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
Almost four weeks ago, I left Walmart and moved to Los Angeles.
I had been in San Francisco for almost ten years and was starting to feel a bit stuck.
As I wrote about 6 months ago, we’re prisoners to our environments. After a year or two, our contexts become our commanders—ensuring that we do the same things the same ways in the same places.Read More
We know from neuroimaging studies that sleep has a massive impact on a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex—which sits right above the eyes. It’s in charge of something called “executive function”, the conscious control of our actions and thoughts.
So sleep deprived individuals are going to have a diminished ability to inhibit unwanted thoughts and control their focus of attention.Read More
After the last article, I received a bunch of stories from readers. Some of you wrote me about your experiences “wiping the slate clean”, while others regaled me with tales of transformation after moving to a new city.
But I also received a couple of notes from people asking me whether there’s a less intense, more cost-effective way of shaking things up and building new habits.Read More
In 2010, I woke up one Saturday morning and decided to stop eating sugar. I would only eat beans, veggies, and meat from then on.
A year later, I was still reliably eating the same way.
I didn’t need to “baby step” anything, change my environment, or build any fancy cues into my context.Read More
A few months ago, I was asked to speak to a class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The topic? Habit formation.
The instructor wanted me to give the class some valuable applied behavioral science research they could use to be more successful in their careers, so I decided to give them the lowdown (the real dirt) on habits.Read More
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
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
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
I've been burnt out.
It might be due to all my traveling.
It might be due to my new workout routine.Read More
I want to answer the most common question I get:
"What should I read to get started in behavior design?"
I don't want to write out a big list of books and articles, though.Read More