Rationalizing the “Irrational” Economists are famous for attempting to rationalize seemingly irrational behavior. One of the more extraordinary is Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy’s theory of rational addiction, in which they hypothesized that addicts plan their consumption of addictive goods. … Continue reading Misunderstanding irrationality
How Intelligence Leads to Stereotyping Upon seeing a young man hoisting a Hitler salute in 2017, most people likely do not think, “there goes a Rhodes Scholar.” Racists stereotype other people, for the most part, but there are also stereotypes … Continue reading Cognitive ability and racism
Why a Toaster Is a Design Triumph Last year I fell in love with a toaster. It looks like most others. A brushed, stainless-steel housing. Four slots, to accommodate the whole family’s bread-provisioning needs. It is alluring but modest, perched … Continue reading A Bit More
Psychologists have shown that it’s possible to train one-year-olds’ attention skills According to a new paper in Developmental Psychology, children as young as 12-months-old can be taught to get better at focusing their attention – which may help with their … Continue reading Training infants’ attention
You’ve been framed: Why Narratives Matter How many times have you seen a headline similar to this – “Nigeria loses $34 billion to tomato/fish/toothpick imports?” If you’re Nigerian, you’ve heard an assertion like this at least once. And how does … Continue reading Framing economic policy
Is Social Media Disconnecting Us From the Big Picture? Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised that Donald Trump could be elected president, but I was. I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, two of the most liberal places in … Continue reading The cognitive traps of social media
The myth of self-control As the Bible tells it, the first crime committed was a lapse of self-control. Eve was forbidden from tasting the fruit on the tree of knowledge. But the temptation was too much. The fruit was just … Continue reading Are you horrible at resisting temptation?