Episodes
One of the most common mistakes we make with data involves choosing the wrong population to study.
Published 05/22/23
Published 05/08/23
How effective is diversity training, and what can be done to eliminate hiring bias?
Published 05/08/23
How can you strike the right balance between risk tolerance and risk aversion, and why do women and men so often view risk differently?
Published 04/24/23
How can feeling connected to someone who is essentially a stranger impact your decision-making?
Published 04/10/23
How can the fear of missing out on a trend have lasting consequences?
Published 03/27/23
When faced with a challenging goal, is it better to give yourself some slack?
Published 03/13/23
It seems like every other week there's a news report about how coffee will help you live longer or will shorten your life. There are similar reports about vitamins and water consumption and any number of other health-related studies. So why do we see so much conflicting information around scientific research in the media? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, a look at the slippery problem of separating correlation from causation.
Published 11/07/22
You've probably caught yourself indulging after a workout or a game or a stretch of healthy eating. Maybe it was a pint or two after a soccer game or an extra piece of cheesecake after a vigorous hike. These indulgences are easier to justify after a healthy activity. Ironically, though, these indulgences can undo some of your hard work. So why do we tend to behave this way? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, a look at how we justify our decisions based on previous behavior.
Published 10/24/22
If you’ve ever lost a job, or been through a breakup, or failed an exam, you’ll know that the aftermath can be painful and disorienting. But for some percentage of those who experience these disappointing outcomes, unforeseen opportunities will arise. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the occasional upside of being forced to quit a career, or a relationship, or even a favorite route to work.
Published 10/10/22
When we feel angry or excited, or happy or sad, the reasons for those emotions may seem obvious. Angry? It was that argument with a spouse. Excited? It was that promotion at work. Happy? Must've been that delicious meal. Sad? It was that tearjerker film, for sure. But it turns out that we often mistake the root causes of our feelings and other experiences. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a family of biases that affects the way we understand behaviors, events, and...
Published 09/26/22
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” A quintessentially American phrase from the Declaration of Independence. That “pursuit of happiness” takes many forms, but it turns out that some approaches are more likely to be successful, according to science. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a way to frame how you spend your time and money that may help you lead a happier life.
Published 09/12/22
Humans can easily distinguish between a zero-chance event (e.g., the Washington Nationals winning the World Series in 2022) and a sure thing (e.g., the sun coming up tomorrow). But in between those two clear outcomes, it turns out that we’re not great at estimating odds. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, a bias that affects the way we predict the likelihood of rare events.
Published 08/29/22
You hear it a lot in contemporary education, the tech world, and the arts: that it's important to fail, to make mistakes so that you can learn from them and get better at whatever you do. But that generally accepted wisdom is incomplete. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how failure can cloud your ability to learn and to improve.
Published 08/15/22
If you've ever been faced with an important decision when time was scarce, information was incomplete, or tempers were running high, you'll know that it's difficult to make a good choice. Now imagine a decision that has implications for the entire world, and the people facing that decision are 500 feet below the surface of the ocean in a nuclear-armed diesel submarine that is overheating and running out of power. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at decisions under...
Published 05/23/22
Many of the decisions we make require us to compare numbers. Which car is most fuel efficient? How is a stock performing relative to the market? How risky is one medication versus another? A problem arises when we fail to make these comparisons in the right units. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the mistakes we make when we overweight absolute numbers and neglect their relative value.
Published 05/09/22
Nudges are all around you. They might help you choose your meal at a restaurant, navigate a busy airport terminal, or start saving for the future. But nudges are often subtle, so you might not notice them until they’re pointed out. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we’re doing things a little differently. This episode is your guide to the many ways nudges have changed the world for the better.
Published 04/25/22
While it’s nice to think of ourselves as rational decision-makers, more often than not, emotion plays a role in how we decide. Some people may spend more on a new car when the weather is nice. Others may take bigger risks than normal after indulging in a sweet dessert. Some may make rash choices following a disappointing end to their favorite TV series. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how positive or negative sentiment from one part of your life can spill over...
Published 04/11/22
When we judge someone, rarely do we stop to consider how their particular situation likely played a large role in guiding their actions.
Published 03/28/22
Supply chain issues and income inequality notwithstanding, we live in an age of abundance. Our closets overflow with clothing. Many children have more toys than they could possibly enjoy. Garages are filled with sporting gear. Offices are cluttered with gadgets. And even our calendars are packed with meetings and tasks. It can all be a bit much. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a bias that leads us to add to our collections and to-do lists but neglect to remove...
Published 03/14/22
For many people, the start of a new year is an occasion to re-examine their lives, to set new goals and to give up old habits. Making New Year’s resolutions is something of a social ritual, but we see similar behaviors around other significant dates, as well--such as birthdays and anniversaries and the changing of seasons. And while it can be argued that all of these dates are arbitrary, studies show that they can still give you a head start in achieving your goals. In this episode of...
Published 01/01/22
Anticipating and planning for obstacles can sometimes be more powerful than adopting a positive mindset. A positive attitude is important when embarking on any new endeavor. However, as you may have heard in previous episodes of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, overoptimism also can blind you to important information. In this episode, we look at a strategy that can help counteract the effects of overoptimism and overconfidence. You could call it the power of negative thinking.
Published 10/25/21
Most of us would prefer to avoid an argument at work or at home. But there are times when arguments—at least when they’re civil—can help surface important information for decision-making. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at situations where certain types of conflict can actually lead to better outcomes.
Published 10/11/21
Perhaps this scenario seems familiar. Let’s say you generally do a good job of sticking to your monthly budget, but a rare opportunity arises—maybe a favorite musical artist is in town, or you’ve been invited to a friend’s 25th anniversary event—and you blow past your regular spending limit. It’s all right—you’ll just have to tighten your belt a bit next month. But then your phone stops working, and you have to buy a new model. And now your car needs an expensive repair. Again, these are not...
Published 09/27/21
When young children imagine their future lives, they’re often very optimistic. They’ll say things like “I’m going to be an astronaut!” or “When I grow up, I want to be a movie star!” These outcomes are, of course, quite rare. Most children will grow into slightly less exotic careers as adults. But even as adults, we tend toward personal optimism. We assume that we will outlive the average person, that we will remain in better health than the average person, and that our children will be above...
Published 09/13/21