The Art of Decision-Making In July of 1838, Charles Darwin was twenty-nine years old and single. Two years earlier, he had returned from his voyage aboard H.M.S. Beagle with the observations that would eventually form the basis of “On the … Continue reading Choose wisely
An Economist Goes Christmas Shopping “The Deadweight Loss of Christmas” is the sort of academic paper that makes ordinary people think economists are kind of crazy. “I find that holiday gift giving destroys between one-third and one-tenth of the value … Continue reading Did you buy presents?
Simple Heuristics That Make Algorithms Smart Gerd Gigerenzer’s debate with Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, and collaborators in the heuristics and biases research program has been one of the more interesting sideshows in psychology. Although the debate often appears to be … Continue reading Anchoring and adjustment
The cigarette smoker as two-self economic man In a landmark report released in May 1988, the Surgeon General of the United States concluded that the nicotine in cigarette smoke was an addictive drug. The report described cigarette smoking as a … Continue reading Are you rationally addicted?
There Is No Such Thing as Unconscious Thought The great French mathematician and physicist Henri Poincaré (1854–1912) took a particular interest in the origins of his own astonishing creativity. His achievements were impressive: His work profoundly reshaped mathematics and physics—including … Continue reading Flashes of suspicion
Why winning in rock-paper-scissors isn’t everything ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS WORKS GREAT for deciding who has to take out the garbage. But have you ever noticed what happens when, instead of playing best of three, you just let the game continue round after … Continue reading Mixed strategies
The Irrational User: 8 cognitive biases to keep in mind when building products The human mind is a wonderfully complex thinking machine. We’ve developed written language, built skyscrapers, and discovered quantum physics through our collective ability to plan and reason. … Continue reading How cognitive biases arise