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Tough Conversations: How to Use Behavioral Science To Talk With Family & Friends About Sensitive Topics

The holidays are here again, and so are tough conversations with loved ones. How to handle them? Whether the subject is climate change, reproductive rights,…

Explaining Behavioral Science: How to Pitch Behavioral Science at a Dinner Party in 1 Minute or Less

Explaining behavioral science is hard, especially when your mouth is full. A common dinner party question like ‘What do you do for work?’ quickly leads…

3B Framework: The Irrational Labs Approach to Behavior Change

Meet the Irrational Labs 3B Framework The list of behavioral economics principles for behavior change is long. Loss aversion, social proof— there are so…

Attribution Error & Affective Forecasting: The 2 ‘A’ Words Every Researcher, Designer, & PM Should Know

In 1931, Norman Maier asked participants in his University of Michigan lab to solve a puzzle that stumped most people. When they were out of…

Open-Plan Offices are Bad for Us. Here’s How Behavioral Design Can Make Them Better

Mention open plan offices at the water cooler and you're sure to spark debate. Opinions on them have always been divided. But a new trend—the…

Cognitive Bias in Healthcare: 3 Causes of Physician Irrationality (& How to Overcome Them)

Imagine that you went to three different doctors for chronic ankle injuries. The first one recommends surgery on your right foot. The second proposes custom…

Careers in Behavioral Science: 3 Barriers (& Why You Should Break Them Down)

Careers in behavioral science can be hard to visualize. After all, how do you envision a future in a field that's so small, you have…

Fintech Product Design: 4 Behavioral Science Principles Every Fintech Should Know

Over 90% of people think a budget will help reduce their spending. Sadly, they are wrong. In theory, budgeting makes sense. If people know how…

Behavioral Game Design: 7 Lessons from Behavioral Science to Help Change User Behavior

As behavioral scientists, we are always interested in identifying new ways to help people change their behavior to achieve their goals. But we’re not the…

Knowledge Cuts Both Ways: When Progress Bars Backfire

Visualizing progress can be a powerful motivator to action. The goal of including progress bars, checklist, or completion meter in a flow is to keep…

A Behavioral Scientist’s Gift Guide: 6 Ways to Boost Relationships Using the Psychology of Gift-Giving

People say money can’t buy happiness – but when you spend it on the ones you love, it might. Researchers Elizabeth Dunn, Lara Aknin, and…

How to Become a Behavioral Scientist

Want to become a behavioral scientist? We know we’re biased — but we think it’s a great career choice. Behavioral science focuses on why…

Behavioral Design Lessons: How to Build an App Based On Your Husband (Without Destroying Your Marriage)

I needed to shrink my husband, Paul—to make a miniature version that would capture his engaging personality, in app form, using behavioral design. Paul had…

3 Product Design Experiments You Can Replicate From Credit Karma (Plus a Bonus Round)

Behavior change is hard. And when it comes to our finances? It’s even harder. After all, the mental models around which we spend…

The 10 Most Influential Behavioral Economics Books

Economics believes that individuals make rational choices in a marketplace. Behavioral economics (BE) recognizes that that's unlikely. Whether you’re a designer, marketer, product manager, or…

Men Are Lying When They Say They Don’t Want Women to Wear Makeup. The Data Tells Us Why.

by Evelyn Gosnell | June 7, 2022 | attraction, Behavioral Economics, Experiments, Online Dating When men say they prefer women without makeup, do they really…

6 Behavioral Science Resources Every Product Manager and Product Designer Should Know About

Behavior change is a tough nut to crack. Fortunately, leading companies continue to try – with promising results. Their experimentation and testing has, in countless…

Want to Drive Behavior Change in Your Product? Try This Under-Used Tactic.

'We are what we measure.' You may have heard this phrase, or may even believe it, but chances are that you don’t know how it…

Human-Centered Design: How it Fails (And What to Design For Instead)

Blank Post-Its. Smart people. Two days. All of us zeroed in on a single question: How might we help low-income mothers improve their financial health?…

Designing for Habits? Why You Should Design for One-Time Behaviors Instead (& How to Do It)

If you’re at a tech company building a consumer product, you are likely measuring user engagement. Product managers, marketers, and designers are known to…

Why Are More Football Teams Going For It on Fourth Down? Behavioral Economics Has the Answer

It was five minutes into Super Bowl 56 when Cincinnati Bengals’ head coach Zac Taylor made the call to go for it on 4th and…

A Pregnant Behavioral Scientist

I’m pregnant. And I’m a behavioral scientist. Throughout pregnancy, there has been a lot to study — about my own behavior, my partner’s behavior, and…

3 Ways Class Pass Uses Behavioral Science to Get Us to Work Out More

Note: This post was originally published on April 8th. We’ve since updated it with an addendum on one way Class Pass is using behavioral science…

Small Talk: Do These 36 Questions Really Work?

We spend large portions of our waking hours communicating with others. While the possibilities for conversation are seemingly endless, how often do we actually…

New Research with One Medical Drives 20% Increase in Doctor Appointments

One Medical and Irrational Labs Work to Advance the Member’s Health Journey Meeting with a provider on a regular basis is associated with increased…

7 Research-Backed Ways to Increase Employee Happiness Through ‘Irrational’ Bonuses

70% of U.S. employees are disengaged at work. When we think about how to fix this, most companies turn to financial incentives. Pay-for-performance year-end bonuses…

Loss Aversion: How One Guy Used A (Brilliant) Incentive on his Girlfriend

My lovely friend Kristen Berman hates wearing her contact lenses. In fact, she has wanted to get LASIK for some time. However, like the rest…

5 Ways Peloton Keeps Users Moving (Even When They Don’t Want To)

Starting a new workout or fitness routine is challenging, yet many are motivated to try, especially this time of year. It takes weeks to…

Staff Picks: These Are the Apps That Behavioral Scientists Use in Their Own Lives

The behavioral scientists at Irrational Labs think about behavior change every day. We research it. We design it. We test it. We do this nine…

Does Budgeting Help You Save Money?

This project is a part of Duke’s Common Cents Lab. The Common Cents Lab is funded by the MetLife Foundation and supported by Blackrock…

When Deadlines are Guidelines, Everyone Wins: Papers We’re Reading, Week 17

“Deadlines just aren't real to me until I'm staring one in the face.” ― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief We all know what it feels…

Creditworthy: Papers We’re Reading, Week 16

How do you know if someone’s creditworthy? An estimated 45 million Americans, most often African-American, Hispanic, and low-income, have either no credit history, or a…

Move Over, Product Manager: Introducing the Behavioral Product Manager

A traditional product manager generally has a keen instinct for human behavior. However, a behavioral product manager has learned how to incorporate the science…

How Behavioral Science Can Boost Your Conversion Rates

People don’t always act rationally. We say one thing and do another. We even act against our best interests. The field of behavioral science studies…

How to Price a Product Using Behavioral Economics

Your customers (and you) are constantly looking around for cues on what to do and how to behave. Go to Palm Springs, a desert in…

Dealing with Debt: Papers We’re Reading, Week 15

Dealing with Debt: Implications of Minimum Payments on Credit Card Interest Paid Revolving credit card debt declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has just begun…

16 Critical Cognitive Biases (Plus Key Academic Research)

Wikipedia lists over 200 common cognitive biases (aka psychologies). In our behavioral science training courses, we explain how leveraging cognitive biases can help you solve…

The Science Behind Chore Wheels: Do They Work and Why?

Guest Post from Shea Fallick and Anoosha Kumar at PadSplit When you live by yourself, there’s only one person to do the chores. You are…

How the Duolingo App Approaches Language Learning

The Science Behind the Science of Change: How the Duolingo App Approaches Language Learning On this episode of The Science of Change, host Kristen Berman…

The Exercise Research Behind Peloton’s Success

The Science Behind the Science of Change The Science of Change is a new podcast hosted by behavioral scientist and co-founder of Irrational Labs, Kristen…

Timeliness, Norms, and Mental Models, Oh My: Papers We’re Reading, Week 14

According to a 2019 survey, about a third of American adults ages 25-73 (32%) didn’t plan to get a flu shot. This does not mean…

Green Energy: Papers We’re Reading, Week 13

Gas? Hybrid? Electric? I'm in the market for a new car, so I've been thinking a lot about greener energy. Efforts to promote sustainable behavior…

Misinformation: Papers We’re Reading, Week 12

If you've ever used social media, you've probably encountered misinformation. It's a widespread problem with serious consequences. Recent research has suggested that prompting social media…

Psychology of Competition: Papers We’re Reading, Week 11

Would you be happier with 2nd or 3rd place? When does a competitor become a rival? And how do the supportive feelings you had for…

Habits in Physical Activity: Papers We’re Reading, Week 10

Working out is one of the best steps we could take for our mind and body. Regular exercise can dramatically improve heart health, help retain…

Operational Transparency: Papers We’re Reading, Week 9

This week is all about transparency: how to build it, how it affects consumer behavior, and its potential benefits (and downsides). Notably, the papers use…

Social Judgment: Papers We’re Reading, Week 8

Have you ever met someone you liked and you enjoyed speaking with, but felt you didn’t quite come across the way you wanted to in…

ING and Irrational Labs Form Partnership

Irrational Labs today announced it will partner with ING to bring behavioral insights to the forefront of design. ING is looking to nurture the innovators…

NeuGen and Irrational Labs Form Strategic Partnership

Irrational Labs today announced it will partner with NeuGen to increase accessibility of telemedicine services using behavioral science. Telemedicine has surged amidst the COVID-19 pandemic…

Most People Are Feeling Lonely These Days. Our Behavioral Science Experiment Found an Unexpected Way of Boosting Connection

Feeling lonely lately? You’re not the only one. COVID-19 has provoked unprecedented feelings of isolation and loneliness. It has cut us off from loved…

Research Shows the Pandemic Has Americans Eating Way More Cereal. Here’s Why That’s a Problem.

There’s more sugar in a bowl of Raisin Bran than a Snicker’s bar. It’s time to change our breakfast habits No one would give a…

Micro-Actions, Mistakes, and Misinformation: Papers We’re Reading: Week 7

Helping Others Forget Bad Experiences Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. Despite making every effort to keep our word and fulfill our obligations, every…

Social Coordination is the Pandemic’s Silent Hero

In 2018, business-travel spending exceeded $1.4 trillion—and the pandemic erased almost all of it. Switching to video meetings saved Amazon alone $1 billion in 2020.…

Linguistic Cues and Social Scripts: Papers We’re Reading, Week 6

Imagine that just as you were about to use the copy machine, someone asked if they could go ahead of you, saying, “I just have…

5 Recent Behavioral Economics Books You Need to Read

Looking for your latest fix of brilliant behavioral economics content? If you’ve already worked your way through the 10 Most Influential Behavioral Economics Books,…

Explicit and Implicit Biases: Papers We’re Reading, Week 5

Does prompting people to recognize their own implicit gender bias decrease sexism? Researchers explored this question by inducing an "aha" moment amongst study participants and…

Time: Papers We’re Reading, Week 3

When you open your rideshare app and the wait time is long, do you give up? What price do people place on time savings? In…

5 Behavioral Science Hacks to Convince the Unwilling to Get Vaccinated

By Kristen Berman, Deena Rosen, Evelyn Gosnell, & Richard Mathera With more than one-third of Americans saying they’re unlikely to take the COVID-19…

MANC: A Recipe for Actually Achieving Your Goals and Sticking with Your New Year’s Resolutions

We're turning the corner on 2020 - in addition to [safe] celebrating many of us are going to commit to a number of New Year's…

(Don’t) Listen to Your Customers

Today’s product and design leaders often rely heavily on the word of their customers when building their product road maps; whether it’s a customer survey…

Presentation: Papers We’re Reading, Week 2

This is a timely study on how the quality of gift-wrapping can change people’s attitudes about the present inside. The research team includes a married…

What is Behavioral Economics?

Traditional economics assumes that people are rational, but compelling research in the field of behavioral science says … not so much. Behavioral economics is the…

The Biggest Missing Element in Most Product Experiences, According to Behavioral Science: Does Yours Have It?

Libby was new to backpacking. Her first trip was a 4-day trek through the Sierras with a good friend who was far more experienced. Before…

The Product Manager’s ‘Day 1’

Do this 1 thing right from the beginning and users are more likely to stick with you, says… Jeff Bezos coined the term Day 1…

How to Increase Voting by Removing Its Biggest Overlooked Friction

The election in November is important. Generationally important. And somehow get out the vote (GOTV) efforts overlook one of the most critical aspects of…

Transforming Urban Transit Through Behavioral Design

A Q&A with Behavioral Scientist, Richard Mathera, on using behavioral economics interventions to transform transportation in an urban environment. No one likes being stuck in…

Irrationally Healthy: Should We Rethink Employee Wellness Programs?

Would better employee wellness programs help make us healthier? Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) (e.g., cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health disorders) are the leading causes…

Reframing the Loneliness Epidemic

By Irrational Lab’s Dan Ariely, Kristen Berman, Evelyn Gosnell, Sara Dadkhah Lindsay Juarez, and Maritz Global Events’ Charlotte Blank, Russ Frey The “loneliness epidemic” was…

Don’t Hate Yourself for Scrolling. It’s Not All Your Fault.

There is a general discomfort brewing around the increased use of our mobile devices. The word “smartphone addiction” has casually entered our lexicon, and…

Want to Form Healthy Habits? Get a Dog

Overweight since childhood, Kate Turner worked hard to get in shape, trying one exercise routine after another. But she would eventually tire of the…

It’s Not Always about Making Things Easier: When to Make Your Sign-Up Flow Harder

Product developers and UX designers can all agree — reducing the number of steps in a sign-up flow is Product Design 101. Less friction translates…

Bringing Users Back to the Forefront: 3 Sustainable User Engagement Tips from Behavioral Science

Watch out. If you’re an app developer, this is not a pretty graph. You might even stop reading, in what behavioral scientists call ‘The…

What Stuck Out about BSPA 2019

Climate change, fake news, vaccines, sexual assault — the Behavioral Science & Policy Association conference didn’t shy away from the heavy topics du jour. More…

What Academics Can Learn from Industry

Companies are getting better and better at experimentation. They might not publish peer-reviewed papers, but they do take advantage of their access to thousands (or…

Experimenting: A Case Study from a BE Bootcamper

Josh Ly, guest author This post is brought to you by BE Bootcamp attendee Josh Ly from Livongo. As part of BE Bootcamp, students…

Building Behavioral Science Into Your Organization: An Example

How should companies build behavioral science functions into their organizations? This is a hot topic nowadays, warranting a recent report by McKinsey on how companies…

6 Behavioral Science Takeaways from BSPA 2018

  The Behavioral Science and Policy Association (BSPA 2018) annual conference is in the books and it did not disappoint. The BSPA 2018 conference…

Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making: 4 Studies and What They Mean for Behavioral Design

We attended the Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making, and while all the presentations were great, we especially appreciated these four. A big…

BSPA Conference: The 7 Most Interesting Things We Learned at BSPA 2017

We recently attend BSPA 2017, Behavioral Science and Policy Association’s conference in New York City. It’s an annual convening of policymakers, practitioners and scientists…

Want to Increase Brand Loyalty, Retention, and Purchasing Intention? Try Building Trust.

United Airlines. Uber. Wells Fargo. Each of these companies has experienced a torrent of negative press, with accompanying public outrage. Was each instance caused…

The Real Reason You Hate the Southwest Airlines Boarding Process (And How Assigned Seating Could Fix It)

People get to pick their seats when flying Southwest Airlines. There is no assigned seating. Instead, they assign you a pre-determined order in which you…

Group Goal Setting: How You Can Beat the Truffle Oil Affect and the One Hack That Works

In my last post I shared that my 10 person house is embarking on a journey to share our goals with each other, refine them…

How to Turn Your Housemates into Your Accountability Buddies to Better Achieve Your (And Each Others’) Goals

This is embarrassing to admit. I study behavior and sometimes I struggle to change mine. Embarrassing but hardly surprising. Many therapists become therapists after years…

Fitness Trackers: What’s the Verdict on Behavior Change?

  Fitness trackers have come a long way from the clunky and unreliable plastic devices they once were. Today’s versions are well-designed, more accessible…

A Tall Order: How Height Bias Influences Your Viewpoint and the Psychology of Dating

Before the dinner party, I wore heels about one day a week. After the dinner party, I now wear heels every day. What changed? How…

Chase Sapphire Reserve: The Behavioral Economics of Our Obsession

Photo by The Points Guy In the middle of August this year, an online link to the application of a new credit card leaked, and…

How to Get More Done: Use A Commitment Device

We all struggle with our goals, whether it’s to eat healthier, work out more often, or be more productive at work. After all, there are…

Connecting with Your Future Self: Can Understanding Psychology Help Us Age Gracefully?

I just celebrated my 33rd birthday this Saturday. It was a familiar birthday scene, being surrounded by close friends at a nice restaurant. It did…