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  • feedwordpress 11:30:23 on 2018-06-09 Permalink
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    Ask Ariely: On Money Management, Temper Tantrums, and Retirement Rank 

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    I work as the managing director at a small nonprofit with 10 full-time staffers. I recently learned that one of the senior program directors, with a position junior to mine, makes nearly $15,000 a year more than I do. He consistently gets poor performance reviews and has done little fund-raising to keep our organization running. He’s also a white man (I am a woman of Middle Eastern descent) and about 30 years older than I. Should I say something to my boss about this? My salary is decent after all, and the job market is tough.

    —Sandy 

    In general, it’s not only our own salary but also how much our colleagues are paid that makes us happy or unhappy with what we’re earning. Having an unproductive subordinate earning more than you would annoy anyone—and the feeling will probably grow over time. With this in mind, you should ask your boss for an explanation. Maybe you’ll find that your colleague is getting paid more for a good reason, or that your organization will fix the inequity between the salaries—or that you are going to be happier elsewhere.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    My 5-year-old frequently throws temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. When we are in public (say, on the bus or train), I often give in to him to head off the screaming and my resulting embarrassment. After each incident, he promises to behave better, but his tantrums just seem to escalate. I think he’s being manipulative. What can I do?

    —Margie 

    You’ve got what sounds like a garden-variety tantrum problem. I think that your son is just being a child and trying to fulfill his goals. Since you are teaching him that when he screams, you give him what he wants, he will continue that strategy until it stops working. This kind of conditioning strongly influences children—and the rest of us to some extent. The solution is to not give in to the screaming, while also making clear that you’re far more likely to yield when your son communicates calmly. Changing the conditioning will take time and expose a lot of innocent bystanders to screaming, but in the long run it will be worth it.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dr. Ariely,

    My wife has retired, but I’m still working at age 71, and we live with some difficulty from paycheck to paycheck. I don’t touch the more than $1 million in my retirement fund. Technically, I’m a millionaire, but I don’t behave like one. Should I start thinking of myself as wealthy and act accordingly?

    —Norman 

    Yes, you should. Since I am hoping that you and your wife will live a long life, I am not advising you to go on a spending spree. At the same time, it might be useful for you to think of yourself as having a higher socioeconomic status. A study published in the journal Health Psychology in 2000 by Nancy E. Adler and colleagues showed that subjective socioeconomic status (i.e., where people ranked themselves relative to others) was more predictive of physical health and psychological well-being than actual socioeconomic rank. So while I don’t think that you should start spending like a millionaire, it may help to think of yourself as one.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:23 on 2018-06-09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Ask Ariely: On Money Management, Temper Tantrums, and Retirement Rank 

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    I work as the managing director at a small nonprofit with 10 full-time staffers. I recently learned that one of the senior program directors, with a position junior to mine, makes nearly $15,000 a year more than I do. He consistently gets poor performance reviews and has done little fund-raising to keep our organization running. He’s also a white man (I am a woman of Middle Eastern descent) and about 30 years older than I. Should I say something to my boss about this? My salary is decent after all, and the job market is tough.

    —Sandy 

    In general, it’s not only our own salary but also how much our colleagues are paid that makes us happy or unhappy with what we’re earning. Having an unproductive subordinate earning more than you would annoy anyone—and the feeling will probably grow over time. With this in mind, you should ask your boss for an explanation. Maybe you’ll find that your colleague is getting paid more for a good reason, or that your organization will fix the inequity between the salaries—or that you are going to be happier elsewhere.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    My 5-year-old frequently throws temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. When we are in public (say, on the bus or train), I often give in to him to head off the screaming and my resulting embarrassment. After each incident, he promises to behave better, but his tantrums just seem to escalate. I think he’s being manipulative. What can I do?

    —Margie 

    You’ve got what sounds like a garden-variety tantrum problem. I think that your son is just being a child and trying to fulfill his goals. Since you are teaching him that when he screams, you give him what he wants, he will continue that strategy until it stops working. This kind of conditioning strongly influences children—and the rest of us to some extent. The solution is to not give in to the screaming, while also making clear that you’re far more likely to yield when your son communicates calmly. Changing the conditioning will take time and expose a lot of innocent bystanders to screaming, but in the long run it will be worth it.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dr. Ariely,

    My wife has retired, but I’m still working at age 71, and we live with some difficulty from paycheck to paycheck. I don’t touch the more than $1 million in my retirement fund. Technically, I’m a millionaire, but I don’t behave like one. Should I start thinking of myself as wealthy and act accordingly?

    —Norman 

    Yes, you should. Since I am hoping that you and your wife will live a long life, I am not advising you to go on a spending spree. At the same time, it might be useful for you to think of yourself as having a higher socioeconomic status. A study published in the journal Health Psychology in 2000 by Nancy E. Adler and colleagues showed that subjective socioeconomic status (i.e., where people ranked themselves relative to others) was more predictive of physical health and psychological well-being than actual socioeconomic rank. So while I don’t think that you should start spending like a millionaire, it may help to think of yourself as one.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:08 on 2018-05-26 Permalink
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    Ask Ariely: On Casual Courtesy, Inconvenient Inheritance, and First-Hand Filing 

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi Dan.

    At a “fast casual” restaurant without table service, the payment screen offered me a “No Tip” option or tips of 15%, 18% and 20%. I felt these were too high, since I had stood in line and was carrying my own food. I gave the minimum 15%—still a lot more than I have ever tipped in a fast-food place. I felt manipulated by the screen and wonder if this system prods people to tip more.

    —Robert 

    Yes, such screens boost tips through a design principle called “active choice.” Many fast-food restaurants simply have an easily ignorable tip jar. But with the screen, neglecting to tip feels much worse, like a rejection of the staff. On the other hand, please remember that the people working at fast-food places work just as many hours as standard servers, for less money. Many may not be making a living wage. Helping them out a bit is a good thing to do.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    To my surprise, I learned that my recently deceased grandfather owned mineral rights to some land highly coveted by an oil company. The acreage seems to be perfect for extracting oil from shale rock, or fracking. I’m named in my grandfather’s will, and when I heard that some of his other heirs had been negotiating with the oil people for a sale, I was giddy imagining profits that could change my life as well as my family’s. But that didn’t last long. I consider myself an environmentalist and have voted against fracking in my home state. Should I protest the sale right now, wait and see the size of my potential gains or commit to putting all or part of my share into a conservation charity?

    —David 

    It’s harder to be an environmentalist when it means that you really have to give up something. In your case, it’s admirable that you are serious about giving up something that is potentially of great value.

    It makes sense to commit to a course of action before you have all the information, like how much money is at stake. Acting under what’s sometimes called “the veil of ignorance” is often a very good way to make such decisions. If your share of the proceeds really was enough to change your family’s life—say, $800,000—you would have a good reason to question your moral convictions. Here’s another strategy: Keep the money, estimate the dollar cost of the environmental damage from digging up the land, commit 110% of that amount to conservation efforts and try to persuade your relatives to do the same. Good luck.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    My wife and I often argue about infrequent but time-intensive and complex administrative tasks like filing taxes. She’s very sensitive about money and thinks that since we save some by doing these tasks ourselves, I should spend a day or two on them. I think my time is worth some money and would rather pay an expert to take things off my plate. How can I convince her?

    —Michael 

    In general it’s easy for us to discount someone else’s annoyance. So, for the next few of these irritating administrative tasks, why not ask your wife to do them herself (or at least do them together with you). After experiencing the pain of these tasks first-hand, she will most likely change her mind and see the rationale of paying a professional.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:09 on 2018-05-12 Permalink
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    Ask Ariely: On Patient Problems, Friday Fiascos, and Payment Puzzles 

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi Dan,

    I manage an outpatient department at a large hospital, and half the patients don’t show up for their appointments. This wastes everyone’s time and reduces the quality of care. We already send patients automated phone messages, reminding them of their appointments, telling them of the no-show problem and urging them to call us if they can’t come. Sadly, this hasn’t made much difference in the no-show rate. What else could we do?

    —Sincerely, Gad 

    To start with, I would reframe the phone messages. By telling patients that skipping appointments is common, you’re implying that it’s an accepted norm. Instead, I would emphasize the norm of personal responsibility. The phone message could remind patients that they have made a promise to show up, that this promise is important and that you expect them to be there.

    To strengthen the effect, I would send the message not from “the department” but from someone they care about—their doctor or the nurse they deal with. I would ask them not only to let this hospital staffer know if they plan to skip the appointment but also to send an email if they plan to keep it. This solidifies the promise—and the embarrassment if it’s broken.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dan,

    Why does everything always go wrong on Friday evening at 5 p.m., just before I am about to leave work for the weekend?

    —Matt

    Actually, things don’t always go wrong at that time—but that’s how we remember it. We don’t have equally strong memories of all mishaps and are more likely to remember Friday problems, since they can delay or even ruin our weekend. In fact, the same magnitude of event that we usually think of as a mishap might be classified on Friday as a full-fledged disaster.

    When phenomena come to mind more easily, we also think they’re more frequent (a finding in psychology known as the availability bias). Take the question, “Which is more common—words that start with r or have r in the third space?” The knee-jerk reaction is to pick the starting position, because it’s easier to come up with those words. Similarly, many people think flying is more dangerous than driving, though there are far more car fatalities, since plane crashes get huge news coverage and in their massive loss of life are very upsetting. So to get back to your original question: It’s not about Friday; it’s about your attention and memory.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hey Dan,

    I’m still in college with a part-time job, but my boyfriend works full time and earns a handsome salary. When we go out he expects us to split the bills equally. Do you think this is fair?

    —Aishwarya

    There are lots of versions of fair. My own version would be for each of you to pay in rough proportion to what you earn. But, before you propose this approach, be careful. Whatever version of “fair” you pick should be one you’re happy with—even if you start making much more money than your boyfriend.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:57 on 2018-04-28 Permalink
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    Ask Ariely: Template 

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    After performance reviews at work, many of my colleagues started boasting about how much they had excelled. Since I didn’t do as well, I couldn’t help feeling discouraged. I just didn’t feel motivated any more to improve. Is that a common response? Or do most people want to do better when they discover others are thriving?

    —Brad 

    Your feeling is perfectly normal. We instinctively compare ourselves to other people who are thinner, richer, more successful and so on. Once, during an online course, I had students anonymously grade the work of their peers, so that good and not-so-good students saw firsthand how others were measuring up. The not-so-good students who saw the better performance of their peers were 16% more likely to quit the course than if they had graded students at their own level.

    I would suggest that you work to control your exposure to personal comparisons, so that you don’t feel inferior and stay motivated. You may need to surround yourself with a new mix of people. That could mean spending more time with friends outside work. As for the office, find some colleagues who perform at your level or worse. Switching water-cooler talk away from workplace competition might help, too.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    I recently misplaced my wallet, which held about $80. For many days I couldn’t stop thinking about the loss. But as a stock-market investor, I often lose much more than that in a day. Why am I thinking so irrationally?

    —Best regards, Ramesh

    A few irrational things are probably going on. First, an $80 stock-market loss feels far less significant because it’s a small percentage of your total portfolio. When you lose $80 and your wallet, it feels overwhelming because, even though it’s temporary, you have no money.

    Cash affects us more deeply than more abstract forms of money. In a study by Drazen Prelec and Duncan Simester that was published in 2001 in the journal Marketing Letters, the researchers asked M.B.A. students to join an auction for basketball tickets. The researchers told some students they could pay with credit cards, others that they had to use cash. The students told to use credit cards were willing to pay about twice as much as the cash users.

    Cash feels much more tangible, while credit cards and stocks muffle the feeling of the loss.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    Thanks to affordable DNA testing, I have recently discovered new relatives and will be meeting my half-sisters for the first time in a few weeks. But I’m having trouble thinking of a gift to give them to mark this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. A bottle of wine just isn’t going to do it. What recommendations can you make? Thank you!

    —Dan 

    Why don’t you give them an album of family photos from your own childhood? In addition to being a very personal gift, it will help to start the conversation as you learn about each others’ lives.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here. (add link)

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:20 on 2018-04-14 Permalink
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    Ask Ariely: On Flexibility Fees, Climate Commitments, and Sensible Surprises 

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I know that you’ve often written about money as a motivator. This semester, I would like to join a yoga class that requires a substantial one-time registration fee. Will paying this amount in advance motivate me to attend regularly to make up for the money I’ve spent?

    —Jeff 

    Yes, we’re much more likely to do things when we commit to them in advance and have sunk costs. One challenge with this approach is that, over time, you might forget that you have paid that large initial fee. I would recommend that you print the receipt from your one-time registration fee, laminate it and attach it to the door of your refrigerator. This would not only be a constant reminder to attend your yoga class but also might be useful encouragement to eat more healthily.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I am very concerned about climate change, and I try to minimize my own consumption. I don’t drive much, avoid products packaged in plastic, grow as much of my own food as I can and use video chats with my relatives instead of flying to visit them. At the same time, I know that my individual choices and sacrifices are not having much of an impact on this gigantic problem, so I find it hard sometimes to keep to these restrictions. How can I increase my motivation and stick to my principles?

    —SF 

    Climate change is certainly one of the toughest behavioral issues, for exactly the reason you cite: Our individual actions feel like a drop in the bucket, and this discourages us from acting.

    One of the best ways to boost your motivation is to use the people around you. You could, for example, rally some friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members to join you in your effort to limit consumption. You might start by asking them to commit to one action, such as putting a five-minute cap on showers, and then all of you could track your success together. By acting together, you will feel that your impact is larger.

    One example of such motivation comes from a study recently conducted for the grass-roots political group Postcards4VA by the social psychologist Brett Major, described in the journal Behavioral Scientist. The study looked at what motivates people to volunteer more for political action. As you might expect, those who had joined political groups were more likely than the unaffiliated to act politically. Group participants were also more likely to have a positive experience and to intend taking future action; they were also less likely to get burned out. So before you give up on your cause, call a few friends.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I live abroad. My girlfriend has never been to my hometown, and my parents are always asking me to bring her when I go to visit them. In October I plan to do that, though my family doesn’t know. What would make them happier: to surprise them when she shows up with me or to tell them in advance and let them enjoy the anticipation?

    —Miquel 

    Surprise and anticipation can each lead to happiness. In your case, surprising your parents might make the first hour of your visit more exciting for them—but after that, it might take a few weeks for them to get over the shock. In this case, I would advise you to give them plenty of time to look forward to your joint visit.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:00:46 on 2018-04-02 Permalink
    Tags: Behavioral Economics & Psychology,   

    Behavioral Economists Needed for Postdoc 

    Announcing: Postdoctoral positions in Consumer Behavior and Behavioral Economics at the Department of Management 966650

    The Department of Management at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, invites applications for 2-year postdoctoral positions offering applicants an exciting opportunity to join a new research project focused on decision making, consumer behavior, behavioral economics, and social influence.

    The starting date is September 1st, 2018 or subject to mutual agreement.

    The research project

    The post will suit candidates with relevant experience in experimental design and an interest in conducting experiments that have direct application to policy. The project contributes to the fields of marketing, behavioral economics, and psychology and will employ both theoretical and empirical tools. The project is expected to generate high-quality research and top-tier publications with societal and scientific implications.

    Job description

    Candidates are expected to contribute to the overall objectives of the project by being involved in experimental designs, data collection, data analyses, development of theoretical models, and writing of academic articles. They may also contribute by writing grant proposals.

    The project will be under the supervision of Tobias Otterbring (Aarhus University & Karlstad University), Panos Mitkidis (Aarhus University & Duke University), and Dan Ariely (Duke University & Aarhus University).

    The position is research-oriented but may involve teaching and/or supervision assignments.

    Qualifications 
    Candidates must hold a PhD relevant to the academic areas of the Department of Management, preferably within one or more of the following areas: Social or Consumer Psychology, Marketing, Behavioral Economics, or another relevant field.
    Other requirements include:
    •    Publication experience in high-ranking journals in psychology and/or marketing
    •    Experience with designing, analyzing, and reporting experimental or survey research
    •    Experience with field studies, consumer panel surveys, lab experiments, and the combination of these (multi-methods studies)
    •    Knowledge and expertise in one or many of the following areas: marketing, consumer behavior, social psychology, behavioral economics, and judgment and decision making
    •    Excellent research skills, including advanced statistical and methodological knowledge (e.g.,  experience with eye tracking, programming of experiments, statistical methods such as individual models of preferences or models of decision-making processes, and programming skills in R or Python)
    •    Experience in course teaching
    •    Excellent command of written and spoken English, with a certified proficiency in English
    •    Excellent knowledge of office and statistical software
    •    Motivation to work independently as well as cooperatively in an international team

    Who we are
    The Department of Management is one of the six departments at Aarhus BSS, one of the four faculties at Aarhus University. Aarhus BSS unites the research fields of business and social sciences bringing them closer together to reflect  the  close  relationship  between  society  and  the  business  community.  As part of a Top 100 university, Aarhus BSS has achieved the distinguished AASCB, AMBA and EQUIS accreditations.

    The department’s research and teaching environment is highly international and culturally diverse with a mix of  Danish and international academic staff members and PhD students. We employ more than 160 academic staff including researchers, PhD students, research associates and cover a broad range of disciplines within     management, e.g. marketing, corporate communication, international business, organization, HR, strategy, management accounting, innovation management, entrepreneurship, project management, and information systems. We aim to conduct high-quality research, and we give high priority to publishing our research in leading academic journals and presenting it at recognised conferences. In addition, we have a dynamic exchange of international researchers, who stay at the department for short or long periods of time.

    For more information about the Department of Management, please visit: http://mgmt.au.dk/.

    International applicant?
    Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark.

    Further information
    For further information about the position and the department, please contact Head of Department Jacob Kjær Eskildsen, Tel.: +45 3160 8100, Email: eskildsen@mgmt.au.dk

    If you need help uploading your application or have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR supporter Frederik Sørensen, Tel.: +45 87153445 , Email: fso@au.dk.

    Place of work
    Aarhus BSS
    Department of Management
    Fuglesangs Allé 4
    DK-8210 Aarhus V
    Denmark

    Terms of employment
    The appointment is in accordance with the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities as well as the circular on the Collective Agreement for Academics Employed by the State.

    The job content and qualification requirements are described in further detail in Circular on Terms of Employment for Academic Staff at Universities.

    Application procedure
    It is obligatory to attach the following when you apply for this position:

    • Application
    • Curriculum Vitae. You are encouraged to declare any periods of leave without research activity, including, for example, maternity leave, since your research activities are assessed in relation to your actual research time
    • Education (diploma for master’s, PhD and possibly higher doctoral degree)
    • List of publications (the enclosed publications must be clearly marked on the list of publications)
    • Publications. Up to three publications can be included in the application. In the event of several authors the publications must be accompanied by a co-author statement concerning the applicant’s share of the collaborative work with the consent of the co-authors. This form can be used for the purpose
    • Teaching portfolio. The specific requirements regarding the documentation can be found here

    Materials which cannot be uploaded together with the application may be submitted in three copies to Aarhus BSS HR & PhD, Aarhus University, Tåsingegade 1, 2nd floor, DK-8000 Aarhus C.

    Read more about how to apply for an academic post at Aarhus BSS here.

    The evaluation process
    After the application deadline, an assessment committee is appointed. Please note that the assessment of applicants is based solely on the material received prior to the application deadline. For further information, see Guidelines for Assessment Committee, Aarhus BSS.

    All interested candidates are encouraged to apply regardless of personal background.

    Deadline
    All applications must be made online and received by:

    14.05.2018
    Apply online here

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:11 on 2018-03-31 Permalink
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    Ask Ariely: On Paying Your Taxes, Treating Your Friends, and Suiting Yourself 

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Hi, Dan.

    With the recent changes in the tax code, Americans have been debating what rate high earners should pay. Here’s a thought experiment: How about offering those in the highest bracket a choice of rates—say, 37%, 40%, 45% even 50%. They could choose to pay whatever rate they wanted—but they would have to make their choice public. So politicians, celebrities and CEOs who talk about the need for fair taxes would have to walk the talk—and pay up. This altruistic option might even make them feel good.

    —Pete 

    I like this creative approach. I would suggest adding some social-media coordination to the plan by obliging people to say, well before taxes are due, how much they plan to pay. I suspect that many of the superrich wouldn’t mind paying more taxes as long as their superrich friends paid the same amount (or more). After all, if everyone were to pay more, relative wealth would remain the same.

    And if a few altruistic billionaires chose high rates, as they probably would, their peers might feel social pressure to follow suit. The more news coverage, the more likely this outcome. Though Congress is unlikely to try out this approach anytime soon, communities could experiment by trying some version of it with property taxes.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    From time to time I treat a friend or my significant other to dinner, thanks to your advice that the psychological pain of spending $80 is less than the pain of each of us spending $40. My question is: When should I tell my friend it’s my treat? When I invite them? When the bill comes? What would maximize my guest’s enjoyment?

    —Colin 

    You are absolutely right about the pain of paying. If your goal is to maximize your dinner partner’s enjoyment, I would let them know it’s your treat as soon as you make the invitation. That way, your guest won’t even experience the anticipated pain of paying for anything. It’s true that your guest, knowing dinner is on you, might order another dessert or glass of wine, but that’s a small price to pay.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I recently started working at a company that requires employees to wear suits, and I find them uncomfortable. Can you help me understand the logic for wearing them?

    —Joseph 

    In my mind, suits represent everything wrong with modern society. They’re basically an expensive school uniform. The lack of choice does make suit purchases easier, and since people wearing suits look more or less the same, the clothing works as a kind of leveler in looks, ensuring that no one looks more interesting or exciting.

    But suits kill sartorial creativity and individuality, and as you say, they’re uncomfortable. They are a prime example of our tendency to pick the unpleasant, uncreative option as long as it’s easy and makes us all look identical. My advice to you: Rebel, and if you succeed, most of your co-workers will thank you.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:30:35 on 2018-03-17 Permalink
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    Ask Ariely: On Missing Motivation, Distressing DNA, and Picturing Progress 

    Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I’m raising two teenagers and have discovered just how hard it is to teach them to be polite, to clean up after themselves and to leave the house on time. Would it make sense for me to pay them for better behavior?

    —Billy 

    Simple rewards may seem like a good idea, but they often have unintended consequences. Consider the case of Kelly the dolphin, who lived in a marine institute in Mississippi. To teach her to keep her pool clean, her trainers started trading her fish for any litter she collected.

    Kelly soon learned that litter of any size would win her a treat. So when a visitor dropped paper into the pool, she would hide it under a rock and tear off one piece at a time to get more fish. Her response was logical but not exactly desirable.

    Something similar can happen with children. In studies conducted in the 1980s, psychologist Barry Schwartz had a teacher pay children for every book they finished. The children started choosing shorter books with large print in order to get more rewards—and they reported liking reading less. I think it’s best to teach your children how to act, not how to maximize their pay.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    I recently bought a DNA test to learn about my ancestors’ roots. The test had an option to let me find out if I carry DNA mutations that increase the chances of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. I chose to include those tests, but now I can’t help feeling anxious about getting the results. What would you have done?

    —Natalia 

    Genetic information is becoming more and more available, for good and ill. Though medications exist for the diseases you mention, scientists think that Parkinson’s and most Alzheimer’s cases are not preventable, so if I were you, I would stick my head in the virtual sand and not find out about the DNA mutations. A bad result would cause you needless stress and might weaken your immune system.

    We all stand a chance of getting these diseases, and the best way to deal with that prospect is to take better care of our bodies and minds in preparation for old age. We also should be kinder to our significant others and children, because they’re likely to be our eventual caretakers.

    ___________________________________________________

    Dear Dan,

    The state of the world is depressing me. It feels that whatever good I do is a small drop in the bucket compared with a daily flood of illogical, ignorant and evil actions. How can I keep going and find hope?

    —Stacy 

    Over the past few years I’ve spent time with people who had suffered very complex injuries and were trying to regain their drive and sense of purpose. One thing they did was to set achievable goals and measure their progress toward them—the classic idea of “light at the end of the tunnel.” If you can focus on positive changes that you can make in the near term, it should help your motivation—and make you happier. Good luck.

    See the original article in the Wall Street Journal.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:25:56 on 2018-03-07 Permalink
    Tags:   

    Medicine is Personal 

    Today, my team and I are launching an exciting new project. The Medical Professionalism Project is a 12-episode online course for healthcare providers that explores the complex expectations, challenges, and responsibilities of being a healthcare professional. In it, we bring together experts in behavioral science and medicine to address some of the most pressing issues in field today, including conflicts of interest, burnout, shared decision-making, and social norms.

    This topic is very important to me. As you may know, as a teenager I was badly burned in accident. I spent three years in the hospital recovering, and returned regularly for several years after for continued treatments and check-ups. In that time, I came to know and deeply respect the medical team that provided my care. They were a group of incredibly smart, driven, and compassionate people.

    But in my recovery, I also observed something else – healthcare providers are not perfect. That is to say, they are human. They have biases, maintain misconceptions, and make mistakes.

    A few years after I was released from the hospital, one of my favorite surgeons approached me about an exciting new treatment. With enthusiasm, he explained that he had an innovative fix to the fact that my facial hair grew unevenly. His solution? He was going to tattoo the burned side of my face to mimic a stubble.

    Despite his eagerness, the procedure did not interest me. When I turned him down, the surgeon began to berate me – What was my problem? Did I like looking this way? Did I enjoy the attention I got because of my burns?

    I was shocked. This doctor had never spoken to me this way, and I couldn’t understand why he was so worked up about a procedure that was not essential to my health. Dismayed, I went to his deputy and asked what was going on. The deputy said, “Oh, we’ve tried it on two people, but we need at least three for an academic paper.”

    This doctor was not a bad guy – he was dedicated and empathetic physician to whom I owe a lot. I think incredibly highly of him to this day. But he was not immune to other forces, and here he had a conflict of interest that allowed him to prioritize his desire to publish over respecting my wishes. 

    Research shows that we are all susceptible to these slips, and a crucial way to combat them is to be reminded our moral integrity. Medicine is profession of great integrity and sacrifice, but in today’s pressured practice environment, there is not a lot of space for reflection and reminders. That’s where we come in. Our hope through this course is to inspire an ongoing dialogue about the role of ethics and professionalism in medicine – and the challenges to maintaining it – in order to create more honesty and accountability, to better support the providers who have dedicated their careers to helping us.

    Learn More Here

     
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