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.
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/
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
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
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
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
Time is Money – How Do You Value It?
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
Planet Money (NPR): What Is Your Time Worth?:
Big Think – Life in Numbers: https://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/how-many-days-of-your-life-do-you-have-sex-your-lifetime-by-the-numbers
Ashley Whillans, “Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life”: https://www.amazon.com/Time-Smart-Reclaim-Your-Happier-ebook/dp/B0842X6L2C
How Decision Making is Critical for Back Country Skiers and Sex
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
Andrea Mannberg, PhD and Audun Hetland, PhD: https://uit.no/research/care
White Heat Project: https://whiteheatproject.com/
Bridger Bowl: https://bridgerbowl.com/
George Loewenstein & Dan Ariely’s paper on hot states vs. cold states: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/bdm.501
Seinfeld Morning Guy vs. Night Guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEe2pN8oksc
Max Bazerman “Better, Not Perfect” Episode 196: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/living-happier-by-making-the-world-better-with-max-bazerman/
Common Biases & Heuristics: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XHpBr0VFcaT8wIUpr-9zMIb79dFMgOVFRxIZRybiftI/edit?usp=sharing
John Coltrane “Green Dolphin Street”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePScRElDHOY
Tom Waits “Tom Traubert’s Blues”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvFyt2kmrZk
White Stripes “Seven Nation Army”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKdmdCtPtnQ
The Clash “London Calling”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlLbrID7oDg
Folk og Røvere: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5jVLZ3NoJJ5kRcSnYOgSHO
Andrea’s “dance song”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9GqMuW9_Z8
Isolation Years (A band from Andrea’s home town): https://open.spotify.com/album/4nNOnikF2OVzBF9BqNxkHb?si=7Tkv4JujTPy99WytOG1H8A
The Knife: https://open.spotify.com/album/7lbXNgtug37CDpS7N7NkrL?si=AAwopJtDRQKpUe-EOJAYCw
First Aid Kit: https://open.spotify.com/artist/21egYD1eInY6bGFcniCRT1?si=ASWNJUigSPKAjgUkG66DcQ
The Role of the Unconscious in Everyday Behaviors with Joel Weinberger
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
Joel Weinberger, PhD: https://www.adelphi.edu/faculty/profiles/profile.php?PID=0275
“Unconscious: Theory, Research and Clinical Implications”: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44658840-the-unconscious?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=kvDgbgcuys&rank=1
Mickey Mantle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Mantle
David McClelland, PhD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_McClelland
David McClelland and Joel Weinberger on Implicit vs. Self Attributed: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1990-03570-001
Sigmund Freud “The Interpretation of Dreams”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Interpretation_of_Dreams
Sigmund Freud “The Unconscious”: https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~cavitch/pdf-library/Freud_Unconscious.pdf
Drew Westen, “The Political Brain”: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/853648.The_Political_Brain
Weinberger & Westen “RATS, We Should Have Used Clinton: Subliminal Priming in Political Campaigns”: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2008.00658.x
Heddy Lamarr: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr
Blues music: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues
AJ Jacobs “The Year of Living Biblically”: https://ajjacobs.com/books/the-year-of-living-biblically/
Kwame Christian on Compassionate Curiosity – Episode 178: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/kwame-christian-on-compassionate-curiosity-social-justice-conversations-and-cinnamon-toast-crunch/
“Yesterday” by the Beatles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YWyFIzSeXI
Sam Cooke “Bring it on Home to Me” (Harlem Version): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYdX4_9VbBA
Tedeschi Trucks Band - "Bring It On Home To Me": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwuhY8mbu2s
Leadbelly “Goodnight, Irene”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn50JSI0W-E
BB King “The Thrill is Gone”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWLAAzOBoBI
Successful New Year’s Resolutions in 4 Quick Tips
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