191 episodes

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
    • 4.9 • 56 Ratings

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.

    Cornelia Walther on POZE: Pause, Observe, Zoom in, and Experience

    Cornelia Walther on POZE: Pause, Observe, Zoom in, and Experience

    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
    Cornelia Walther: https://www.linkedin.com/in/corneliawalther/?originalSubdomain=ht
    POZE: https://www.springernature.com/gp/researchers/the-source/blog/blogposts-communicating-research/sdg-interview-cornelia-walther-sustainability-holistic-perspect/17463138
    Gary Latham, PhD, Episode 147: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/gary-latham-phd-goal-setting-prompts-priming-and-skepticism/
    Creole Language: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creole_language
    Brad Shuck, PhD, Episode 91: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/brad-shuck-being-ignored-is-worse-than-having-a-stapler-thrown-at-you/
    Development, Humanitarian Aid and Social Welfare. Social Change from the Inside Out (May 2020): https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030426095#aboutBook
    Humanitarian Work, Social Change, and Human behavior. Compassion for Change (June 2020):https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9783030458775
    Development and Connection in times of Covid. Corona’s Call for Conscious Choices (October 2020): https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-53641-1
    Social Change from the Inside Out. From Fixation to Foundation. From Competition to Change: https://rdcu.be/b9GrF
    From Individual wellbeing to collective welfare: https://rb.gy/xsuauh
    Musical Links
    Pink “So What”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJfFZqTlWrQ
    Verdi, “Aida”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3w4I-KElxQ
    Dvorak, “Symphony of the New World”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_1N6_O254g  
    Beatles, “Don’t Let Me Down”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCtzkaL2t_Y&list=PLf9cCqxaRfcMcL5yU9UZDdNJwkDNbh3ce
    Depeche Mode, “People Are People”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1FVmBHbPNg
    Mariza, “Quem Me Dera”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sze5rpbklM
    Ayub Ogada, “Kothbiro”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L48PCisRZ7s
    Giberto Gil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECtYYiHbIcQ
    Fabiano do Nascimento, “Nana”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4iukkBmDGg
    Tim Sparks, “Klezmer Medley”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkiCFzWTYRg

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Kevin Vallier: What to Do About Polarization

    Kevin Vallier: What to Do About Polarization

    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
    Kevin Vallier, PhD: kevinvallier@gmail.com 
    Revolving Door: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolving_door_(politics)
    Ranked Choice Voting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranked_voting
    Trump/Obama Valedictorian Speech: https://time.com/5302250/obama-quote-graduation-speech/
    Robert Cialdini, PhD: https://www.influenceatwork.com/robert-cialdini-phd/biography/
    Ideas42: https://www.ideas42.org/
    Coleman’s Boat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGaz0xKG060
    Robber’s Cave Experiment: https://www.simplypsychology.org/robbers-cave.html
    Nudge.It North: https://www.nudgeitnorth.com/
    Musical Links
    Dolly Parton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2RBS_U0GoQ
    Chet Atkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6cXqM21KbE
    Alison Kraus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To1_nOjlLBQ
    Maynard Ferguson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNbsnBZOwqE
    Sufjan Stevens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOvSy3yepd8
    Gregorian chant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuK59jQ5bwU
    Valaam chant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMtyTXDc9Fw
    Byzantine notation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_music
    Organum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGZJ8XQJcmk
    “Be Thou My Vision”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OUqRUAbl4w

    • 1 hr 16 min


    [NOTE: This episode was originally published as a Weekly Grooves podcast. We wanted to share it with our Behavioral Grooves listeners and we hope you enjoy it.]
    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 / ©2020 Behavioral Grooves
    Kurt Nelson, PhD: Kurt@LanternGroup.com
    Tim 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.html
    How 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-job
    Re:Work – Google shares much of the insights that they learned from Project Aristotle and how to implement those ideals:  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/#51e147dbf864
    How to foster psychological safety in virtual meetings: https://hbr.org/2020/08/how-to-foster-psychological-safety-in-virtual-meetings
    Elliot Aronson, PhD Coffee Study: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratfall_effect

    • 16 min
    Bill von Hippel on The Social Leap, Context, and Max Weinberg

    Bill von Hippel on The Social Leap, Context, and Max Weinberg

    Bill von Hippel, PhD is an evolutionary psychologist from Alaska who has lived in Australia for more than 20 years. Bill teaches at the University of Queensland and his body of research is so wide we struggled to focus our conversation. We spoke with him about his research into the ways in which our species’ behaviors have evolved over millions of years into the behaviors we see in our present-day lives. His insights are clever, thoughtful, and thought-provoking.
    We talked about reciprocity, collectivism, and most importantly, how being cooperative and social propelled our species forward well beyond anything else in the animal kingdom. We discussed Bill’s latest book, “The Social Leap.” It’s a groundbreaking thesis that applies evolutionary science to help us understand how major challenges from our past have shaped some of the most fundamental aspects of our being.
    One of the book’s key lessons is for us to remember that it is our collaboration, our collective abilities as a species, that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. This unique capability for humans to cooperate is an important reminder these days and Bill articulated the evolution of collaboration and competition in memorable terms.
    We talked about the futility of not trusting your friends and the likely risk of getting lots of false positives from motivated thinking. And we discussed how social context matters when it comes to happiness. Bill explained how we choose our contexts wisely, and we do so to compare ourselves favorably to those around us. In this way, we tend to avoid comparisons with those we wouldn’t compare well to.
    Lastly, Bill shared an evolutionary perspective that really struck us. He noted that, as we age, we are likely to increase our reliance on stereotypes and that can lead to prejudice. As Bill suggested, to stop ourselves from this unnecessary psychological deterioration, we should slow down our judgments and ask if we’re feeling this way because of that person’s group membership or gender or whatever. Stop, pause, and give it some consideration.
    Bill was recommended to us by Roy Baumeister and we’re grateful for the introduction as well as Bill’s generous conversation. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Bill and that you go out and find your groove this week.
    © 2020 Behavioral Grooves
    Bill Von Hippel, PhD: https://psychology.uq.edu.au/profile/3034/bill-von-hippel
    University of Queensland: https://www.uq.edu.au/
    “The Social Leap”: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-social-leap-william-von-hippel?variant=32207123873826
    Peter Singer, PhD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer
    Homo Erectus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_erectus
    Michael Tomasello, PhD: https://psychandneuro.duke.edu/people/michael-tomasello
    Seth Stephens-Davidowitz “Everybody Lies”: http://sethsd.com/everybodylies
    Dan Ariely on comparison: https://theconversation.com/the-decoy-effect-how-you-are-influenced-to-choose-without-really-knowing-it-111259
    Ed Diener on “Wealth and happiness across the world”: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20565185/
    Embouchure: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embouchure#:~:text=Embouchure%20(English%3A%20%2F%CB%88%C9%92,mouthpiece%20of%20a%20brass%20instrument.
    Musical Links
    Lynyrd Skynyrd: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxIWDmmqZzY
    Boston: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc78RnDRQ_4
    Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_DKWlrA24k
    Mozart: Sonata in C, K. 545, Allegro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xeAsc6m35w
    Keith Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5Up-qHTJdY
    Rush “Tom Sawyer”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrhnhXHVSQg
    Neal Peart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWRMOJQDiLU
    Max Weinberg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zylXeuWPk9o
    Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven”: https://www.youtube.com/

    • 1 hr 13 min
    World Kindness Day Through a Behavioral Lens

    World Kindness Day Through a Behavioral Lens

    World Kindness Day is November 13th and has been celebrated in many countries around the world since 1998. World Kindness Day was developed to promote good deeds in communities and focus on how kindness binds us together. Around the world are efforts to encourage “random acts of kindness” for others and acting in a more kind way.
    We decided to look at kindness in general through a behavioral science lens. 
    Webster’s definition of “kind” is “of a sympathetic or helpful nature; being gentle.” In other words, kindness is basically doing something nice for someone. A Mother Jones article about World Kindness day, by Daniel King, states, “Don’t worry, kindness is not niceness,” so we looked at how the University of Santa Clara differentiates between KIND and NICE.
    They used an example of how holding the door for others can be described as either “nice” or “kind.”  If the underlying motivation is to create a favorable impression for the purpose of asking for a favor later, then the action can be considered NICE due to its pleasing effect.
    On the other hand, if the motivation is to spare the other person from extra effort or inconvenience, then the action can be considered KIND (as well as nice) if it pleases the other person.
    We encourage each and every one of you around the world today to show some act of kindness to a loved one, friend or stranger. And we hope you enjoy this episode.
    © 2020 Behavioral Grooves
    Science Made Fun: Celebrating World Kindness Day: https://sciencemadefun.net/blog/world-kindness-day/   
    World Kindness Day: https://worldkindness.org/be-involved/
    Mother Jones: Kindness Day is Actually a Day: https://www.motherjones.com/recharge/2020/10/world-kindness-day/
    World Kindness Day in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Kindness_Day
    Psychology Today: The Importance of Kindness: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/pieces-mind/201712/the-importance-kindness
    Time: Random Acts of Kindness make Marriage Better: https://time.com/4674982/kindness-compassion-marriage/
    Rewards of Kindness  Hui, B. P. H., Ng, J. C. K., Berzaghi, E., Cunningham-Amos, L. A., & Kogan, A. (2020). Rewards of kindness? A meta-analysis of the link between prosociality and well-being. Psychological Bulletin.: https://doi.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fbul0000298
    Psychology Today: Random Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Well Being: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/201711/why-random-acts-kindness-matter-your-well-being
    Being Kind, Not Nice: https://www.scu.edu/the-big-q/being-nice-vs-being-kind/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CNice%E2%80%9D%20is%20defined%20as%20%E2%80%9C,way%20they%20treat%20each%20other.

    • 14 min
    How Do We Deal with Disinformation?

    How Do We Deal with Disinformation?

    [NOTE: This episode was originally published under our sister-podcast, Weekly Grooves. We are republishing it here to share relevant behavioral science information. We hope you enjoy it.]
    We saw an article in The Atlantic that caught our attention because of its hook into behavioral science: our willingness to believe disinformation. In this week’s episode, we talk about the underlying behavioral science into why we humans are so susceptible to information that is not accurate.
    What can we do? We can use the OODA loop to interrupt our too-quick decision to simply accept suspicious content: Observe – Orient – Decide – Act. The OODA loop, in a very simplistic manner uses these four elements in this way: to take in and observe the context in which you’re seeing this information; orient yourself with the source in a critical way; make a decision by asking, “if this is from someone I might not trust, would I still believe it?”; and take action by deleting content created to DIS-inform you.  
    And since our podcast is relatively new, we are very interested in knowing how you think we’re doing. Please leave us a review or drop us a line. @THoulihan or @WhatMotivates
    Disinformation: “False information, which is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organization to a rival power or the media.”
    Misinformation: “False or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.”
    Conspiracy Theory: “A belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event.”
    © 2020 Weekly Grooves / © 2020 Behavioral Grooves
    “The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President,” by McKay Coppins in The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-2020-disinformation-war/605530/
    The Donation of Constantine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donation_of_Constantine
    The National Enquirer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Enquirer
    The Daily Mail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daily_Mail
    The Messenger Effect: https://www.nber.org/papers/w25632.pdf
    OODA Loop: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop
    Leveraging the OODA Loop with Digital Analytics to Counter Disinformation, by Jami Carroll (2019): https://search.proquest.com/openview/0a78c42e27ef89dab1bd4969bd6d0974/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=396497
    Viktor Frankl: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl
    FactCheck.org: https://www.factcheck.org/
    Snopes: https://www.snopes.com/about-snopes/
    Gallup Polls Believing in the Media: https://news.gallup.com/poll/267047/americans-trust-mass-media-edges-down.aspx

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
56 Ratings

56 Ratings

Dawn Bourke ,

A great new find!

This is my new favorite podcast on behavioral science. Thank you!

Byrd Nick ,

Accessible, but often vague and misleading

I like that this podcast attempts to make behavioral science accessible, but this podcast obscures important details and sometimes even misleads its audience as a result. There is a way to e accessible but technically rigorous at the same time. Alas, this doesn’t achieve that.

For example, the rapid ode about gender stereotypes recommends taking the IAT to learn about one’s own individual biases, which is a widely known misuse of the test (Nosek et al., 2015). The test measures group-level phenomena and not stable individual traits.

Another example is the Cialdini episodes featuring the claim that elections could be “predicted”. This is misleading. The behaviors Cialdini studied were not an independent variable that predicted the dependent variable. The behaviors were just another indicator of the dependent variable (voting). The behaviors studies mapped neatly into how people voted. So to say that that behavior predicted the election outcome is as insightful as saying that votes predicted the election outcome—i.e., not insightful.

If anyone has recommendations for behavioral science podcasts that care about the details of open science, experimental design, statistical analysts, and logically supported conclusions, please feel free to recommend them. byrdnick.com/contact

Tracy O Show ,

I feel smarter for listening!

What a great podcast!!! I’m so glad that I found Behavioral Grooves. It’s so interesting to learn why people do some of things they do. This show also gives me insight into my employees and why they may be behaving a certain way.

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