Which music do you taste?

Music Enhances Beer’s Flavor

Hearing your favorite song at a bar doesn’t just improve the ambience of your 21-and-up social endeavor. A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that the music we listen to while drinking significantly influences the taste of whatever brew we’re bringing to our lips. In one of the coolest research projects I’ve come across in a while, The Brussels Beer Project teamed up with the UK rock band Editors to concoct a porter-style beer. ….[READ]


How visual system works

Gambling on limited information: our visual system and probabilistic inference

Imagine walking along in the African savanna. Suddenly you notice a moving bush partially obscuring a large yellow object. From this limited information, you need to figure out if you’re in danger and decide how to react. Is it a pile of dry grass? Or a hungry lion? In situations like this, our brains must use complex and uncertain visual information to make split-second decisions. The inferences and subsequent decisions we make based on what we see can be the difference between responding appropriately to a threat and becoming a lion’s next meal. ….[READ]

A man passes the famed bronze bull in New York's financial district, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007. The Dow fell 416.02 points, or 3.29 percent, to 12,216.24 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Do bankers take crazy risks?

What Happens When There Are Limits on Bankers’ Bonuses?

Do bankers make too much? That question has been widely discussed ever since the 2008 financial crash, which many experts blamed (in part) on a system of compensation that excessively rewarded risky behavior. As one element of the bailout, President Obama limited the compensation of executives at banks the government rescued, but the cap wasn’t absolute—compensation above $500,000 could be paid in stock—and the measure lifted once a bank paid the government back. ….[READ]


Is the end of economists?

People don’t trust economists anymore

For most of my career it has been good to be an economist. I felt wise, I felt heard. Sure, I got constant reminders from well-meaning people that no one behaves in the rational way that economists generally presume people do. But otherwise it seemed economists had influence and prestige. No longer. On both the left and on the right, on both sides of the Atlantic, there’s been a resounding rejection of economic advice from experts in the field. A majority of the UK electorate voted for Brexit despite dire warnings from economists. ….[READ]


Is do-it-yourself TMS risky?

Zapping Their Brains at Home

Earlier this month, in the journal Annals of Neurology, four neuroscientists published an open letter to practitioners of do-it-yourself brain stimulation. These are people who stimulate their own brains with low levels of electricity, largely for purposes like improved memory or learning ability. The letter, which was signed by 39 other researchers, outlined what is known and unknown about the safety of such noninvasive brain stimulation, and asked users to give careful consideration to the risks. ….[READ]

Local residents dance at a square next to the Yangtze River in Badong, Hubei province August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY) - RTR36FZ4

How brain makes people social

How the Immune System Controls Social Behavior

More and more, we are discovering that the mind and the body are not separate. The brain is not just an ivory tower that sends orders from on high to a body that just does what it’s told. The body talks to the brain, too. Indeed, a group of scientists recently discovered a two-way connection between the brain and the immune system, one that could have far-reaching implications. ….[READ]


All-cash mortgage are behavioral?

Buy It With Cash, Mortgage It Later

Anthony Corbisiero wanted a quick sale on his studio pied-à-terre in West Chelsea, as he planned to use a portion of the proceeds for his daughter’s looming college expenses. So he and his wife, Julie, who live in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, were thrilled when three bids emerged within a week. Two were all cash. “The other buyer preferred to do it with financing,” said Mr. Corbisiero, an independent stock trader. “But why should I wait for them to get a mortgage?” The sale closed in March, just two months after the unit was listed. ….[READ]