With our iPhone apps we hope to take economics research to the next level. Never before have researchers had such a natural window into everyday human decision making–no questionnaires, no labs, just real world feedback. The aim of our apps is always to give people tools to make the right decisions. In turn, we can use the data from these apps to gain new insights into decision making and make even better applications and conduct better research in the future. So far we’ve created a “temptation manager” application that allows people to get opinions from their friends before they make bad decisions. Many more exciting apps are in the pipeline.
Conscience+ helps you reason through moral dilemmas by providing you with little “shoulder angels” that can help you argue either side of a decision. Simply flip the switch at the top of the app to move between good conscience and bad conscience. Whether you need the extra push to go through with a selfish deed or words of wisdom to resist a bad temptation, Conscience+ has you covered.
- turning away the dessert menu
- splurging on a new electronic gadget
- staying faithful to your romantic partner
- padding your expense report on your boss’s dime
- lying on your college application
- and much, much more!
Make Tough Decisions: Procrastinator
You might remember reading in Predictably Irrational that it turns out that when we are choosing between two or more very similar options, we tend NOT to take into account the consequences of not deciding.
For example, in the parable of the donkey, the unfortunate creature is placed in the middle of two identical stacks of hay. Unable to decide which stack to go for, the donkey starves and dies.
In another example, a friend of mine spent three months choosing between two different cameras, only to miss countless photo opportunities that he will never get back. And given how similar the two cameras were, he might have been better off simply flipping a coin.
To remedy this situation, I had the idea of creating Procrastinator for iPhone. This application allows you to set deadlines for your hard decisions so that when time is up, if you haven’t chosen an option, Procrastinator chooses for you. Thus, no more endless deciding back and forth, and no more lost time. Procrastinator is really easy to use, and you can have as many decisions as you would like running at the same time. You can find Procrastinator here.
Random Words of Kindness: At a boy!
A few months ago, I had the idea to create an iPhone app that would give me (us) compliments. It turns out that as humans, not only are we sensitive to rude remarks from strangers, but we are also very excited when we get kind words, even if they are just random; they just make us feel much better, even if these strangers don’t know us very well.
At a boy! is a completely free app, and you can find it here.
HOW TO USE: when you open the app you get a compliment and if you want a new one simply tap the screen. To get a new compliment, simply tap the screen. I do want to encourage you to use the thumbs up/down to let me know which compliments make you feel the best — this way we will be able to figure out what kinds of compliments work better and worse.
Most important, users of At a boy! can submit their own compliments for other users to read: just tap the pen icon and type one in.
Here, for example, is a compliment that a French-speaking user of our app submitted (if you can please submit compliments also in English):
Doesn’t that make you feel good to read? We’ve had a few dozen great compliments already submitted, and we could always use more!
Figure Out the Alternatives: Oranges to Apples
One of the most famous concepts in economics is the idea of opportunity cost. If you’re going to buy a new sweater for $60, what are the kinds of things you’re giving up for that sweater? Maybe 3 books? 2 Blu-ray movies? 60 Snickers bars? Oranges2Apples is a really simple way to figure out what else you can buy with a given amount of money.