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Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Charles Schwab

184
Followers
636
Plays
Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Charles Schwab

184
Followers
636
Plays
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About Us

Can we learn to make smarter choices? Wharton professor Katy Milkman shares stories of irrational decision making--from historical blunders to the kinds of everyday errors that could affect your future. Choiceology, an original podcast from Charles Schwab, explores the lessons of behavioral economics, exposing the psychological traps that lead to expensive mistakes.Season 1 of Choiceology was hosted by Dan Heath, bestselling author of Made to Stick and Switch.Podcasts are for informational purposes only. This channel is not monitored by Charles Schwab. Please visit schwab.com/contactus for contact options.

Latest Episodes

A Spoonful of Sugar: With Guests Ayelet Fishbach, Dan Ariely, Lynne Gauthier & Nancy Strahl

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap, the job’s a game!” So says Julie Andrews’ character in the Disney film Mary Poppins before she launches into the famous musical number “A Spoonful of Sugar.” In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the science behind the intuitive strategy of making difficult or boring things easier by adding that “element of fun.” But while Mary Poppins was focused on making the tedious task of cleaning a room a bit more enjoyable, you’ll see that this approach isn’t limited to housework. You’ll hear Nancy Stahl’s dramatic story of a life-threatening medical event. Her prognosis was grim, but thanks to grit, determination, and some pioneering work in gamifying rehabilitation by Professor Lynne Gauthier, Nancy made a remarkable recovery. Next, Dan Ariely recounts an incredibly difficult long-term treatment that he was able to endure and complete, thanks to a strategy known as tem...

43 MINMAY 25
Comments
A Spoonful of Sugar: With Guests Ayelet Fishbach, Dan Ariely, Lynne Gauthier & Nancy Strahl

Bidder Beware: With Guests Max Bazerman & Glenye Cain Oakford

Have you ever bid in a competitive auction—say, on eBay—and won the item, only to see a similar item for sale elsewhere at a lower price? If so, you may have fallen prey to the winner’s curse. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at bias that can lead people to overpay in auctions and other types of negotiations. We begin with the story of Havre de Grace. This prize filly had an exceptionally successful career as a racehorse before being auctioned as a broodmare. Expectations were high for the sale because Havre de Grace had such a strong thoroughbred pedigree. But the way the auction proceeded surprised everyone in the room. Glenye Cain Oakford was at the Fasig-Tipton November Mixed Sale and paints a vivid picture of a dramatic bidding process. She is an award-winning journalist, writer, and videographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. Max Bazerman has contributed important research to the study of the winner’s curse. He joins Katy to discuss the ways in whic...

34 MINMAY 11
Comments
Bidder Beware: With Guests Max Bazerman & Glenye Cain Oakford

A Choice Apart: With Guests Max Bazerman & Vivienne Wagner

Have you ever purchased a car or a motorcycle or a boat, based on some particular quality it had that made you fall in love? Maybe it was candy apple red. Maybe it had sleek lines. Maybe the engine made a pleasing purr. Hopefully that decision was a happy one. But what happens when the red sports car spends most of its time in the shop? Or the sleek motorbike is hard on your back? Or the purring boat engine is a gas-guzzler? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how our preferences tend to shift when we evaluate a choice on its own versus side-by-side with other possible options. The episode begins with Vivienne Wagner and her family’s decision to adopt an adorable puppy after seeing a popular movie that featured the breed. (You know, the spotty dogs—over a hundred of them.) It’s a cautionary tale about a lovable but incredibly difficult pooch named Barkley and the perils of selecting a family pet in a vacuum. Max Bazerman is an authority on the phenomenon ...

28 MINAPR 27
Comments
A Choice Apart: With Guests Max Bazerman & Vivienne Wagner

So Close to the Prize: With Guests Oleg Urminsky & Brian Zinn

If you’ve ever signed up for a frequent flyer program, chances are good that you were awarded a certain number of bonus points to start. Those bonus points feel like a nice little gift, but they also serve another purpose: to increase your motivation to participate in the program. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore how your proximity to a goal can affect the way you behave. You’ll hear the fascinating story of Brian Zinn and his decade-spanning quest to unravel an elaborate riddle. When Brian was a college student, he stumbled upon a book called The Secret: A Treasure Hunt. In it were 12 cryptic puzzles—arcane verses and mysterious images that, when paired and solved, would point readers to 12 treasures buried in undisclosed locations around the United States. The treasure hunt was a harmless pastime during Brian’s college days, but when he rediscovered the book years later, it became something of an obsession. You’ll learn about his escalating adventu...

36 MINAPR 13
Comments
So Close to the Prize: With Guests Oleg Urminsky & Brian Zinn

Coping Amid the Crisis: With Guest Laurie Santos

An unprecedented global health crisis has overwhelmed healthcare systems, disrupted economies and financial markets, and radically altered our daily lives. And while social distancing is the responsible thing to do to slow the spread of disease, it also heightens the emotional challenges we face during these scary and uncertain times. In this special bonus episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look to the science of happiness to see how we might mitigate the adverse impacts to our mental health and well-being—and maybe even cultivate good new habits that can help us when the crisis is over. In 2018, psychologist Laurie Santos introduced a new course at Yale—its subject, happiness—which quickly became the storied university’s most popular class ever. Katy interviews Laurie to find out what insights from the course apply to our current situation and to solicit advice on happiness-improvement steps we can be taking now. Laurie Santos is a professor of psychology and head of ...

39 MINAPR 6
Comments
Coping Amid the Crisis: With Guest Laurie Santos

The Simple Choice: With Guests Shlomo Benartzi & Eric Sink

We are inundated with decisions in the modern world. What to wear, what to buy, what to watch, where to work, what to eat, who to call, where to live, what to study, when to exercise, how much to save, etc. And every decision, no matter how small, requires mental effort. But when a particular option is suggested to us ahead of time, the cognitive load is much smaller. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore the subtle power of default options. We begin with a simple experiment, offering free hot chocolate to random college students. A small shift in the way we present the option of a whipped-cream topping leads to a measurable change in the students’ preferences. Next up, a rather more consequential example. It’s the story of the web browser wars in the mid-1990s. You’ll get an insider’s perspective on the epic battle between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, and Netscape Communications’ Navigator browser. Netscape had a substantial head start in the ...

35 MINMAR 30
Comments
The Simple Choice: With Guests Shlomo Benartzi & Eric Sink

Judge the Judges: With Guests Daniel Kahneman, James Hutchinson & G.M. Pucilowski

Many episodes of this podcast deal with cognitive biases that can hinder our decision-making abilities. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a different kind of error: how completely irrelevant information can negatively influence our judgments, making them varied and unpredictable. This variability of human judgment—or noise—is the topic of an upcoming book by Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, with Cass Sunstein and Olivier Sibony. You’ll hear an interview with Kahneman later in the episode where he explains his preoccupation with the substantial and expensive effects of noise. He proposes ways to reduce the problem of noise for industries, businesses, and individuals who need to make more objective judgements. But first, we’ll dive into the world of wine judging. G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski will take you on a guided tour of the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. You’ll hear about the criteria for judging different varietals—...

32 MINMAR 16
Comments
Judge the Judges: With Guests Daniel Kahneman, James Hutchinson & G.M. Pucilowski

The Price of Your Vice: With Guests Dan Ariely & Dean Karlan

In an episode of the television series Seinfeld, Jerry does a standup bit where he talks about staying up too late at night. He says, “I’m Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late,” to which he then replies, “What about getting up after five hours of sleep?” The answer? “That’s Morning Guy’s problem.” This illustrates a challenge that we all face: How do you stick to positive long-term goals in the face of negative short-term temptations? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at strategies to help keep Night Guy in check, so that Morning Guy can wake up well-rested. The episode begins with two short tales of temptation. The first is the mythical story of Ulysses (Odysseus) avoiding the tantalizing but dangerous songs of the sirens. The second is an account of Victor Hugo’s struggles to complete his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the face of his own procrastination. In both stories, the protagonist employs a clever strategy to reach his goals. Fo...

32 MIN2019 DEC 2
Comments
The Price of Your Vice: With Guests Dan Ariely & Dean Karlan

Creatures of Habit: With Guests Wendy Wood, Angela Duckworth & Stephan Kesting

Benjamin Franklin is one of the most revered figures in American history. He accomplished more in one lifetime--as a publisher, scientist, and politician--than most of us dream of. One argument for his success is that he was a creature of habit. His grueling daily schedule focused on repeating several habits of self-improvement. He hoped to achieve a perfect version of himself by automating certain positive behaviors. Whether or not he always stuck to his daily schedule of self-improvement is debatable, but his intuition about the importance of habit was right on the money. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the power of habit in shaping our behavior--for the better and for the worse. We begin with firefighter Stephan Kesting. Stephan takes us through several of the drills that firefighters repeat over and over again in order to internalize certain behaviors. These behaviors can save lives in disaster scenarios. Stephan’s preparedness was put to the test e...

34 MIN2019 NOV 18
Comments
Creatures of Habit: With Guests Wendy Wood, Angela Duckworth & Stephan Kesting

Invisible Failures: With Guests Emily Oster, Sendhil Mullainathan & Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

If you’ve toured through any old world cities, you’ve probably marveled at ancient buildings that have stood the test of time. You might think to yourself, “They sure made things to last back in those days.” And while the Notre Dame Cathedral or the Parthenon or the Tower of London may seem like proof of the superior workmanship of a bygone era, what you don’t see are all the other buildings erected during the same period that have since crumbled or been torn down. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a bias that often clouds the way we evaluate success and failure. We begin with the scientific awakening of Joseph Banks Rhine in the 1920s, during the peak of the spiritualist movement. Rhine was trained in science and wanted to apply the scientific method to his research into paranormal phenomena. Science taught him to be skeptical, so when Rhine’s research results seemed to demonstrate the existence of extra-sensory perception, or ESP, he believed he ha...

38 MIN2019 NOV 4
Comments
Invisible Failures: With Guests Emily Oster, Sendhil Mullainathan & Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Latest Episodes

A Spoonful of Sugar: With Guests Ayelet Fishbach, Dan Ariely, Lynne Gauthier & Nancy Strahl

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap, the job’s a game!” So says Julie Andrews’ character in the Disney film Mary Poppins before she launches into the famous musical number “A Spoonful of Sugar.” In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the science behind the intuitive strategy of making difficult or boring things easier by adding that “element of fun.” But while Mary Poppins was focused on making the tedious task of cleaning a room a bit more enjoyable, you’ll see that this approach isn’t limited to housework. You’ll hear Nancy Stahl’s dramatic story of a life-threatening medical event. Her prognosis was grim, but thanks to grit, determination, and some pioneering work in gamifying rehabilitation by Professor Lynne Gauthier, Nancy made a remarkable recovery. Next, Dan Ariely recounts an incredibly difficult long-term treatment that he was able to endure and complete, thanks to a strategy known as tem...

43 MINMAY 25
Comments
A Spoonful of Sugar: With Guests Ayelet Fishbach, Dan Ariely, Lynne Gauthier & Nancy Strahl

Bidder Beware: With Guests Max Bazerman & Glenye Cain Oakford

Have you ever bid in a competitive auction—say, on eBay—and won the item, only to see a similar item for sale elsewhere at a lower price? If so, you may have fallen prey to the winner’s curse. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at bias that can lead people to overpay in auctions and other types of negotiations. We begin with the story of Havre de Grace. This prize filly had an exceptionally successful career as a racehorse before being auctioned as a broodmare. Expectations were high for the sale because Havre de Grace had such a strong thoroughbred pedigree. But the way the auction proceeded surprised everyone in the room. Glenye Cain Oakford was at the Fasig-Tipton November Mixed Sale and paints a vivid picture of a dramatic bidding process. She is an award-winning journalist, writer, and videographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. Max Bazerman has contributed important research to the study of the winner’s curse. He joins Katy to discuss the ways in whic...

34 MINMAY 11
Comments
Bidder Beware: With Guests Max Bazerman & Glenye Cain Oakford

A Choice Apart: With Guests Max Bazerman & Vivienne Wagner

Have you ever purchased a car or a motorcycle or a boat, based on some particular quality it had that made you fall in love? Maybe it was candy apple red. Maybe it had sleek lines. Maybe the engine made a pleasing purr. Hopefully that decision was a happy one. But what happens when the red sports car spends most of its time in the shop? Or the sleek motorbike is hard on your back? Or the purring boat engine is a gas-guzzler? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how our preferences tend to shift when we evaluate a choice on its own versus side-by-side with other possible options. The episode begins with Vivienne Wagner and her family’s decision to adopt an adorable puppy after seeing a popular movie that featured the breed. (You know, the spotty dogs—over a hundred of them.) It’s a cautionary tale about a lovable but incredibly difficult pooch named Barkley and the perils of selecting a family pet in a vacuum. Max Bazerman is an authority on the phenomenon ...

28 MINAPR 27
Comments
A Choice Apart: With Guests Max Bazerman & Vivienne Wagner

So Close to the Prize: With Guests Oleg Urminsky & Brian Zinn

If you’ve ever signed up for a frequent flyer program, chances are good that you were awarded a certain number of bonus points to start. Those bonus points feel like a nice little gift, but they also serve another purpose: to increase your motivation to participate in the program. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore how your proximity to a goal can affect the way you behave. You’ll hear the fascinating story of Brian Zinn and his decade-spanning quest to unravel an elaborate riddle. When Brian was a college student, he stumbled upon a book called The Secret: A Treasure Hunt. In it were 12 cryptic puzzles—arcane verses and mysterious images that, when paired and solved, would point readers to 12 treasures buried in undisclosed locations around the United States. The treasure hunt was a harmless pastime during Brian’s college days, but when he rediscovered the book years later, it became something of an obsession. You’ll learn about his escalating adventu...

36 MINAPR 13
Comments
So Close to the Prize: With Guests Oleg Urminsky & Brian Zinn

Coping Amid the Crisis: With Guest Laurie Santos

An unprecedented global health crisis has overwhelmed healthcare systems, disrupted economies and financial markets, and radically altered our daily lives. And while social distancing is the responsible thing to do to slow the spread of disease, it also heightens the emotional challenges we face during these scary and uncertain times. In this special bonus episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look to the science of happiness to see how we might mitigate the adverse impacts to our mental health and well-being—and maybe even cultivate good new habits that can help us when the crisis is over. In 2018, psychologist Laurie Santos introduced a new course at Yale—its subject, happiness—which quickly became the storied university’s most popular class ever. Katy interviews Laurie to find out what insights from the course apply to our current situation and to solicit advice on happiness-improvement steps we can be taking now. Laurie Santos is a professor of psychology and head of ...

39 MINAPR 6
Comments
Coping Amid the Crisis: With Guest Laurie Santos

The Simple Choice: With Guests Shlomo Benartzi & Eric Sink

We are inundated with decisions in the modern world. What to wear, what to buy, what to watch, where to work, what to eat, who to call, where to live, what to study, when to exercise, how much to save, etc. And every decision, no matter how small, requires mental effort. But when a particular option is suggested to us ahead of time, the cognitive load is much smaller. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore the subtle power of default options. We begin with a simple experiment, offering free hot chocolate to random college students. A small shift in the way we present the option of a whipped-cream topping leads to a measurable change in the students’ preferences. Next up, a rather more consequential example. It’s the story of the web browser wars in the mid-1990s. You’ll get an insider’s perspective on the epic battle between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, and Netscape Communications’ Navigator browser. Netscape had a substantial head start in the ...

35 MINMAR 30
Comments
The Simple Choice: With Guests Shlomo Benartzi & Eric Sink

Judge the Judges: With Guests Daniel Kahneman, James Hutchinson & G.M. Pucilowski

Many episodes of this podcast deal with cognitive biases that can hinder our decision-making abilities. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a different kind of error: how completely irrelevant information can negatively influence our judgments, making them varied and unpredictable. This variability of human judgment—or noise—is the topic of an upcoming book by Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, with Cass Sunstein and Olivier Sibony. You’ll hear an interview with Kahneman later in the episode where he explains his preoccupation with the substantial and expensive effects of noise. He proposes ways to reduce the problem of noise for industries, businesses, and individuals who need to make more objective judgements. But first, we’ll dive into the world of wine judging. G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski will take you on a guided tour of the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. You’ll hear about the criteria for judging different varietals—...

32 MINMAR 16
Comments
Judge the Judges: With Guests Daniel Kahneman, James Hutchinson & G.M. Pucilowski

The Price of Your Vice: With Guests Dan Ariely & Dean Karlan

In an episode of the television series Seinfeld, Jerry does a standup bit where he talks about staying up too late at night. He says, “I’m Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late,” to which he then replies, “What about getting up after five hours of sleep?” The answer? “That’s Morning Guy’s problem.” This illustrates a challenge that we all face: How do you stick to positive long-term goals in the face of negative short-term temptations? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at strategies to help keep Night Guy in check, so that Morning Guy can wake up well-rested. The episode begins with two short tales of temptation. The first is the mythical story of Ulysses (Odysseus) avoiding the tantalizing but dangerous songs of the sirens. The second is an account of Victor Hugo’s struggles to complete his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the face of his own procrastination. In both stories, the protagonist employs a clever strategy to reach his goals. Fo...

32 MIN2019 DEC 2
Comments
The Price of Your Vice: With Guests Dan Ariely & Dean Karlan

Creatures of Habit: With Guests Wendy Wood, Angela Duckworth & Stephan Kesting

Benjamin Franklin is one of the most revered figures in American history. He accomplished more in one lifetime--as a publisher, scientist, and politician--than most of us dream of. One argument for his success is that he was a creature of habit. His grueling daily schedule focused on repeating several habits of self-improvement. He hoped to achieve a perfect version of himself by automating certain positive behaviors. Whether or not he always stuck to his daily schedule of self-improvement is debatable, but his intuition about the importance of habit was right on the money. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the power of habit in shaping our behavior--for the better and for the worse. We begin with firefighter Stephan Kesting. Stephan takes us through several of the drills that firefighters repeat over and over again in order to internalize certain behaviors. These behaviors can save lives in disaster scenarios. Stephan’s preparedness was put to the test e...

34 MIN2019 NOV 18
Comments
Creatures of Habit: With Guests Wendy Wood, Angela Duckworth & Stephan Kesting

Invisible Failures: With Guests Emily Oster, Sendhil Mullainathan & Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

If you’ve toured through any old world cities, you’ve probably marveled at ancient buildings that have stood the test of time. You might think to yourself, “They sure made things to last back in those days.” And while the Notre Dame Cathedral or the Parthenon or the Tower of London may seem like proof of the superior workmanship of a bygone era, what you don’t see are all the other buildings erected during the same period that have since crumbled or been torn down. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a bias that often clouds the way we evaluate success and failure. We begin with the scientific awakening of Joseph Banks Rhine in the 1920s, during the peak of the spiritualist movement. Rhine was trained in science and wanted to apply the scientific method to his research into paranormal phenomena. Science taught him to be skeptical, so when Rhine’s research results seemed to demonstrate the existence of extra-sensory perception, or ESP, he believed he ha...

38 MIN2019 NOV 4
Comments
Invisible Failures: With Guests Emily Oster, Sendhil Mullainathan & Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
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