Most of us would like to think we make decisions for our own good. Presented with the imaginary choice between a bag of salty, greasy potato chips and a healthy salad, you might opt, in principle, for the salad. But what happens when that bag of chips is freshly opened, sitting there right in front of you? Do you change your mind?
In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a bias that has an outsized influence on decisions you make in the here and now.
The show begins with an experiment that reveals how difficult it is to avoid the temptation of junk food—and how the power of that temptation is affected by time.
Then, you’ll hear the story of a man who spent his childhood in relative poverty but found himself wealthy beyond his dreams by the time he was a teenager. This unexpected windfall changed his life in an instant. But it ultimately became a painful lesson on the dangers of living only for the present.
You’ll hear from two heavyweights in the world of psychology and economics. Richard Thaler is a Nobel Prize–winning economist and co-author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Thaler tells the story of how he came to discover and research this bias. Renowned psychologist Angela Duckworth explores some of the ways you can combat temptation and make better decisions for your future. She’s the author of the bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
Finally, Katy Milkman offers additional tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of this bias: with behavioral tools such as temptation bundling and commitment devices.