221 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

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 63 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.

    How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets

    How Do You Become Influential? Jon Levy Reveals His Surprising Secrets

    Our guest, Jon Levy, is arguably one of the most influential behavioral scientists in the world. Over 10 years ago, Jon founded The Influencers Dinner, a secret dining experience for industry leaders ranging from Olympians, Nobel laureates, executives, to musicians. Over the course of the last decade, these dinners have developed into a wide community of influential people. 
    Our opening speed round with Jon did not disappoint. We learn his unique perspective on which Star Trek Captains was the best, and the surprising answer to who his dream guest was at one of his dinners. 
    In our discussion with Jon, he shares the secrets behind his influential approach: what motivated him to start this novel idea, how he developed it and the key steps behind the ongoing success of the community that he has curated. 
    Jon’s second book, “You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence” https://amzn.to/2RmlUlA is released on May 11, 2021. Which follows his hugely successful first book: “The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure” https://amzn.to/3eS3p0m. We had the privilege of previewing his latest book for this interview and we were blown away by Jon’s unique approach to cultivating human connections through trust and community. 
    Of course, we discuss what music Jon has been listening to at home and we are surprised to learn what has recently sparked his musical interest. Jon has found that through his Influence Dinners, he has hosted a lot of his childhood pop idols, which he still enjoys listening to.
    Thanks for listening and thank you for taking a minute to join the others who have already left us a review. 
    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves
    Jon Levy's Books
    You're Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence https://amzn.to/2RmlUlA
    The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure https://amzn.to/3eS3p0m  
    Links
    Jon Levy https://www.jonlevytlb.com/ 
    Peter Cullen (voice of Optimus Prime) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Cullen 
    James T. Kirk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_T._Kirk 
    Jean-Luc Picard https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard 
    Neil deGrasse Tyson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson 
    Oprah https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah_Winfrey 
    Beyonce https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyonc%C3%A9 
    Sir Richard Branson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson 
    Stephen Hawking https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking 
    Disney https://www.disney.com/ 
    Mark Zuckerberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Zuckerberg 
    Nicholas Christakis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Christakis 
    James H. Fowler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_H._Fowler 
    The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years 
    Christakis and Fowler (2007) https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmsa066082 
    Nike Run Club https://www.nike.com/gb/nrc-app 
    Bill Nye the Science Guy https://billnye.com/ 
    Parkour https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour 
    The Daily Show https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Show 
    The New York Times: Want to Meet Influential New Yorkers? Invite Them to Dinner
    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/fashion/want-to-meet-influential-new-yorkers-invite-them-to-dinner.html 
    SNVTA - Ventral tegmental area of the brain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventral_tegmental_area 
    Davos https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davos 
    Bill Gates https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates 
    Angela Merkel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Merkel 
    TED https://www.ted.com/ 
    My Octopus Teacher https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Octopus_Teacher 
    United States Navy SEAL selection and training https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_SEAL_selection_and_training 
    The IKEA Effect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKEA_effect#:~:text=The%20IKEA%20effect%20is%20a,of%20furniture%20that%20require%20assembly
    Common Biases & Heuristics https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XHp

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Why Music Makes You Feel Better with Pablo Ripollés and Ernest Mas Herrero

    Why Music Makes You Feel Better with Pablo Ripollés and Ernest Mas Herrero

    In this episode we are thrilled to be discussing our two favorite topics: human behavior and music. We learn that music, more than any other activity, can help lift our mood, during COVID. Our guests Pablo Ripollés PhD and Ernest Mas Herrero have spent years studying how the brain responds to rewards, learning and memory. Early in the pandemic, they decided to conduct research on a long list of activities that people were doing at home to manage their stress and increase the pleasure in their lives. While a number of the activities were found to help with mental health, the research overwhelmingly showed that engaging with music was the best way to lift your mood.
    We have a really engaging conversation with Pablo and Ernest about their research findings on wellbeing and music. They believe that because listening to music is a passive activity and is so accessible, or “fun and free” as they call it, everyone can experience pleasure from it. And it’s not just listening to music; dancing, singing or playing music are all beneficial.  We also learn that the best type of music to engage with is whatever music you really enjoy: “It will be beneficial as long as it is pleasurable.”
    The questionnaire Pablo and Ernest discuss in the podcast is the Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire http://brainvitge.org/z_oldsite/bmrq.php. It will take you only a few minutes to find out about your individual sensitivity to musical reward. And you can also read Pablo and Ernest’s full research article: “Rock ’n’ Roll but not Sex or Drugs: Music is negatively correlated to depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic via reward-related mechanisms” https://psyarxiv.com/x5upn/. 
    Listen in to find out more from Pablo and Ernest about how music can benefit your mental wellbeing. And If you’d like to support the work we do at Behavioral Grooves bringing you interesting research insights, please consider becoming a Patreon member at https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves. 
    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves
    Topics
    (0:06) Introduction
    (5:20) Speed Round Questions
    (8:44) Research Insights with Pablo and Ernest
    (36:50) Grooving Session
    (50:26) Bonus Track
    Musical Links 
    Dropkick Murphys https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcIRZxNH7xcEt1fu4pfqFRg 
    Rumba https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrsK48Bp6T8 
    Catalan music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjJnF95TWN8 
    Zoo https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBh82sG2OKv1J6Ij43mdFiw 
    Depeche Mode https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM-CWGUijAC-8idv6k6Fygw 
    Aretha Franklin “Think” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqYnevHibaI 
    Links
    “Rock ’n’ Roll but not Sex or Drugs: Music is negatively correlated to depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic via reward-related mechanisms” Herrero et al (2020): https://psyarxiv.com/x5upn/ 
    “Neural correlates of specific musical anhedonia” Martínez-Molina et al (2016): https://www.pnas.org/content/113/46/E7337
    Pablo Ripollés: https://as.nyu.edu/faculty/pablo-ripolles.html 
    Ernest Mas Herrero: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3607-8489 
    Jamón ibérico https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jam%C3%B3n_ib%C3%A9rico 
    Lionel Messi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Messi 
    Michael Jordan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jordan 
    Roger Federer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Federer 
    “Goal Gradient Theory” Kivetz et al (2006): https://home.uchicago.edu/ourminsky/Goal-Gradient_Illusionary_Goal_Progress.pdf 
    Robert Zatorre, PhD https://www.mcgill.ca/neuro/robert-zatorre-phd
    Neomi Singer, PhD https://neuroscience-innovation.org/music-to-my-brain-neomi-singer 
    Laura Ferreri, University of Lyon https://emc.univ-lyon2.fr/laura-ferreri-785895.kjsp 
    Michael McPhee, NYU https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/people/michael-mcphee  
    Hedonia and anhedonia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anhedonia 
    Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire http://brainvitge.org/z_oldsit

    • 52 min
    Share, Like, Comment: Sandra Matz PhD Exposes The Truth Behind your Digital Footprint

    Share, Like, Comment: Sandra Matz PhD Exposes The Truth Behind your Digital Footprint

    Our guest this week, Sandra Matz PhD exposes the truth behind our online presence. In our conversation, Sandra reveals that with simple analytics, the digital footprints we leave behind online (our Facebook Likes, our credit card transactions, our Google Map searches) add up to paint a very revealing picture of our personality and state of mind.
    Sandra Matz PhD is an associate professor at Columbia Business School. She takes a Big Data approach to studying human behaviour. Her methodologies use psychology, computer science and data collection to explore the relationships between people’s psychological characteristics and their digital footprints. 
    Sandra’s work has been published in top-tier journals such as Psychological Science and the American Psychologist, and has attracted worldwide media attention from outlets like the Independent, the BBC, CNBC, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the World Economic Forum.
    Our discussion delves into Sandra’s experience around social media profiles, digital ethics, data privacy and our understanding of informed consent. As always we find out about our guest’s musical taste but this week we even find out what our musical preferences can reveal about our personality and social identities. 
    We hope you enjoy our discussion with Sandra Matz PhD, and if you do, please leave us a quick review or join our Patreon team at https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves.
     
    Topics
    3:04 Welcome to Sandra Matz PhD and speed round questions
    4:52 Discussion about Sandra Matz’s Research
    52:32 Grooving Session
    1:10:37 Bonus Track with Kurt
     
    Links
    Sandra Matz https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/cbs-directory/detail/sm4409 
    Cambridge Analytica https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Analytica
    Cass Sunstein https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cass_Sunstein 
    GDPR https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation 
    Kate Crawford, NYU https://ainowinstitute.org/about.html 
    Helen Nissenbaum, Cornell https://nissenbaum.tech.cornell.edu/ 
    Tory Higgins, Shared Reality: What Makes Us Strong and Tears Us Apart https://amzn.to/3aywWdW 
    SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/ 
    Brene Brown https://brenebrown.com/ 
    Steve Bannon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bannon 
    Patreon https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves
    Behavioral Grooves @behavioralgroov https://twitter.com/behavioralgroov 
    Kurt @motivationguru https://twitter.com/motivationguru 
    Tim @THoulihan https://twitter.com/THoulihan 
    Mary @BeSciMary https://twitter.com/BeSciMary
     
    Musical Links
    Taylor Swift https://www.youtube.com/user/taylorswift 
    Justin Bieber https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIwFjwMjI0y7PDBVEO9-bkQ 
    Bob Dylan https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnRI0ay61tY-fKYzzB3fCnw 
    Britney Spears https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-u5WLJ9Yk4 
    Coldplay https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDPM_n1atn2ijUwHd0NNRQw 
    ACDC https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB0JSO6d5ysH2Mmqz5I9rIw 
    Lady Gaga https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNL1ZadSjHpjm4q9j2sVtOA 
     

    • 1 hr 13 min
    3 Ways to have a Positive Chat About Vaccine Hesitancy with Friends and Family

    3 Ways to have a Positive Chat About Vaccine Hesitancy with Friends and Family

    Research is showing that there are four broad groups of people who are the most vaccine hesitant:
    African Americans
    Latinos
    Women between the ages of 20 and 36
    Rural Americans and Republicans
    Many of us have a family or friend who feels hesitant about the vaccination. In this episode, Kurt and Tim address how you can have a positive conversation with them, using proven behavioral science techniques. 
    Compassionate curiosity
    Listen with compassion
    Understanding motivations
    Be genuine with curiosity
    Leverage the right messenger
    Framing what you’re going to share
    Think about their perspective
    Find an authority figure who they respect
    Trumpcine
    The Message
    Change the social norm
    Being able to take our masks off “Take a shot, take off your mask”
    Personalise the message
    Links
    Morgan Freeman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_Freeman 
    Kwame Christian https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/kwame-christian-on-compassionate-curiosity-social-justice-conversations-and-cinnamon-toast-crunch/ 
    Steve Martin & Joe Marks: BG episode
    https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/steve-martin-and-joe-marks-the-messenger-is-the-message/ 
    Robb Willer, Stanford University https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robb_Willer 
    Donald Trump https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump 
    Ivanka Trump https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivanka_Trump 
    Ted Cruz https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz 
    Trumpcine https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2021/04/12/trump-calls-covid-19-vaccine-trumpcine-mocks-fauci-again/ 
    Frank Luntz https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Luntz 
    Robert Cialdini https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/robert-cialdini-phd-littering-egoism-and-aretha-franklin/ 
    The Petrified Forrest https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-shaping-us/201909/the-petrified-wood-principle 
    Katy Milkman https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/katy-milkman-phd-using-behavior-change-for-good/ 
    Surfacing norms to increase vaccine acceptance https://psyarxiv.com/srv6t/
    Patreon https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves 
     
    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves

    • 15 min
    How a Compelling Story Packs a Persuasive Punch with Melanie Green

    How a Compelling Story Packs a Persuasive Punch with Melanie Green

    Dr. Melanie Green is a professor at the University of Buffalo. She joined us on the podcast to explain how the power of a compelling narrative, including the effects of fictional stories, can be used to change beliefs and attitudes. Her theory of "transportation into a narrative world" focuses on how immersive storytelling is a mechanism of narrative influence.
    It was an in-depth conversation that explored concepts around how stories move us, the power of narrative to affect both cognitive and emotional feelings, and how restorative narratives can be used to help heal communities after disasters. We touch on the psychological response of reactance, the appeal of conspiracy theory stories and the elements needed to create a compelling story. 
    We also introduce - in a slightly more proper fashion - our production and research assistant, Mary Kaliff. We are excited to introduce Mary to our listeners and hope you will welcome her with a happy greeting on social media!
    Finally, no episode of Behavioral Grooves would be complete without understanding our guest’s musical tastes. Melanie’s upbringing in Gainesville, Florida influenced her lifelong love of music, in particular the hometown hero,  Tom Petty. She’s also a fan of James Taylor, which delighted Tim. More recently, Melanie’s house is often filled with the sound of the Hamilton soundtrack, thanks to her children’s love of the musical, which delighted Kurt. So, it was wins all around. 
    We hope you enjoy our conversation with Melanie and if you like it, please jump down to the bottom of your listening app and share a quick rating or a short review with us. It goes a long way in helping others decide if they should listen to Behavioral Grooves. 
    Topics
    0:07 Introduction 
    1:00 Hello from Mary Kaliff
    3:46 Welcome and Speed Round with Melanie Green
    7:44 Reactance and empathy
    16:25 What makes a good story?
    22:26 Storytelling in different mediums
    27:12 Parasocial Interaction
    33:10 Storytelling for social good
    38:50 Conspiracy Theories
    43:07 Melanie’s music and playlist
    47:30 Grooving Session
    Quotes 
    (14:13) If you do have a story that's not representative, the danger of it kind of having an undue influence on people's thinking and decision making is, I think, a real one, especially with something consequential, like these medical decisions. 
    (18:21) the way that stories can inform us and change our minds, is through this process of being immersed in them.
    (31:17) And so a story can be a really nice kind of way of summarizing and illustrating the guiding principles maybe that people want the organization to follow
    (33:37) restorative narratives tell those stories, you know, how people move from something bad to kind of come back to a better place.
    Social Media
    Tim @THoulihan
    Kurt @motivationguru
    Mary @BeSciMary
    Other Content
    To listen to more podcasts about narratives and messages why not delve into these episodes:
    https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/steve-martin-and-joe-marks-the-messenger-is-the-message/
    https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/john-sweeney-everything-is-a-story/ 
    © 2021 Behavioral Grooves
    Links
    Melanie Green:  https://www.buffalo.edu/cas/communication/faculty/green.html 
    The Game of Thrones: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_of_Thrones 
    Story telling Mirrors in the Brain: https://www.michaelharvey.org/new-blog/2019/12/29/storytelling-mirrors-in-the-brain 
    Victoria Shaffer, PhD: https://psychology.missouri.edu/people/shaffer 
    The Bible: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible 
    The Koran:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quran 
    The Bhagavad Ghita: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagavad_Gita 
    Pamela Rutledge: https://www.pamelarutledge.com/ 
    Guy Schoenecker: https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/12/07/life-story-guy-schoenecker/ 
    BI WORLDWIDE: https://www.biworldwide.com/careers/ 
    Common Biases & Heuristics: https://docs.google.com/document/d

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Secrets of Subtraction: Donut Holes, Lego and Bruce Springsteen with Leidy Klotz

    Secrets of Subtraction: Donut Holes, Lego and Bruce Springsteen with Leidy Klotz

    Leidy Klotz is the Copenhaver Associate Professor of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia. His research fills in underexplored overlaps between engineering and behavioral science, in pursuit of more sustainable environmental systems. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in venues that include top academic journals in built environment engineering, engineering education, and design, as well as imprints of both Science and Nature.
    We explored the rarity of subtraction from our lives and the fact that we tend to add things much more than we remove things. Granted, we’ve been builders of things since the dawn of civilization, but when is enough, enough? Leidy suggested we begin any initiative by subtracting before we start adding.  
    We traced the concept from Lao Tzu through DaVinci through Kurt Lewin and right up into today’s literature with Marie Kondo and Tim Ferriss. But Leidy’s thoughts are truly fresh because he is adding to this historical narrative with scientific data. He offered us fresh ways to think about this uphill battle with our natural desires. 
    We also discussed Leidy’s view of the Planetary Tipping Point: where our very fixed-resource planet gets maxed out by humans with an unlimited desire for more. And we were pleased to talk about Kurt Lewin and his force-field analysis and, as you might expect, we enthusiastically discussed Bruce Springsteen as a prolific and gifted writer. 
    We hope you enjoy our discussion with Leidy Klotz, and if you do, please leave us a quick review or join our Patreon team at https://www.patreon.com/behavioralgrooves. 
     
    Links
    Leidy Klotz, PhD: https://engineering.virginia.edu/faculty/leidy-klotz
    Lego https://www.lego.com/en-us 
    Harry Potter Lego Set - Hogwarts https://www.lego.com/en-us/search?q=harry%20potter%20hogwarts 
    Wildlife Bingo https://www.nature-watch.com/wildlife-bingo-game-p-176.html 
    Michael Jordan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jordan 
    Bruce Springsteen https://brucespringsteen.net/ 
    Mayan City of Coba https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coba 
    Marie Kondo https://konmari.com/ 
    Tim Ferris https://tim.blog/ 
    Da Vinci https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci 
    Lao Tzu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laozi 
    Bowerbird https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowerbird 
    Allison Zelkowitz https://www.linkedin.com/in/allison-zelkowitz-197431a/?originalSubdomain=lb 
    Chaning Jang https://www.busaracenter.org/staff-bios/chaning-8f39x 
    Kurt Lewin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Lewin 
    Kate Orff, Lexington Waterway Project https://www.scapestudio.com/people/kate-orff/ 
    Dan Ariely “Predictably Irrational” https://danariely.com/books/predictably-irrational/ 
    Roger Dooley “Friction” https://www.rogerdooley.com/books/friction/ 
     
    Musical Links
    Bruce Springsteen “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg0ekQBmzKs 
    Bruce Springsteen “Born In The USA”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPhWR4d3FJQ 
    Bruce Springsteen “Western Stars” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IXzAAKrsFE 
    Bruce Springsteen “Letter to You” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQyLEz0qy-g 
     
    Topics
    3:20 Leidy’s 6-year-old son answers a speed round question
    4:34 Speed round with Leidy
    7:14 Leidy’s book - Subtraction
    13:00 “More-ality”
    24:00 Planetary tipping points
    26:15 Kurt Lewin force field theory
    29:28 Kate Orff Lexington Waterways Project
    33:40 Subtraction checklist
    37:57 Springsteen
    45:24 Grooving
     
    Interview Quotes
    (8:10) we're doing these mental searches for solutions, and our mind goes to additive solutions before it goes to subtractive ones. 
    (12:01) as people are trying to change things from how they are to how they want them to be, we systematically think of adding first and then, only subsequently or with effort or with reminders, think of subtraction
    (35:15) so often we ki

    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
63 Ratings

63 Ratings

Chicken lttle ,

Always great

Not only do you learn a lot about BeSci but you learn so much more. I love the casual conversations with so much personal background too. It’s a regular must listen.

K Colombe ,

Great Balance Between Insight and Entertainment

Tim and Kurt do a wonderful job weaving in behavioral insights in a fun and engaging way!!

ES psych fan ,

Great insights while I laugh

Tim and Kurt have such a nice chemistry between them as well as with their guests that I don’t even realize that I’m learning as I listen. It’s just like I’m part of a really fun, really interesting conversation. I love the growing session as well - always a great recap with a different spin!

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