Patients’ health vs. academic conferences

Patients do better when cardiologists are away at academic meetings This paper is going to really piss some people off. “Mortality and Treatment Patterns Among Patients Hospitalized With Acute Cardiovascular Conditions During Dates of National Cardiology Meetings“: Importance: Thousands of physicians attend scientific meetings annually. Although hospital physician staffing and composition may be affected by meetings, patient outcomes and treatment patterns during meeting dates are unknown. Objective: To analyze mortality and treatment differences among patients admitted with acute cardiovascular conditions during dates of national cardiology meetings compared with nonmeeting dates. ….[READ] Continue reading Patients’ health vs. academic conferences

Why do airlines charge more fees?

Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer This fall, JetBlue airline finally threw in the towel. For years, the company was among the last holdouts in the face of an industry trend toward smaller seats, higher fees, and other forms of unpleasantness. JetBlue distinguished itself by providing decent, fee-free service for everyone, an approach that seemed to be working: passengers liked the airline, and it made a consistent profit. Wall Street analysts, however, accused JetBlue of being “overly brand-conscious and customer-focussed.” In November, the airline, under new management, announced that it would follow United, Delta, and the other major carriers … Continue reading Why do airlines charge more fees?

The Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation of male traders

The Biological Component of Behavioral Finance Behavioral finance, which is often used to explain irrational moves in financial markets, emphasizes the importance of psychological influences on investor behavior. The work of researchers, including Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, has examined those influences to provide useful insights that help with better decision making. However, focusing on only the psychological drivers of irrational behavior may overlook important biological components that also destabilize financial markets. Irrational decisions, loss aversion, and mispriced risk have been linked to hormones found in the human body. These chemical messengers coordinate fight, flight, mating, feeding, and the struggle … Continue reading The Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation of male traders

What is the source of addiction?

The Essential Brain System That is Hijacked in OCD, Alcoholism, Binge Eating And More Study of OCD finds this indispensable system could be the key to multiple psychological problems. An over-active habit system may be at the root of many psychological problems involving repetitive behaviours like OCD, alcoholism and binge eating, new research suggests. The neuroimaging study, which is published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) had difficulty controlling their habits (Gillan et al., 2014). Before this OCD was seen as a disorder in which repetitive behaviours were self-comforting responses to anxiety. ….[READ] … Continue reading What is the source of addiction?

The fruit fly of cognitive science

Unconscious learning, knowing without knowing, blind insight and other cognitive wonders What is the capital of Bulgaria? If you don’t know, just take a guess. Seriously, any answer will be fine. Even Bolgonia – I won’t know, just say something so we can move on. Ok, now, what is the capital of Italy? Are you sure about that? Now take a moment and think about your own thinking. How confident are you right now that your guesses are correct? Very confident? What about being wrong? Can you feel an intuition about your own wrongness? If so, can you also feel … Continue reading The fruit fly of cognitive science

Are Uber’s customers morally biased?

What Economists Don’t Get About Uber’s Surge Pricing During Sunday’s hostage crisis in Sydney, Australia, Uber, the car service, raised its prices. The company’s algorithm does this automatically when demand increases, during, for instance, a rainstorm or on a busy night like New Year’s Eve. It’s taken heat for this practice before. But since this was a slightly different set of circumstances – a mentally unstable man had taken hostages in a cafe – surge pricing created an almost-immediate brouhaha that was just over the border into moral outrage. What’s surge pricing exactly? Here’s what the company’s website has to … Continue reading Are Uber’s customers morally biased?

Social norms marketing

How economic theory can help stop sexual assault Sexual assault is shockingly common. In a 2005 survey of over 5,000 undergraduate women at two U.S. universities, roughly 20 percent reported experiencing some form of sexual assault during college. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense estimated that 14,000 male and 12,000 female service members were sexually assaulted that year. These numbers are intolerable. But how do we move from outrage to action? Two initiatives have real potential: a web reporting system and social norms marketing. Both draw from ideas in law, psychology, sociology and political science. But aspects of both … Continue reading Social norms marketing