The psychology of first impressions – digested You’ll have had this experience – you meet a new person and within moments you feel good or bad vibes about them. This is you performing “thin slicing” – deducing information about a person based on “tells”, some more obvious than others. Psychologists have studied this process in detail. For example, they’ve shown that we form a sense of whether a stranger is trustworthy in less than one tenth of a second. With some accuracy, we can also deduce rapidly more specific information such as their intelligence and sexual orientation. This post delves … Continue reading How to make a great first impression
NYC Restaurant Compares Old Surveillance Of Customers To Most Recent And Is Shocked By The Results A popular New York City restaurant recently hired a firm to investigate why they continually kept receiving such bad reviews for slow service. Once the results came in they were shocked by what they discovered. They then decided to rant about it on Craiglist (content has since been removed from Craiglist), comparing footage from 2004 to footage from 2014. This is what they posted: We are a popular restaurant for both locals and tourists alike. Having been in business for many years, we noticed … Continue reading Cell phone usage affects restaurant customers’ satisfaction
Time Teasers: The Opportunity Cost of Time One of our mission statements here at Timeful is to help you “make time for things that matter.” But diligently creating time in your day for things that you value is easier said than done. Usually, we have a very limited amount of time with which to make scheduling decisions. We want to give users a tool that helps them stay true to those resolutions they make in moments of inspiration. These can range from important work-related tasks (“I should set aside a few sessions per week to focus on that project:), to … Continue reading Do opportunity costs of time really matter?
Is There a Happiness Gene? One secret to happiness may lie in genes, a new study suggests. Denmark and other Scandinavian countries regularly top world happiness rankings, and while many factors influence happiness, genetics may play a larger role than previously thought, according to the study authors. The new research examined the average genetic makeup of people in more than 100 countries, and compared how similar their genes were to people living in Denmark — a measurement called genetic distance. They found that the greater a nation’s genetic distance from Denmark, the lower the reported well-being of that nation. ….[READ] Continue reading Are genotypes the source of well-being?
Time and punishment In his “Odyssey”, Homer immortalised the idea of resisting temptation by having the protagonist tied to the mast of his ship, to hear yet not succumb to the beautiful, dangerous songs of the Sirens. Researchers have long been intrigued as to whether this ability to avoid, or defer, gratification is related to outcomes in life. The best-known test is the “marshmallow” experiment, in which children who could refrain from eating the confection for 15 minutes were given a second one. Children who could not wait tended to have lower incomes and poorer health as adults. New research suggests … Continue reading Is impatience a genetic vice?
The Illusion of Mathematical Certainty Nate Silver’s questionable foray into predicting World Cup results got me thinking about the limitations of maths in economics (and the social sciences in general). I generally stay out of this discussion because it’s completely overdone, but I’d like to rebut a popular defence of mathematics in economics that I don’t often see challenged. It goes something like this: Everyone has assumptions implicit in the way they view the world. Mathematics allows economists to state our assumptions clearly and make sure our conclusions follow from our premises so we can avoid fuzzy thinking. I do … Continue reading Are mathematical models just simplifications?
Forget the Wisdom of Crowds; Neurobiologists Reveal the Wisdom of the Confident Way back in 1906, the English polymath Francis Galton visited a country fair in which 800 people took part in a contest to guess the weight of a slaughtered ox. After the fair, he collected the guesses and calculated their average which turned out to be 1,208 pounds. To Galton’s surprise, this was within 1 percent of the true weight of 1,198 pounds. This is one of the earliest examples of a phenomenon that has come to be known as the wisdom of the crowd. The idea is … Continue reading Does overconfidence pay?