“ “FREAKONOMICS” was the book that made the public believe the dismal science has something interesting to say about how people act in the real world. But “Nudge” was the one that got policy wonks excited.”
Via Pat Brenner
A Course in Behavioral Economics 2e is an accessible and self-contained introduction to the field of behavioral economics. The author introduces students to the subject by comparing and contrasting its theories and models with those of mainstream economics. Full of examples, exercises and problems, this book emphasises the intuition behind the concepts and is suitable for students from a wide range of disciplines.
According to the World Economic Forum, the diffusion of unsubstantiated rumors on online social media is one of the main threats for our society. The disintermediated paradigm of content production and consumption on online social media might foster the formation of homogeneous communities (echo-chambers) around specific worldviews. Such a scenario has been shown to be a vivid environment for the diffusion of false claim. Not rarely, viral phenomena trigger naive (and funny) social responses—e.g., the recent case of Jade Helm 15 where a simple military exercise turned out to be perceived as the beginning of the civil war in the US. In this work, we address the emotional dynamics of collective debates around distinct kinds of information—i.e., science and conspiracy news—and inside and across their respective polarized communities. We find that for both kinds of content the longer the discussion the more the negativity of the sentiment. We show that comments on conspiracy posts tend to be more negative than on science posts. However, the more the engagement of users, the more they tend to negative commenting (both on science and conspiracy). Finally, zooming in at the interaction among polarized communities, we find a general negative pattern. As the number of comments increases—i.e., the discussion becomes longer—the sentiment of the post is more and more negative.
MELBOURNE – In 1809, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, set to work on The Book of Fallacies. His goal was to expose the fallacious arguments used to block reforms like the abolition of “rotten boroughs” – electorates with so few electors that a powerful lord or landowner could effectively select the member of parliament, while newer cities like Manchester remained unrepresented.
Bentham collected examples of fallacies, often from parliamentary debates. By 1811, he had sorted them into nearly 50 different types, with titles like “Attack us, you attack Government,” the “No precedent argument,” and the “Good in theory, bad in practice” fallacy. (One thing on which both Immanuel Kant and Bentham agree is that this last example is a fallacy: If something is bad in practice, there must be a flaw in the theory.)
Bentham was thus a pioneer of an area of science that has made considerable progress in recent years. He would have relished the work of psychologists showing that we have a confirmation bias (we favor and remember information that supports, rather than contradicts, our beliefs); that we systematically overestimate the accuracy of our beliefs (the overconfidence effect); and that we have a propensity to respond to the plight of a single identifiable individual rather than a large number of people about whom we have only statistical information.
Many thanks for sending me your article I enjoyed it very much. I am sure these matters need discussing in that sort of way. There is one point, to which in practice I attach a great importance, yo...
Via Aykut Kibritçioğlu
As behavioural economics has become more embedded in the world of research, so too have the questions that are asked of it. It no longer remains in the domain of behaviour change projects in the public sector and financial services, and there is certainly little of the discussion around its relevance to us as market research practitioners that was around even 18 months ago.
There’s lots of talk of BE as a methodology or spawning new methodologies - auto-ethnography, contextual research, System One ad testing, the blink test, and so on. But I’d propose that it’s about a holistic approach, a way of thinking that transcends every project and every aspect of a project regardless of sector or even of brief. BE has come of age, it needs to be thought of as a model of thinking rather than a series of methods and tools.
Daniel Kahneman said of BE, that ‘humans are to thinking as cats are to swimming’. In other words, we can do it if we really have to … but mostly we don’t. It is simply too effortful to do it all the time. And this is a generic issue, not one that is confined to certain types of brief.
One of the ways that we know when something has real power and relevance is to look at how it manifests in our everyday language. This is certainly the case in BE, and what’s more, being more conscious of our own language will help us spot biases at play in our own lives, giving us valuable clues as to how to take them into account in a research and marketing context.
So, let’s take a closer look at the types of language we tend to bump into on a daily basis, and what they really mean.
“It sounds like a joke — but a new study out of the University of York in the UK finds that directing magnetic energy into the brain can change a person’s beliefs in God, as well as reduce their prejudice against immigrants.Scientists from both the University of York and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) tinkered with participants’ brains using magnetic energy, hoping to see whether certain brain regions were linked to ideology — such as feelings about religion and nationalism.“People often turn to ideology when they are confronted by problems,” Dr. Keise Izuma, an author of the study, said in the press release. “We wanted to find out whether a brain region that is linked with solving concrete problems, like deciding how to move one’s body to overcome an obstacle, is also involved in solving abstract problems addressed by ideology.”The researchers divided the participants into two groups; the first received a placebo procedure that didn’t impact their brains, and the second one received energy targeting the posterior medial frontal cortex — a part of the brain that’s located a few inches above the forehead and is linked to detecting and responding to problems. The researchers asked all of the participants to think about death, then asked them about their religious beliefs as well as their thoughts on immigrants living in the U.S.The second group, which received magnetic energy to the posterior medial frontal cortex (temporarily disabling it), experienced a 32.8 percent decrease in their belief in God, angels, or heaven. They were also 28.5 percent more positive when it came to immigrants who criticized their country.”
Via Jocelyn Stoller
Abstract: Communication is often critical for economic cooperation and enhancement of trust. Traditionally, direct face-to-face communication has been found to be more effective than any form of indirect, mediated communication. We study whether this is still the case given that many people routinely use texting and online social media to conduct economic transactions. In out laboratory experiment, groups of participants communicate either (i) face-to-face, (ii) through the most popular online social network – Facebook, or (iii) using text messaging, before participating in a public goods or a trust game. While people talk significantly more under traditional face-to-face, discussion through Facebook and text messages prove as effective as face-to-face communication in enhancing cooperation and increasing trust. For all three media, discussions that focus on the game of use more positive emotion words are correlated with enhanced trust. It appears that young American adults are now just as adept at communicating and reducing social distance online as they are in person.
In Tuesday’s post, I argued that it was quite possible for political scientists to be both rigorous and relevant. But I closed by observing that economists generally don’t worry about the whole rigor vs. relevance debate. Their scholarly papers are impermeable black masses to lay readers, and yet policymakers and politicians defer to their expertise […]
Is porn bad for the brain? The Savvy Psychologist explains 3 studies that looked at how we process porn and other sexualized images, and reveals the potential effects on the brain—and on how we see our fellow men and women
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