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Category: Psychology

Why we need underdogs in March Madness

george mason images

Every year, March Madness gives us an underdog story and millions flock to a momentary allegiance with a college they could not locate on a map. In the past it has been George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth University and Butler, and this year we eagerly await a new momentary hero. So why do we love underdogs?…

Be Happy! The Super Bowl Blackout was a Collectable Experience

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Collectable experiences are defined as unique, unusual, novel, or extreme experiences. Instead of viewing the Super Bowl blackout of 2013 as a frustrating experience, view it as a “collectable experience” and you will enjoy it more. That’s what researchers did one New Years Eve in Times Square with a similarly frustrating event. Spectators were increasingly…

Investment Jaws

I have recently gotten hooked on ABC’s Shark Tank (based on the original Dragon’s Den), a reality show in which rookie entrepreneurs seek investments from wealthy self-made investors. These investors are the titular “Sharks,” who receive investment proposals ranging from a folding guitar company to a business in cat toilet-training kits. Once a sales pitch…

Considering Consideration Sets

When faced with a decision (e.g., like what to do on a week night), our final decisions are based less on what options are available, and more on what options we consider. The options that come to mind most easily are the options that form our consideration set, and then we choose from that set.…

Are Wii U Prices Manipulating Shoppers' Psychology?

The pricing structure of Nintendo’s Wii U could manipulate shopper psychology via the decoy effect (see here and here for more on the effect). The Wii U is mainly available in two forms: a $350 Deluxe version and a $300 Basic, and without a doubt the $350 deluxe is a much better deal for most shoppers..…

Why Can’t We Be Friends? The Joy of the Political Fight

political fighting

Journalists, businesses, comedians, and the rest of us have been crying out to politicians, “Why so much fighting?” and asking, “Can’t we all just get along?” Despite these calls for bipartisanship and peace in Washington, the quarrels rage on. Why? Although politicians say they wish the fighting would end, they may actually take pleasure in…

Partisans Don’t Know How the Middle Feels

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Ten minutes into the Presidential debate, my democratic friends were sure it was a failure. They tweeted, “Nothing he is saying is making me feel anything.” A lot of Democrats have walked away from Romney’s monologues unaware of how moving Romney’s comments can be. They have felt absolutely secure that an Obama victory is in…

Part 3: The Amorality of Drunk Driving

Over the past week I have blogged about the amorality of drunk driving and critiqued some of the policies attempting to curb drunk driving. Drawing from behavioral economics research and the comments I received, I have drafted 4 ways to combat Drunk Driving. Finally, I included a one-way caveat about why this problem will remain…

Part 2: The Amorality of Drunk Driving

billie joe

I want to share with you what appears to me like one of the most ill-advised anti-Drunk Driving campaigns ever created. Ironically, I was walking across the Duke quad on my way to the social psychology building when I passed these ads that so blatantly disregard basic social psychology. The anti-Drunk Driving ads featured famous…