2020 Hindsight Awards

Second Annual Hindsight Awards: 

The Best in Behavioral Science 

Last year we announced the first annual Hindsight Awards, a retrospective review of favorites in behavioral science from the perspective of researchers at the Center for Advanced Hindsight. We are back this year with the 2020 Hindsight Awards. It was not the year that many of us had hoped for, in many ways. 2020 brought with it numerous challenges, and behavioral science is as relevant as ever when figuring out how to move forward in addressing them.

We reflected on a great deal of books, articles, podcasts and videos from the past year, and voted for our favorites to create this final list of “bests.”

Disclaimer: Even as researchers, we are biased humans. We suffer from in-group favoritism, and as a result you’ll find that we voted for ourselves in a few (but not all!) categories.

Best Podcast: It’s All A Bunch of BS

‘It’s All A Bunch of BS’ is hosted by Nick Hobson and describes itself as ‘the podcast for people whose work involves humans.’ The guests include professors, researchers, hostage negotiators, and more. The podcast focuses on human behavior, both with personal and business applications.

Best TED talk: How racial bias works – and how to disrupt it by Jennifer L. Eberhart

In this powerful talk, psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt explores how our biases unfairly target Black people at all levels of society — from schools and social media to policing and criminal justice — and discusses how creating points of friction can help us actively interrupt and address this troubling problem.

Best Book: The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova

A book about ‘the role chance plays in our lives,’ The Biggest Bluff dives into the world of poker and examines areas of crossover between the popular card game and the rest of life.  ‘The Biggest Bluff isn’t about how to play poker. It’s about how to play the world.’

Best Popular Press Article: Why Coming Up With Effective Interventions To Address COVID-19 Is So Hard by Neil Lewis in 538 blog

In this FiveThirtyEight piece Neil Lewis Jr. details some of the challenges standing in the way of creating effective interventions around COVID-19. Lewis makes the point that ‘extreme levels of inequality in the U.S. and around the world have created power imbalances that often result in uneven distribution of the risks and benefits of interventions’ and reminds us that it is important for scientists and policymakers to admit when they don’t know, or when they need more time.

2nd Place and 3rd place (tie): Eating Your Company’s Feelings by Allison White in People Science & 2020 in Review: Behavioral Science by Aline Holzwarth in Forbes

Best Academic Article: Fishbane, A., Ouss, A., & Shah, A. K. (2020). Behavioral nudges reduce failure to appear for court. Science, 370(6517)

Many arrest warrants are a result of defendants failing to appear in court for low-level offenses. Through redesigning criminal summons forms to highlight important information and providing text message reminders, the authors of this study were able to increase the likelihood that defendants would make their court dates.

Best Newsletter: Center for Advanced Hindsight

The Center for Advanced Hindsight’s monthly newsletter, In Hindsight, covers what our lab has been working on over the past month, updates about projects, popular press appearances, and general tidbits of behavioral science.  If you are interested in signing up, you can do so here!

And that’s it for the second annual Hindsight Awards! As they say, ‘hindsight is 2020,’ we wish everyone a better 2021, and we will see you next year!

Until next time,

The Center for Advanced Hindsight