Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Can we learn to make smarter choices? Listen in as host Katy Milkman--behavioral scientist, Wharton professor, and author of How to Change--shares stories of high-stakes decisions and what research reveals they can teach us. Choiceology, an original podcast from Charles Schwab, explores the lessons of behavioral economics to help you improve your judgment and change for good. 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. (0321-1S88)

Episodes

October 25, 2021 31 min

Anticipating and planning for obstacles can sometimes be more powerful than adopting a positive mindset.

A positive attitude is important when embarking on any new endeavor. However, as you may have heard in previous episodes of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, overoptimism also can blind you to important information.

In this episode, we look at a strategy that can help counteract the effects of overoptimism and overconfidence. You cou...

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Most of us would prefer to avoid an argument at work or at home. But there are times when arguments—at least when they’re civil—can help surface important information for decision-making. 

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at situations where certain types of conflict can actually lead to better outcomes.

You’re probably familiar with the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright. The Wright brothers secured their pl...

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Perhaps this scenario seems familiar. Let’s say you generally do a good job of sticking to your monthly budget, but a rare opportunity arises—maybe a favorite musical artist is in town, or you’ve been invited to a friend’s 25th anniversary event—and you blow past your regular spending limit. It’s all right—you’ll just have to tighten your belt a bit next month. But then your phone stops working, and you have to buy a new model. And...

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When young children imagine their future lives, they’re often very optimistic. They’ll say things like “I’m going to be an astronaut!” or “When I grow up, I want to be a movie star!” These outcomes are, of course, quite rare. Most children will grow into slightly less exotic careers as adults. But even as adults, we tend toward personal optimism. We assume that we will outlive the average person, that we will remain in better healt...

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You may notice that charity campaigns tend to focus on the stories of one or two individuals or families, and that those stories are often rich with emotional content but light on information and statistics. There’s a reason for that.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the different ways we tend to be captivated and motivated by individuals and their stories, while on the other hand, we often become numb or...

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Most people wouldn’t attempt a marathon or a climb up Mount Everest without first working through some less audacious objectives. And yet there are countless examples of ambitious goals—new businesses, academic degrees, career changes, athletic feats—that were abandoned because they appeared too daunting in scope.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at a simple strategy that can make your biggest goals more man...

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Important decisions can be complex and difficult to make. We’re at the mercy of certain behavioral biases, and we often face a degree of uncertainty. And while it’s helpful to be aware of our shortcomings and mindful of our incomplete picture of the world, there is a proven way to make better decisions, on balance.  

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how questioning our basic assumptions and thinking like ...

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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 a new book by Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, with Ca...

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If you’ve ever lost a job, or been through a breakup, or failed an exam, you’ll know that the aftermath can be painful and disorienting. But for some percentage of those who experience these disappointing outcomes, unforeseen opportunities will arise.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the occasional upside of being forced to quit a career, or a relationship, or even a favorite route to work.

Kassia St. Clai...

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You probably have a list of reminders somewhere. Maybe you have a calendar with important dates marked. And likely a mental to-do list. And shopping lists. And gift ideas. And you’ve got to remember to get your taxes filed. And don’t forget to get those prescriptions filled before the drug store closes. And you’ve got to renew your insurance, and …

There’s a lot of information to juggle in modern life. In this episode of Choiceology...

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For many, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic was terrifying. Descriptions of the outbreak in Europe and Asia led to panic buying and sheltering in place here at home. But, as time passed and people became acclimatized to life with masks and social distancing, many of those same people who were terrified at the outset began to let their guard down and take unnecessary risks.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we loo...

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Have you ever visited your doctor to deal with a minor health issue and then left the office with nothing more than the doctor’s calming reassurance? Chances are good that you felt a bit better, physically, just by virtue of experiencing the environment of the clinic and anticipating some kind of improvement in your health.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore how your beliefs and expectations can have a very...

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Hardware stores and home improvement shows often promote do-it-yourself projects. And while it’s challenging to make your own projects look as good as the ones on TV or in glossy brochures, building something yourself can be a very rewarding experience. The trouble is, the DIY approach can sometimes cloud your perceptions of the value of your project.

In this episode of Choiceology with?Katy Milkman, we look at how putting personal ...

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In a past episode titled “Spoiled for Choice,” we looked at how decision-making can be hampered by our desire to avoid the painful emotion of regret. In fact, regret aversion can cause people to abandon certain decisions entirely.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look more closely at regret itself.?

Stirling Hart is a professional lumberjack. He’s also a world-class lumberjack sports athlete. He has travelled the ...

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For some people, the check engine light on their car dashboard means an immediate trip to the repair shop. But for others, it represents a nagging unpleasant feeling that’s best to be avoided. So they put it out of their mind for as long as they can.?

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we examine the tendency to avoid or ignore certain information when it may be uncomfortable or inconvenient.

Amelia Boone is a high ach...

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You’ve probably had the annoying experience of going to a store to pick up a few things, only to leave having forgotten at least one of them. That’s likely due to the challenge of holding more than one piece of information in your working memory while you shop, not to mention the effects of time pressure, distraction, and the procedural complexity of a seemingly simple trip to a store.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkma...

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“Mom! Janey got more ice cream than me! Not fair!” For kids—and many adults—the notion of what’s fair or not often involves comparing quantities of some valuable thing. But there’s another, more nuanced concept of fairness that crops up in certain types of negotiations.?

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at what people perceive as fair or not amid changing circumstances.

At the turn of the 20th century, profes...

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Traditional economic theory says that more choice should always be better than less. After all, if the cereal aisle has corn flakes, honey nut corn flakes, toasted coconut corn flakes, chocolate corn flakes, multi-grain flakes, and all the rest, you’ll surely be able to find the breakfast carbs that suit your taste buds perfectly. But it turns out that, in certain situations, more choices can be counterproductive.

In this episode of...

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The rapid heartbeat. The shaking hands. The flushed face. The symptoms of pre-performance jitters are common. For some people, nervousness before a big test or important presentation is normal and temporary. For others, it can be debilitating. Typical suggestions for managing nerves tend to involve deep breaths and calming thoughts. But what if there were a better way?

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the...

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“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 whil...

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