Choiceology with Dan Heath

Choiceology with Dan Heath

What happens when intuition fails us? Listen in as Dan Heath 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.... Show More

Episodes

If you’ve ever been through a home renovation, you know that it often takes more time or more money (or both!) than the contractor’s original estimate. But why is that? Experienced contractors renovate homes all the time. And yet they still regularly face delays and cost overruns. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore a tendency people have to be overly optimistic about what they can accomplish in a set peri... Read more

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Assuming you live in the northern hemisphere, which would you say is colder: a day in March or a Day in April? On average, of course, March is colder than April, but there’s probably not a big difference in temperature between March 31 and April 1. If you’re like most people, though, you put March days in the colder March category and April days in the warmer April category. It’s a useful shortcut, but it doesn’t always give you th... Read more

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Think about a time when something happened that just seemed meant to be. Maybe you had a feeling that your child would get into a certain college. Perhaps you just knew that your partner would forget to pack something important for your vacation. The question is, did you really know it along? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore a tendency to be overconfident in our predictions about events that have alread... Read more

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It makes some intuitive sense to judge a decision based on its results. But is it always true that a good decision leads to a good outcome, and vice versa? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a bias that can lead to errors in the way we judge our decision-making processes. Katy brings you a story about the challenging early days of organ transplant surgery. Dr. Byers “Bud” Shaw arrived in Pittsburgh in 19... Read more

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Have you ever noticed that there’s something satisfying about seeing a car’s odometer roll over from 99,999 to 100,000 miles? Or maybe more likely, looking at a clock right when it hits 12:00 on the nose? What’s so special about these moments? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at quirk of human behavior that can lead, in some cases, to superhuman achievement. Katy brings you the story of Roger Bannister’s ... Read more

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If you’ve ever watched a TV crime drama, you’ve probably heard that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. A person commits a crime literally right in front of someone, but the witness can’t identify key characteristics of the perpetrator—or worse, gets the details wrong and implicates an innocent person. Why does this happen? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the limitations of attention and pe... Read more

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“For most things are differently valued by those who have them and by those who wish to get them; what belongs to us, and what we give away, always seems very precious to us.” –Aristotle In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the peculiar ways people tend to value the things they own. The episode begins with a tour of the Sports Immortals Museum. Owner and proprietor Joel Platt claims it’s the largest and mo... Read more

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Netflix recommendations, Amazon suggestions, Google searches, airline ticket prices, your social media feed. All of these things are driven by algorithms—computer models that crunch massive amounts of data to generate useful results. These types of online algorithms are commonplace and so, generally speaking, we’re used to them. But what about the algorithms behind self-driving cars or airplane autopilots? What about algorithms us... Read more

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Have you ever seen a cloud overhead that looks very much like, say, a rabbit? Or maybe you’ve found a potato chip that had an uncanny resemblance to Elvis, or a cornflake that was almost exactly the shape of the state of Texas. What are the chances? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore curious events and mysterious patterns in order to reveal the human habit of ascribing meaning to randomness. Andy Marocco... Read more

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For many people, the start of a new year is an occasion to re-examine their lives, to set new goals and to give up old habits. Making New Year’s resolutions is something of a social ritual, but we see similar behaviors around other significant dates, as well--such as birthdays and anniversaries and the changing of seasons. And while it can be argued that all of these dates are arbitrary, studies show that they can still give you a ... Read more

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December 20, 2018 1 min

Choiceology with Katy Milkman returns after the holidays, starting with a special New Year’s episode on January 7. In the meantime, you can listen to all of our past episodes online or in your podcast app of choice. Choiceology is an original podcast from Charles Schwab. For more on the series, visit schwab.com/podcast.

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In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we examine an old insight about happiness and giving. It’s an insight that is now backed up by behavioral science. The episode begins with a scene from the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. From there we hear from the founder and CEO of Charity: Water, Scott Harrison. When Scott turned 18, he moved to New York City and got a job as a nightclub promoter. He lived a hedonist... Read more

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You’re an independent-minded person. You make choices for yourself based on the best information available. You own your decisions, right or wrong. Right? No so fast. You are, in fact, a social animal. You take many visible and invisible cues on how to behave from the people around you—family, co-workers, friends, social media, even the folks in the elevator or on the bus. So your decisions and behaviors aren’t always as independe... Read more

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You’re an independent-minded person. You make choices for yourself based on the best information available. You own your decisions, right or wrong. Right? No so fast. You are, in fact, a social animal. You take many visible and invisible cues on how to behave from the people around you—family, co-workers, friends, social media, even the folks in the elevator or on the bus. So your decisions and behaviors aren’t always as independe... Read more

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Most of us would like to think we make decisions for our own good. Presented with the imaginary choice between a bag of salty, greasy potato chips and a healthy salad, you might opt, in principle, for the salad. But what happens when that bag of chips is freshly opened, sitting there right in front of you? Do you change your mind? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a bias that has an outsized influence on... Read more

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Winning feels good. Whether it’s nailing a tricky golf shot or landing a big client for your firm, it’s nice to come out on top. But is it the thrill of victory that pushes you to sink that 10-foot putt or compels you to put in a few extra hours at work? Or is it the fear of losing that motivates you more? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we examine a bias that affects the irrational way people often react to gain... Read more

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Winning feels good. Whether it’s nailing a tricky golf shot or landing a big client for your firm, it’s nice to come out on top. But is it the thrill of victory that pushes you to sink that 10-foot putt or compels you to put in a few extra hours at work? Or is it the fear of losing that motivates you more? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we examine a bias that affects the irrational way people often react to gain... Read more

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October 14, 2018 4 min

Season 2 of Choiceology is coming soon! Dan Heath hands the reins over to new host Katy Milkman for this season. Katy brings an incredible depth of knowledge to the show through her work as a professor of Operations, Information & Decisions at The Wharton School. You’ll hear from sports stars, Nobel laureates and everyday people making life-altering choices, and Katy will share useful tools and strategies to improve decision making... Read more

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May 13, 2018 33 min

Imagine you’ve just been through a major life event: The birth of a child. A major award. The loss of a job. A divorce. Now picture yourself 10 years in the future and try to imagine how that event affected your overall well-being. Research shows that—more often than not—your predictions will miss the mark. Why is that? On this episode of Choiceology with Dan Heath, we examine a bias that influences the way you believe you’ll feel... Read more

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April 22, 2018 28 min

When you set out to buy something—a car, for example, or a laptop or some small gadget for your kitchen—you analyze the features and the style and the utility of the thing, and then you make a choice. But it turns out that there’s a psychological force that can influence what you’re willing to pay. On this episode of Choiceology with Dan Heath, we examine a bias that affects how you perceive gains and losses, how you negotiate dea... Read more

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