Here are some of my favorite surprising studies. What do they have in common?
- People are more likely to buy jam when they’re presented with 6 flavors than 24.
- After inspecting a house, real estate agents thought it was $14,000 more valuable when the seller listed it at $149,900 than $119,900.
- When children play a fun game and then get rewarded for it, they lose interest in playing the game once the rewards are gone.
- People conserve more energy when they see their neighbors’ consumption rates.
- If you flip a coin six times, people think Heads-Heads-Heads-Tails-Tails-Tails is less likely than Heads-Tails-Tails-Heads-Heads-Tails, even though the two are equally likely.
- Managers underestimate the intrinsic motivation of their employees.They’ve all appeared in the media as studies done by behavioral economists, when in fact they were done by psychologists.This is a common mistake. As one Nobel Laureate in economics observes: “When it comes to policy making, applications of social or cognitive psychology are now routinely labeled behavioral economics.”It happens to me regularly: I’m an organizational psychologist, but I get introduced at least once a week as a behavioral economist. The first time this happened before a speech, I attempted to set the record straight, telling the executive that all of my degrees were in psychology. His response: “Your work sounds cooler if I call you a behavioral economist.”Why would that be? Let’s consider five possible explanations and the evidence for each:Hypothesis 1: behavioral economists are hotter than psychologists.Survey says: false. In a study of the physical attractiveness of professors in 36 different fields, psychologists were #10 and economists were #30....
HT: Mike Norman Economics