The Truth about Relativity

“I recently worked on a research project examining how one’s own “attractiveness” affects one’s view of the “attractiveness” of others.  One of his good friends, in fact, is a founder of PayPal and is worth tens of millions. But Hong knows how to make the circles of comparison in his life smaller, not larger. In his…

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Short-term over Long-term Objectives

“Sadly, most of us often prefer immediately gratifying short-term experiences over our long-term objectives. We routinely behave as if sometime in the future, we will have more time, more money, and feel less tired or stressed. “Later” seems like a rosy time to do all the unpleasant things in life, even if putting them off…

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Motivation Backfire!

“The more cognitive skill involved, we thought, the more likely that very high incentives would backfire. We also thought that higher rewards would more likely lead to higher performance when it came to noncognitive, mechanical tasks. For example, what if I were to pay you for every time you jump in the next twenty-four hours?…

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“Loss Aversion”

“Loss aversion is the simple idea that the misery produced by losing something that we feel is ours—say, money—outweighs the happiness of gaining the same amount of money. For example, think about how happy you would be if one day you discovered that due to a very lucky investment, your portfolio had increased by 5…

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Depression and HappySad People

“This is one of those observations that is both obvious and (upon exploration) deeply profound, and it explains all kinds of otherwise puzzling observations. Which do you think, for example, has a higher suicide rate: countries whose citizens declare themselves to be very happy, such as Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Canada? or countries…

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Prisons?

“Prison has a direct effect on crime: it puts a bad person behind bars, where he can’t victimize anyone else. But it also has an indirect effect on crime, in that it affects all the people with whom that criminal comes into contact. A very high number of the men who get sent to prison,…

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Risk and Gain

“In the book that Pallop was reading by Kahneman and Tversky, for example, there is a description of a simple experiment, where a group of people were told to imagine that they had $300. They were then given a choice between (a) receiving another $100 or (b) tossing a coin, where if they won they…

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