This is a weekly online seminar series on behavioral research.
The schedule posted below is for Fall 2020. To access Summer 2020 seminars and links to recordings, please visit this link: .htm.
Most past seminars can be viewed on our YouTube Channel.
Pacific Time: 9AM-10AM
Eastern Time: 12PM-1PM
Barcelona Time: 6PM-7PM
There are no more seminars in 2020. We will continue with the seminar series in Spring 2021. We will post the schedule for Spring 2021 in January.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20TH
Etan Green (.htm) – University of Pennsylvania
Title: The Science of the Deal
Abstract: We train an algorithm to bargain optimally in "Best Offer" listings on eBay, as either a buyer or a seller. This talk focuses on the algorithmic seller, which rejects first offers at far higher rates than human sellers—especially when the first offer is generous. Whereas human sellers tend to accept generous first offers, the algorithmic seller rejects them because they signal a willingness to pay more. Human buyers, especially those who make generous first offers, often respond to rejection by paying full price. Human sellers ignore this relationship and leave money on the table.
Panel: Hamsa Bastani, Colin Camerer, Jake Hofman, Don Moore, Ziad Obermeyer, and Barry Plunkett
Link To Video: https://youtu.be/0vEipn6FcUk
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 13TH
Juliana Schroeder (.htm) – University of California, Berkeley
Title: Demeaning: Dehumanizing Others by Minimizing the Importance of Their Psychological Needs
Abstract: We document a tendency to demean others’ needs: believing that psychological needs—those requiring mental capacity, and hence more uniquely human (e.g., need for meaning and autonomy)—are relatively less important to others compared with physical needs—those shared with other biological agents, and hence more animalistic (e.g., need for food and sleep). Because valuing psychological needs requires a sophisticated humanlike mind, agents presumed to have relatively weaker mental capacities should also be presumed to value psychological needs less compared with biological needs. Supporting this, our studies found that people demeaned the needs of nonhuman animals (e.g., chimpanzees) and historically dehumanized groups (e.g., drug addicts) more than the needs of close friends or oneself (Studies 1 and 3). Because mental capacities are more readily recognized through introspection than by external observation, people also demean peers’ needs more than their own, inferring that one’s own behavior is guided more strongly by psychological needs than identical behavior in others (Study 4). Two additional experiments suggest that demeaning could be a systematic error (Studies 5 and 6), as charity donors and students underestimated the importance of homeless people’s psychological (vs. physical) needs compared with self-reports and choices from homeless people. Underestimating the importance of others’ psychological needs could impair the ability to help others. These experiments indicate that demeaning is a unique facet of dehumanization reflecting a reliable, consequential, and potentially mistaken understanding of others’ minds.
Panel: Nick Epley, Eli Finkel, Deb Gruenfeld, Ashley Martin, and Mary Steffel
Link To Video: https://youtu.be/RaIdKSewxk0
FRIDAY OCTOBER 23RD
Rebecca Schaumberg (.htm) – University of Pennsylvania
Title: Shame On You, Makes No Fool Out of Me: The Social Learning Effects of Shame
Abstract: Does shame serve a moral function? Past work has addressed this question by looking at the intra-individual effects of shame. In the face of weak evidence that shame effectively regulates behavior in line with normative standards, pessimistic conclusions have been drawn about shame’s moral function. Rather than focusing on how shame affects the person who experiences it, we take a social learning perspective on shame. By focusing on the consequences of a person’s shame for other people who witness it, our findings suggest a more affirmative answer to the opening question. In a series of experiments, we show that people infer stronger injunctive norms against a workplace behavior, and report greater behavioral intentions to avoid the behavior, when they see someone feel ashamed in response to the behavior compared to a neutral emotion or anger. We further find that a target’s expression of shame in response to a novel behavior motivates other people to avoid this behavior, even when this avoidance carries a personal financial cost. Finally, we find that expressing shame about a behavior can convey similar information about group norms as does being shamed by a third-party. Overall, these findings suggest that shame communicates information about a group’s values, thereby serving a critical role in socialization, norm acquisition, and behavior regulation.
Panel: Geoff Goodwin, Jessica Kennedy, Sam Skowronek, Eric VanEpps, and Jeremy Yip
Link To Video: https://youtu.be/OWwMTd0L4p4
FRIDAY OCTOBER 16TH
Alex Todorov (.htm) – University of Chicago
Title: Is The Structure of Social Judgments From Faces Universal? Some Methodological Reflections
Abstract: In 2008, we proposed a simple 2-dimensional model, according to which faces are evaluated on perceived valence and power (Oosterhof & Todorov, 2008). A recent large cross-cultural replication (N = 11,481; 11 world regions; Jones et al., 2020) tested whether this 2D model generalizes to world regions. When the original analysis – principal components analysis (PCA) – was implemented, the model generalized across world regions. However, when an alternative analysis – exploratory factor analysis (EFA) – was implemented, it appeared that the model didn’t generalize. One disconcerting implication of this discrepancy is that whether one observers cross-cultural universality or not is a function of arbitrary analytic choices. However, an inspection of the input data (the pairwise correlations of judgments) to both PCA and EFA shows striking consistency across cultures. How is it that the same highly convergent input data lead to divergent analytic solutions? I discuss differences between PCA and EFA and well-known indeterminacies in EFA solutions. A principled approach that minimizes the role of statistical noise is to decide a priori on testing a 2D model and to align the data using a Procrustes rotation. When these procedures are implemented, the 2D model generalizes across cultures irrespective of analytic choices. Bootstrapping simulations show that this generalization is extremely unlikely to be an artifact of the rotation procedure. I argue that when analytic choices are properly specified, different analyses should converge in terms of broad claims about differences, similarity, and universality.
Panel: Jon Freeman, DongWon Oh, Alice O'Toole, Clare Sutherland, and Mirella Walker
Link To Video: https://youtu.be/Vd0qQzN596g
FRIDAY OCTOBER 9TH
Maya Bar Hillel (.htm) – Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Title: The False Allure of Fast Lures
Abstract: The Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) allegedly measures the tendency to override the prepotent incorrect answers to some special problems, and to engage in further reflection. A growing literature suggests that the CRT is a powerful predictor of performance in a wide range of tasks. This research has mostly glossed over the fact that the CRT is composed of math problems. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether numerical CRT items do indeed call upon more than is required by standard math problems, and whether the latter predict performancein other tasks as well as the CRT. In Study 1 we selected from a bank of standard math problems items that, like CRT items, have a fast lure, as well as others which do not. A 1-factormodel was the best supported measurement model for the underlying abilities required by all three item types. Moreover, the quality of all these items – CRT and math problems alike – as predictors of performance on a set of choice and reasoning tasks did not depend on whether or not they had a fast lure, but rather only on their quality as math items. In other words, CRT items seem not to be a “special” category of math problems, although they are quite excellent ones. Study 2 replicated these results with a different population and a different set of math problems.
Panel: David Budescu, Jason Dana, Shane Frederick, Celia Gaertig, Daniel Kahneman, and Deborah Small
Link To Video: https://youtu.be/udA3MfUkLvk
FRIDAY OCTOBER 2ND
Jason Dana (.htm) – Yale University
Title: Efficiency Neglect Causes Economic Pessimism Among Americans
Abstract: We find large and persistent errors in cost-of-living perceptions. Subjects believe that a variety of grocery and consumer durable items require increasing amounts of labor to purchase, when in fact they require less. We identify "efficiency neglect" as a cause: People focus on scarcity and neglect their own beliefs about innovation when thinking about the trajectory of cost-of-living. We consider how these beliefs impact attitudes regarding immigration policy.
Panel: Cindy Cryder, Sam Johnson, George Newman, Sydney Scott, and Guy Voichek
Link To Video: https://youtu.be/oXzi_Ubn5j0
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25TH
Devin Pope (.htm) – University of Chicago
Title: Unveiling the Law of Demand Using a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment
Abstract: Perhaps the most fundamental tenet in economics is the Law of Demand. Previous theoretical work and laboratory experiments reveal that even markets populated by irrational (“behavioral”) consumers yield the Law of Demand at the market level. We approach the problem in a fundamentally different manner—rather than showing existence of the Law under varying behavioral assumptions, we embrace a well-known behavioral bias—left-digit bias—to measure its “behavioral contribution” to the Law of Demand. Combining a natural field experiment that included over 21 million Lyft passengers with observational data from over 600 million Lyft rides, we report four key insights. First, the Law of Demand consistently holds in the overall market data. Second, the “behavioral contribution” to the Law of Demand (effects of price changes from $12.00 to $11.99, for example) is responsible for roughly half of the downward slope of the demand curve, even though such changes are only 1/100th of the overall price variation. Third, relative behavioral contributions are similar when estimating cross-price elasticities between Lyft's main products. Fourth, fully accounting for left-digit bias in pricing can generate up to $40.5 million annually in additional profit for Lyft. Our overarching scientific message is that fundamental tenets in economics might have deeper behavioral underpinnings than most believe.
Panel: Christine Exley, Tatiana Homonoff, Kelly Shue, and Richard Thaler
Link To Video: https://youtu.be/9uUPd313vYk
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 18TH
Michael Norton (.htm) – Harvard University
Title: The Psychology of Ritual
Abstract: Rituals are ubiquitous in our personal lives – enacted before performances or during family holidays – and in our interactions with firms – from sports fans doing the “wave” to customers being served wine after an elaborate uncorking. Our research has documented the benefits of rituals in domains ranging from grief recovery to chocolate consumption to team performance to singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” And, we have identified the psychological underpinnings of rituals, demonstrating how they can lead to increased immersion in experiences, greater feelings of control, reduced anxiety, and increased liking for teammates.
Panel: Mickey Inzlicht, Alice Moon, Jane Risen, and Kathleen Vohs
Link To Video: https://youtu.be/lucMnR8tYog
LESS RECENT SEMINARS: (.htm)