money priming

Do subtle money reminders change your political ideas?

Social Priming: Money for Nothing?

Can the thought of money make people more conservative? The idea that mere reminders of money can influence people’s attitudes and behaviors is a major claim within the field of social priming – the study of how our behavior is unconsciously influenced by seemingly innocuous stimuli. However, social priming has been controversial lately with many high profile failures to replicate the reported effects. Now, psychologists Doug Rohrer, Hal Pashler, and Christine Harris have joined the skeptical fray, in a paper soon to be published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (JEPG) (preprint here). Rohrer et al. report zero evidence for money-priming effects across four large experiments. ….[READ]


Are self-reported biases significant?

People Are More Homophobic Than They Say They Are

The Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide may have registered as a transformative moment in and of itself, but it also served as the culmination of one of the more massive — and rapid — shifts in public opinion in recent history. In 2005, just 36 percent of Americans favored allowing gay and lesbian people to marry legally. By the time of the decision it was 57 percent, and, when asked, straight Americans now express more positive attitudes toward those groups than ever before. But what about how people actually feel, not just what they say? It’s easy to say you don’t harbor prejudice against some group, but how would you react when placed in a situation where you had to make a split-second decision, one that might betray your true feelings? ….[READ]


Is optimism a bias?

We Need Optimists

My wife, Ester, and I had just endured a difficult parent-teacher conference for one of our teenage children. It was a grades issue. The ride home was tense, until Ester broke the silence. “Think of it this way,” she said. “At least we know he’s not cheating.” That’s an optimist. We need more optimism in America today — especially in our politics. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? At the personal level, optimism clearly seems superior. Psychologists find that optimists generally enjoy better physical health than pessimists, and a greater ability to cope with setbacks. Optimists are happier than pessimists, as a rule. On the other hand, optimism is not without cost. Research shows that optimists are more likely than pessimists to keep gambling after losing money. ….[READ]

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 08:  Employees teach shoppers to use self-service checkout stations at a Fresh & Easy grocery as Tesco PLC, the UK's biggest retailer, officially enters the U.S. market, opening its first six stores in southern California on November 8, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. Tesco is importing its own system of grocery store operations, making heavy use of pre-packaged produce, in contrast to U.S.-based grocery chains, to reduce overhead and refrigeration costs. The Fresh & Easy markets, which are significantly smaller than typical U.S. supermarkets,  will use its own truck fleet for single deliveries from a centralized distribution center. The chain will operate from a relatively small $10,000 per square foot, producing more than a projected $200,000 a week, twice that per square foot of typical U.S. food stores.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Is scan-bag-weigh-pay wrong?

The trick that makes self-checkouts almost tolerable

I spent the last few days in Deal and Folkestone with Professor Richard Thaler at Nudgestock, Ogilvy’s seaside festival of Behavioural Science. On my way home I decided to stop off at M&S to buy some runny scotch eggs and a pie, accompanied by some unwanted green things to make my basket look middle-class. Finding a long queue at the main checkout, I grudgingly took my goods to the self-checkout machines. (For the uninitiated, Richard Thaler is the co-author of Nudge, and more recently the author of Misbehaving. He is perhaps the godfather of behavioural economics, a dissident strand of economics which holds the outlandish view that the discipline might have something to learn from observing the behaviour of real people in everyday life, rather than concentrating on the serious business of constructing elegant mathematical models unsullied by any contact with humanity. ….[READ]


How to quit smoking and donate to charity

Smoking – the toughest habit can be broken

We’re non-smokers, but we empathize with those who want to quit after years of smoking. It’s not easy. People try lots of things to quit smoking – nicotine patches, cold turkey, replacing the cigarette with something to keep them busy, avoiding the spots where smokers congregate, making new year resolutions, promising their kids/wives/girlfriends, what not. Few succeed, most fail. We’ve chanced upon something that has proved to be more successful than any other way to quit smoking. CARES – Committed Action to Reduce and End Smoking – is a savings program offered by the Green Bank of Caraga in Mindanao, Philippines. Here’s how the savings program works. ….[READ]


Do anti-obesity campaigns work?

Americans Are Finally Eating Less

After decades of worsening diets and sharp increases in obesity, Americans’ eating habits have begun changing for the better. Calories consumed daily by the typical American adult, which peaked around 2003, are in the midst of their first sustained decline since federal statistics began to track the subject, more than 40 years ago. The number of calories that the average American child takes in daily has fallen even more — by at least 9 percent. The declines cut across most major demographic groups — including higher- and lower-income families, and blacks and whites — though they vary somewhat by group. In the most striking shift, the amount of full-calorie soda drunk by the average American has dropped 25 percent since the late 1990s. ….[READ]


Your garbage is not private

Exposing What You Hide in Your Garbage

In 1988 the Supreme Court said it was okay that “animals, children, scavengers, snoops…” and the police have access to your garbage. Placed outside for pickup, your garbage is not private. The majority opinion indicated garbage was not protected by the Fourth Amendment because most of us do not expect it to be private. Disagreeing, the dissent said the Court should safeguard the private parts of our lives that we discard. Where are we going? To the cost and benefit of recycling regulation. In the 1988 case, when the police suspected narcotics trafficking, they went to the person’s garbage to prove it. Although they were right, the defendant claimed his right to privacy. ….[READ]