Bogeys, Birdies and the Eurozone

Analyzing more than 1.6 million putts, including Tiger Woods, 2 University of Pennsylvania economists concluded that professional golfers putt better when avoiding a bogey (a stroke over par) than when trying for a birdie (a stroke under par). The reason?…

Now or Later?

Reading about why people have a tough time delaying gratification, I started to think about countries. First people… A part of your brain–the insula–becomes more active when faced with an unpleasant task like dieting or seeing your team lose. Two…

Our Shopping Habits

Our story starts during the 1990s. When Procter & Gamble (P&G) first advertised Febreze as a room deodorizer, they thought it would be an instant success. However, the households that most needed it did not respond and sales were tepid.…

Encouraging Innovation

“Steve had this firm belief that the right kind of building can do great things for a culture.” The Steve is Steve Jobs and the building is Pixar’s headquarters. (The quote came from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs) The usual Hollywood…

An Environmental Law

Asked if they want lower gasoline taxes that make more driving affordable, people typically say, “Yes.” Told that the only electricity for a village in India is from coal-fired plants, most people will say it’s okay. When making decisions about…

Irrational and Rational Expectations

Sometimes, expectations can determine outcomes. In articles on the placebo effect, Wired and the New Yorker tell us that people tend to believe that green pills are best at diminishing anxiety, brand names are better, and medication taken 4 times…

Are You A Good Investor?

Good investing takes us to our emotions. But not quite how you might expect. Our brains don’t like random events. Instead, we prefer patterns, especially pleasing patterns. For basketball, that means streaks. According to one statistical study of the 76ers…

Walking Matters

A podcast on cities from WNYC’s Radiolab cited walking speed as a part of a city’s personality. To walk 60 feet, people averaged 10.55 seconds in Singapore,  12.37 seconds in Paris, 21 seconds in Buchanan, Liberia, and 31.60 seconds in…

The Marshmallow Test and Financial Reform

Is it possible that the marshmallow test relates to financial reform? As described in a 2009 New Yorker article by Jonah Lehrer and a WNYC Radio Lab podcast, a marshmallow test given to 4 year olds might predict adult behavior.…