Thursday, February 16, 2012


The study of behavioral economics yields unexpected insights that can challenge our assumptions and experience of the world we live in.

It also yields results to which many respond "Duh."

Sometimes I think "Duh" might be funny alternate name for our lab (the lab already has a very funny name that I've not yet been able to say with a straight face).

The "Duh" response can undermine the impact of an empirical exploration of a topic or the discovery of a nuance that might lead us to question conventional thinking.  It's sorta arrogant too.

I was presenting research to a corporation last week.  Here's how I set things up:

"One of the things I like working at a place called The Cntr 4 Advncd Hndsght* is the opportunity to ask people what they think the results will be before they can remark that they're obvious.  So, before I move on to the next slide please take a moment to consider the outcome."

And I waited a good solid moment.  

I didn't want to be pedantic by asking for people to share or write down their hypotheses but unprompted, some folks did.

Perhaps that added some (relative) zing to my results.  They weren't earth-shattering but there was an important difference in conditions I wanted to highlight.  

The conversation that followed was better for it. Obviously.

*using abbreviations to keep Google off this.

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