This is Your Brain on Patriotism If you want to understand how patriotism works in the United States, a good place to start is a swim meet in southern California, near the University of California, Irvine campus. It’s hot, and … Continue reading The psychology of patriotism
Why Your Brain Hates Other People As a kid, I saw the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes. As a future primatologist, I was mesmerized. Years later I discovered an anecdote about its filming: At lunchtime, the people playing … Continue reading Us Versus Them
Much Ado About Nudging In their provocative paper, “Putting Nudges in Perspective”, George Loewenstein and Nick Chater attempt to correct what they perceive to be a serious problem in the research agenda of applying behavioral economics to public policy. The … Continue reading Are prohibitions ineffective?
Behave Yourself: Moral Behavior and Conformity As kids we were often nudged by our parents to be conventional: “look at your behavior- why don’t you behave like everyone else?” is a sentence I’ve been hearing from mum too often as … Continue reading A moral rule of thumb
Rules of ascent When asked in the 1920s why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, George Mallory notoriously quipped: ‘Because it’s there.’ It was a flippant remark, of course, but also an instance of what Friedrich Nietzsche had called ‘superficiality … Continue reading The harder the better
Social pressure or punishment? Using behavioural insights for compliance For policymakers wanting to use behavioural insights to improve compliance, “investing in longer-term development of social norms may be the best course”, argues an evidence review published by the Australia and … Continue reading Going with the herd
Norway, the happiest country in the world? I’m not so sure It’s always strange to live in a country that is listed as being one of the very best. When you have everything outwardly, it can make you look inwards. … Continue reading The law of Jante