De Botton “School of Life”: https://www.theschooloflife.com/about-us/faculty/alain-de-botton/
    Reiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reiki
    “Algorithms to Live By”: https://algorithmstoliveby.com/
    John Nash “A Beautiful Mind”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Forbes_Nash_Jr.
    Nicole Prause: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicole_Prause
    36 Questions That Lead to Love: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/style/no-37-big-wedding-or-small.html
    The School of Life books: https://www.theschooloflife.com/shop/us/books/
    Shelley Archambeau – Episode 204: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/how-shelley-archambeau-flies-like-an-eagle/
    Christina Gravert – Episode 16: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/nudge-a-thon-with-dr-christina-gravert/
    Christina Gravert, “Online Dating Like a Game Theorist”: https://behavioralscientist.org/online-dating-like-a-game-theorist/
    Christina Gravert – Impactually: https://impactually.se/
    “10 Behavioral Scientists You Should Know”: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alineholzwarth/2020/10/29/10-behavioral-scientists-you-should-know/?sh=36ad80b442e0
    Musical Links
    “Hamilton” soundtrack: https://

    • 1 hr 28 min
    How Shelley Archambeau Flies Like an Eagle

    How Shelley Archambeau Flies Like an Eagle

    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.
    If you’d like to pursue being a part-time intern with Behavioral Grooves, please contact Kurt or Tim directly.
    Kurt Nelson, PhD: kurt@lanterngroup.com
    Tim Houlihan: tim@behavioralchemy.com
    “Transfiguration” by Jonathan Benson is used for the interstitial music in this episode.
    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves
    Shellye Archambeau on Twitter: @ShelArchambeau
    Shellye’s web site: https://shellyearchambeau.com/
    “Unapologetically Ambitious”: https://shellyearchambeau.com/books
    Carol Dweck – Growth Mindset: https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/
    George Bernard Shaw: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Bernard_Shaw
    Stephen Curtis, Episode # 148: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/covid-19-crisis-stephen-curtis-on-neuroplasticity-and-creating-the-ideal/
    Locke & Latham on Goals: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goal_setting
    Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years”: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmsa066082
    Musical Links
    Steve Miller “Fly Like an Eagle”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a6lAwbE1J4
    Spinners “I’ll Be Around”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq5VXTO3HDI
    Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPkM8F0sjSw
    The O’ Jays, “Love Train”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECZr3-a_rDA
    Teddy Pendergrass, “Turn Off the Lights”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK4wofMj5-k
    Alfie Pollitt, "Say It (Over and Over)": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTaDr1lq8mY
    Earl Klugh, “This Time”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7fF_eRYM5k
    Dave Koz, “You Make Me Smile”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cshiIac91U
    Brian Culbertson, “Colors of Love”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MM5hSddIcg
    Praful, “Don't Fight with Life/Om Namah Shivaya”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D51CbCMY10
    George Benson, “On Broadway”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ef0kThw5VY
    Elton John, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncuiQAfPhTg
    Audrey Hepburn, “Moon River”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uirBWk-qd9A

    • 1 hr 7 min
    On Fake Memories and Whistleblowers with Nuala Walsh

    On Fake Memories and Whistleblowers with Nuala Walsh

    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.
    Nuala Walsh: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nualagwalsh/
    Anthony Hopkins: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Hopkins
    Robert De Niro: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_De_Niro
    Dan Gilbert: https://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/people/daniel-gilbert
    Daniel Kahneman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman
    Elizabeth Loftus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Loftus
    Common Biases and Heuristics: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XHpBr0VFcaT8wIUpr-9zMIb79dFMgOVFRxIZRybiftI/edit?usp=sharing
    Merle van den Akker: https://www.moneyonthemind.org/about
    The Innocence Project: https://innocenceproject.org/
    Josef Mengele: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Mengele
    Ted Bundy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Bundy
    Ann Rule: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Rule
    OJ Simpson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._J._Simpson
    Bibb Latané: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B

    • 1 hr 8 min
    How Chaning Jang Works Around Not Being WEIRD

    How Chaning Jang Works Around Not Being WEIRD

    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.
    Chaning Jang, PhD: https://www.busaracenter.org/staff-bios?tag=Chaning%20Jang
    Busara Center for Behavioral Economics: https://www.busaracenter.org/
    Dan Ariely, PhD: https://danariely.com/
    WEIRD: https://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~henrich/pdfs/WeirdPeople.pdf
    Johannes Haushofer, PhD: https://www.tedmed.com/speakers/show?id=621210
    Kahneman & Tversky: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman
    The Linda Problem (Conjunction Fallacy): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_fallacy
    Jeremy Shapiro, PhD: https://www.poverty-action.org/people/jeremy-shapiro
    Economic and psychological effects of health insurance and cash transfers: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Kenya: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304387818310289
    Trier Social Stress Test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trier_social_stress_test
    Cold Pressor Test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_pressor_test
    Kevin Parker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Parker_(musician)
    Poverty Decreases IQ: https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/sendhil/files/976.full_.pdf
    Musical Links
    Tame Impala (Australian psych-rock): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C24hUt18RWY
    John Lennon “Instant Karma”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfBPbFEel5k
    Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams “Get Lucky”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkeIwhKIi84
    Fleetwood Mac “The Chain”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6P2_i0Y6ms
    Joji “Your Man”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrtkU7i0qD8
    Fleet Foxes “Can I Believe You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2E2DpWO3-Y
    Freddie Mercury “I’m The Great Pretender”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLRjFWDGs1g
    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

    • 1 hr 15 min
    The Counterintuitive Persuasion of The Catalyst with Jonah Berger

    The Counterintuitive Persuasion of The Catalyst with Jonah Berger

    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
    Jonah Berger, PhD: https://jonahberger.com/author-bio/
    Jonah Berger Additional Resources: https://jonahberger.com/resources/ 
    Lee Ross, PhD: https://profiles.stanford.edu/lee-ross
    Mark Lepper, PhD: https://psychology.stanford.edu/people/mark-lepper
    Kurt Lewin, PhD “Force Field Analysis”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Lewin
    Musical Links
    Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ardglr9MVVQ
    Queen “We Will Rock You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvKkIttJLcc
    Tim Houlihan “Thinking About You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS-PsjRktUk
    Dolly Parton “I Will Always Love You”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0bEZH6ZqG4

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

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4 Ratings

Matt7954 ,

Great podcast

Top notch content.

Sevakk ,

Great place for Human Behavior insights

Very insightful interviews, amazingly insightful guests. Hosts are very please to listen to and knowledgeable!
Thank you for bringing the topic to a broader audience.
Wish you much success and congrats with getting to 💯episode!

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