Sure, you might be able to change your behavior for a period of time by putting yourself in an extreme environment (like the military), but once you remove yourself from that extreme context you’ll snap right back into your previously messy ways.Read More
If you hire someone who actually knows the literature inside and out, and has gone through it with a critical mind, they’ll be a huge help. However, based on my experience, only 2-5% of the behavioral scientists out there fall into this camp. Most are walking around with laughably bad beliefs and completely inaccurate models of how people operate and why they do what they do.Read More
Think of personality traits as behavioral thresholds. Someone who's very neurotic is going to have a lower threshold for worrying. They're going to see more things in the environment as threatening. Someone who's very extraverted is going to have a much lower threshold for talking to new people. They're going to see more opportunities for social engagement as they go through their day.Read More
When was the last time you looked at the sky?
I mean it. When was the last time you REALLY looked?
For me, it was this morning. My apartment sits on a lovely hill here in San Francisco, and so I spend about 15 minutes staring out at the Bay and its cloud-ridden neighbor each AM.
It's amazing what you can learn from this simple practice.Read More
Behavioral science is full of ideas that seem really useful but are actually quite useless.
A great example of this is the "operant conditioning loop". This is one of the first things that undergraduates are taught in psych 101. It's also the centerpiece of the blockbuster best-seller, "The Power of Habit".Read More
The other day, I was sitting on my couch and looking for cool new articles.
After a few minutes of scrolling, one caught my eye.
Its title?Read More
I'm a DJ.
So are you.
You see, our brains are just gigantic remixers.Read More
I'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret: no applied psychologist, behavioral scientist, or neuroscientist knows how to change all behavior all the time.
We're not magical wizards, bestowed with mind-reading abilities and surefire spells.Read More
I'm sitting at the airport, waiting to fly out of Las Vegas.
I've only been here for 17 hours but I feel like I've been here for 17 days.
It's a draining place to be.
The other day, I was talking with a friend of mine on the phone.
He wanted to know my thoughts on what I call the "doggie treat solution" to habit formation.
Here's how it works...Read More
A few of months ago, I was visiting a friend down in Los Angeles.
We were hanging out at his place, chatting and catching up.
His girlfriend was sitting a few feet away, in the kitchen, watching a YouTube video on her phone.
It was pretty loud, so I asked her what she was looking at.Read More
I've been experiencing a lot of FOMO this holiday season.
For those of you who aren't up to date on the lingo, FOMO means Fear Of Missing Out.
It's a powerful cocktail of cognitive biases.Read More
I love watching Black Friday videos.
You know the ones I'm talking about.
There are the brawling videos, in which two determined shoppers tackle each other, MMA style, in competition for a Nerf Gun or Xbox.Read More
You've probably experienced something like this before:
You're waiting in line at a restaurant and trying to figure out what to order. You have a rough idea of what you're going to get, but you're still on the fence.
After deliberating for a few minutes, you realize you're next in line.Read More
After the last article, I received the following note...Read More
Over the next four minutes, I'm going to lead you through the process I go through when I'm choosing a behavior for a behavior-change project.
I'll keep things high level since a full explanation would take thousands of words (and would be incredibly boring to most of you).Read More
I'm going to write out a word, and I want you to tell me what pops into your head when you read it.
OK... Ready?Read More
Growing up, I was jealous of my buddy Kevin.
He was fearless. You could throw him out of the car in any part of town, and he'd walk up to the first person he saw and start a conversation. Within minutes, he'd have a new friend, and within an hour or so he'd be able to problem-solve his way out of the situation.
I, on the other hand, was a sheepish, fearful guy.Read More