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Attractiveness and Success

Is Beauty or Grooming More Important for Success?

The average woman could spend $15,000 on make-up in a lifetime. Yes, the number is debatable but not the connection between attractiveness and success. You can see how much mint.com thinks women spend on the make-up part of beauty: attractiveness and success. Where are we going? To a closer look at attractiveness. In a 2016 paper, researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to assess: the relationship between income and physical attractiveness. ….[READ]

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How to select the over-confident to rule us

The Advantage of Being Overconfident And Self-Deluded

94% of college professors think their work is above average — that is not statistically possible! Overconfidence and self-delusion can lead to higher social status, research finds. This might help explain why many leaders seem so overconfident. Of course there are disadvantages to overconfidence as well, but these may be outweighed by the advantages. Dr Cameron Anderson, the study’s first author, said: “Our studies found that overconfidence helped people attain social status. ….[READ]

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The benefits of diversity

The Liberal Blind Spot

Classic liberalism exalted tolerance, reflected in a line often (and probably wrongly) attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” On university campuses, that is sometimes updated to: “I disapprove of what you say, so shut up.” In a column a few weeks ago, I offered “a confession of liberal intolerance,” criticizing my fellow progressives for promoting all kinds of diversity on campuses — except ideological. ….[READ]

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The nuance of nudges

Subtle psychological manipulations help people make smarter financial decisions

Over the past 5 years, on behalf of state governments, nearly 100,000 Americans were gently manipulated by a team of social scientists. In 15 randomized, controlled trials, people in need of social services either encountered the standard application process or received a psychological nudge, in which the information was presented slightly differently—a postcard reminded them of deadlines, for example, or one choice was made easier than another. In 11 of the trials, the nudge modestly increased a person’s response rate or influenced them to make financially smarter choices. ….[READ]

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Biases in nutrition labels

Will FDA’s Nutritional Label Changes Affect Buyer Behavior?

Announced recently by the FDA, it’s the most significant overhaul of nutrition labels on packaged foods in the United States in over two decades. The biggest change in labeling has to do with added sugars. Food manufacturers will now have to specify exactly how many grams of sugar they have added, and what percentage of the recommended daily maximum the added sugars represent. The point is to distinguish between sugars that occur naturally in things like fruits that have nutritional benefits, and those that are simply added by manufacturers to improve taste or reduce cost, but which provide no nutrition. ….[READ]

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The next generation of nudges

Nudge 2.0: A broader toolkit for lasting behavior change

Chances are that someone has nudged you today—even if you didn’t realize it. Maybe it was your doctor’s office, sending you a text message about an upcoming appointment. Or maybe it was an airline website, urging you to make a reservation because “only three tickets are left at this price.” In fact, the private sector has been nudging us in one way or another for at least 75 years, since the heyday of the Madison Avenue Ad Men. It’s taken a few generations, but the public sector is starting to catch on. ….[READ]

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How to allocate decisions between humans and machines

When to Trust Robots with Decisions, and When Not To

Smarter and more adaptive machines are rapidly becoming as much a part of our lives as the internet, and more of our decisions are being handed over to intelligent algorithms that learn from ever-increasing volumes and varieties of data. As these “robots” become a bigger part of our lives, we don’t have any framework for evaluating which decisions we should be comfortable delegating to algorithms and which ones humans should retain. That’s surprising, given the high stakes involved. ….[READ]