Articles on Human behavior

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Governments can use nudges to influence our choices. Shutterstock

Speaking with: law professor Cass Sunstein, on why behavioural science is always nudging us

Law professor Cass Sunstein, on why behavioural science is always nudging us. The Conversation20.5 MB (download)
Governments and businesses are using "nudges" to influence our choices, but how? On this podcast episode, Cass Sunstein, a Harvard professor who wrote the book on nudges, unpacks behavioural science.
What happens when an entire society succumbs to childlike behavior and discourse? Elantseva Marina

The infantilization of Western culture

Our social institutions and politics suffer from a collective arrested development – and our relationship to technology has only exacerbated this trend.
We’ll say someone’s brainwashed only when we disagree with their beliefs or actions. lolloj/Shutterstock.com

The brainwashing myth

Forty years ago, Rebecca Moore's two sisters helped plan the Jonestown massacre. But she refuses to say they were brainwashed, arguing that it prevents us from truly understanding their behavior.
The universal sign for ‘Look over there!’ isn’t so common in some cultures. Helena Ohman/Shutterstock.com

The way humans point isn’t as universal as you might think

It was long thought that humans everywhere favor pointing with the index finger. But some fieldwork out of Papua New Guinea identified a group of people who prefer to scrunch their noses.
Big data makes it a bit easier to guess your next move. blackboard1965/shutterstock.com

Can math predict what you’ll do next?

Predicting human behavior is big business. But science may never be able to do so with perfect certainty.
A product’s calorie label is a common form of nudging behavior. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Do people like government ‘nudges’? Study says: Yes

Government initiatives to prod people to make better decisions got a lot of attention after Richard Thaler won a Nobel in economics for his working on nudging.
When school gets tough, do you think it’s worthwhile? Or time to give up? Pavlin Plamenov Petkov/Shutterstock.com

Do challenges make school seem impossible or worthwhile?

A high school science test, a Psych 101 course, long job applications: Sometimes it's hard to be motivated to succeed. As it turns out, how you respond to difficulty and ease can make all the difference.
Rumors abounded in the days after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Nick Lehr/The Conversation

Making sense of the Scalia conspiracy theory

How do rational people get sucked into believing conspiracies? According to research, we're more susceptible than you'd think.

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