title

Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Charles Schwab

107
Followers
268
Plays
Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Charles Schwab

107
Followers
268
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

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. For another illustration, we turn to Dean Karlan. Dean is a founder of StickK, a website and app that helps people commit to achieving goals using contracts with real stakes. The idea for StickK came about through Dean’s personal struggle to lose weight. He decided to leverage what he’d learned about human behavior as an economist. He drew up a contract with a friend--someone who was also struggling with his weight--that would oblige each of them to pay the other thousands of dollars if they failed in their quest to shed pounds. Dean Karlan is a professor of economics and finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is also the co-author of More Than Good Intentions: Improving the Ways the World’s Poor Borrow, Save, Farm, Learn, and Stay Healthy. To look at the science behind commitment strategies, Katy is joined by behavioral economist and best-selling author Dan Ariely. You’ll hear how commitment devices can be used to help people overcome procrastination, save money for the future, and eat more vegetables. You’ll also hear about some of Dan’s favorite studies, in which these commitment devices improved post-operative outcomes for heart surgery patients and helped students better manage their workloads. Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is also the author of Predictably Irrational and The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty.

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

Take the Deal! With Guests Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer & Luis Green

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how framing a decision based on what you stand to lose versus what you stand to gain affects your tolerance of risk. Luis Green was a contestant on the popular TV game show Deal or No Deal. The game is largely one of chance, but there are moments during play where the contestant has an option to accept a cash offer to quit. At one point in the game, Luis was offered $333,000 to simply walk away. A guaranteed win! It seems like an obvious choice. But as you’ll hear from the story, there are other factors that influenced his decision. Katy illustrates these factors with a version of a famous experiment. Volunteers are presented with two differently worded but mathematically identical scenarios. A simple shift from framing the scenario as a potential gain to one of potential loss results in starkly different choices from the volunteers. Next, Katy speaks with special guest Daniel Kahneman about the underlying theory that exp...

43 MIN2019 OCT 21
Comments
Take the Deal! With Guests Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer & Luis Green

Your Own Advice: With Guests Angela Duckworth, Lauren Eskreis-Winkler & Mike Mangini

Say you have a colleague who is struggling to complete a project at work. You might offer them some tips and tricks based on your own experience with similar projects. And it’s reasonable to expect those tips might be helpful to your colleague. But what if it turned out that the act of giving that advice might provide a measurable benefit to you as well? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how giving advice can benefit the giver—as much or even more than the person receiving the advice. We begin the episode with Mike Mangini. Mike is a talented drummer, best known in the world of progressive rock. He has toured and recorded with numerous artists, including Steve Vai and Extreme. He also spent many years teaching drums privately and at the Berklee College of Music. It was in the process of teaching that he developed a system to codify his approach to playing drums. That system helped Mike navigate an intense audition for one of the biggest progressive rock ...

34 MIN2019 OCT 7
Comments
Your Own Advice: With Guests Angela Duckworth, Lauren Eskreis-Winkler & Mike Mangini

Not Quite Enough: With Guests Howard Scott Warshaw, Sendhil Mullainathan & Anuj Shah

Think back to a situation where you’ve been really pressed for time. Chances are good that the pressure of a deadline or an appointment caused you to be (a) hyper-focused and efficient or (b) panicked and prone to errors. Now think of a situation where you had plenty of available time. While you were probably much less stressed, it’s also likely that the superpowers of hyper-focus didn’t come so easily. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how not having enough time or money or other resources affects behavior and decision-making. We begin the episode with Howard Scott Warshaw. Warshaw was a very successful game developer at Atari during the company’s heyday in the 1980s. He worked on several best-selling titles, including the hit game Yar’s Revenge. However, he is probably best known for creating E.T. the Extra Terrestrial video game. Some consider it the worst commercial video game ever released. The reason E.T. was so unsuccessful as a gaming experien...

35 MIN2019 SEP 23
Comments
Not Quite Enough: With Guests Howard Scott Warshaw, Sendhil Mullainathan & Anuj Shah

The Lucky Loonie: With Guests Peter Jordan, Trent Evans & Don Moore

There’s something satisfying about the close door button in an elevator, especially when you’re in a rush. However, it turns out that most of those close door buttons aren’t actually connected to anything; they have no effect. So why are they there? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore a quirk in the way people understand their ability to influence certain events. The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City were a watershed moment for the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams. The men’s team hadn’t won a gold medal in 50 years, and the women’s team had never won gold, coming up short in prior Olympic events. The Canadians were facing powerhouse American teams, so they needed every advantage they could get. Enter Trent Evans. He was part of the Olympic ice-making team, though his allegiance was with the Canadians. During the initial ice making process, he marked the center of the rink with a small artifact in hopes that it would bring good luck to the...

32 MIN2019 SEP 9
Comments
The Lucky Loonie: With Guests Peter Jordan, Trent Evans & Don Moore

Best-Laid Plans: With Guests Ken Bowersox, Robert Godwin & Bradley Staats

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 period of time—starting with a story of the phenomenon playing out on a massive scale. The International Space Station (ISS) is a marvel of human ingenuity. It’s the largest manned object ever put into space. It orbits the earth every 90 minutes. It contains 8 miles of wire and is the third brightest object in the night sky. At a cost of well over $100 billion, it is also the most expensive object ever built. At the beginning of the project, however, it was expected to cost only a small fraction of that amount. Robert Godwin has written extensively about th...

37 MIN2019 MAY 27
Comments
Best-Laid Plans: With Guests Ken Bowersox, Robert Godwin & Bradley Staats

Boxed In: With Guests Sophie Morgan, Modupe Akinola & Dolly Chugh

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 the best information about the temperature on individual days. This tendency to quickly categorize time, objects and people helps us to simplify a complex world, but it can also lead to important errors. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the ways our snap judgments work for us and against us. First, Katy brings you a profile of Sophie Morgan, tracing her career path from relative unknown to reality TV model to lead presenter at one of the largest sporting events in the world. And you’ll find out what makes Sophie unique in her...

33 MIN2019 MAY 13
Comments
Boxed In: With Guests Sophie Morgan, Modupe Akinola & Dolly Chugh

Knew It All Along: With Guests Kathleen Vohs, Douglas Porch & Julian Jackson

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 already come to pass. We begin with the story of the fall of France. In the early days of World War II, the French surrendered a mere six weeks after the German invasion. How did one of the great European powers fall so quickly? Shortly after the end of hostilities in France, historians began to construct a narrative to explain this rapid defeat. That narrative focused on unflattering perceptions of French society and culture at the time. Historian Julian Jackson of Queen Mary University of London explains the origins of this line of thinking. Then we hear from m...

32 MIN2019 APR 29
Comments
Knew It All Along: With Guests Kathleen Vohs, Douglas Porch & Julian Jackson

Latest Episodes

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. For another illustration, we turn to Dean Karlan. Dean is a founder of StickK, a website and app that helps people commit to achieving goals using contracts with real stakes. The idea for StickK came about through Dean’s personal struggle to lose weight. He decided to leverage what he’d learned about human behavior as an economist. He drew up a contract with a friend--someone who was also struggling with his weight--that would oblige each of them to pay the other thousands of dollars if they failed in their quest to shed pounds. Dean Karlan is a professor of economics and finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is also the co-author of More Than Good Intentions: Improving the Ways the World’s Poor Borrow, Save, Farm, Learn, and Stay Healthy. To look at the science behind commitment strategies, Katy is joined by behavioral economist and best-selling author Dan Ariely. You’ll hear how commitment devices can be used to help people overcome procrastination, save money for the future, and eat more vegetables. You’ll also hear about some of Dan’s favorite studies, in which these commitment devices improved post-operative outcomes for heart surgery patients and helped students better manage their workloads. Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is also the author of Predictably Irrational and The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty.

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

Take the Deal! With Guests Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer & Luis Green

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how framing a decision based on what you stand to lose versus what you stand to gain affects your tolerance of risk. Luis Green was a contestant on the popular TV game show Deal or No Deal. The game is largely one of chance, but there are moments during play where the contestant has an option to accept a cash offer to quit. At one point in the game, Luis was offered $333,000 to simply walk away. A guaranteed win! It seems like an obvious choice. But as you’ll hear from the story, there are other factors that influenced his decision. Katy illustrates these factors with a version of a famous experiment. Volunteers are presented with two differently worded but mathematically identical scenarios. A simple shift from framing the scenario as a potential gain to one of potential loss results in starkly different choices from the volunteers. Next, Katy speaks with special guest Daniel Kahneman about the underlying theory that exp...

43 MIN2019 OCT 21
Comments
Take the Deal! With Guests Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer & Luis Green

Your Own Advice: With Guests Angela Duckworth, Lauren Eskreis-Winkler & Mike Mangini

Say you have a colleague who is struggling to complete a project at work. You might offer them some tips and tricks based on your own experience with similar projects. And it’s reasonable to expect those tips might be helpful to your colleague. But what if it turned out that the act of giving that advice might provide a measurable benefit to you as well? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how giving advice can benefit the giver—as much or even more than the person receiving the advice. We begin the episode with Mike Mangini. Mike is a talented drummer, best known in the world of progressive rock. He has toured and recorded with numerous artists, including Steve Vai and Extreme. He also spent many years teaching drums privately and at the Berklee College of Music. It was in the process of teaching that he developed a system to codify his approach to playing drums. That system helped Mike navigate an intense audition for one of the biggest progressive rock ...

34 MIN2019 OCT 7
Comments
Your Own Advice: With Guests Angela Duckworth, Lauren Eskreis-Winkler & Mike Mangini

Not Quite Enough: With Guests Howard Scott Warshaw, Sendhil Mullainathan & Anuj Shah

Think back to a situation where you’ve been really pressed for time. Chances are good that the pressure of a deadline or an appointment caused you to be (a) hyper-focused and efficient or (b) panicked and prone to errors. Now think of a situation where you had plenty of available time. While you were probably much less stressed, it’s also likely that the superpowers of hyper-focus didn’t come so easily. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how not having enough time or money or other resources affects behavior and decision-making. We begin the episode with Howard Scott Warshaw. Warshaw was a very successful game developer at Atari during the company’s heyday in the 1980s. He worked on several best-selling titles, including the hit game Yar’s Revenge. However, he is probably best known for creating E.T. the Extra Terrestrial video game. Some consider it the worst commercial video game ever released. The reason E.T. was so unsuccessful as a gaming experien...

35 MIN2019 SEP 23
Comments
Not Quite Enough: With Guests Howard Scott Warshaw, Sendhil Mullainathan & Anuj Shah

The Lucky Loonie: With Guests Peter Jordan, Trent Evans & Don Moore

There’s something satisfying about the close door button in an elevator, especially when you’re in a rush. However, it turns out that most of those close door buttons aren’t actually connected to anything; they have no effect. So why are they there? In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we explore a quirk in the way people understand their ability to influence certain events. The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City were a watershed moment for the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams. The men’s team hadn’t won a gold medal in 50 years, and the women’s team had never won gold, coming up short in prior Olympic events. The Canadians were facing powerhouse American teams, so they needed every advantage they could get. Enter Trent Evans. He was part of the Olympic ice-making team, though his allegiance was with the Canadians. During the initial ice making process, he marked the center of the rink with a small artifact in hopes that it would bring good luck to the...

32 MIN2019 SEP 9
Comments
The Lucky Loonie: With Guests Peter Jordan, Trent Evans & Don Moore

Best-Laid Plans: With Guests Ken Bowersox, Robert Godwin & Bradley Staats

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 period of time—starting with a story of the phenomenon playing out on a massive scale. The International Space Station (ISS) is a marvel of human ingenuity. It’s the largest manned object ever put into space. It orbits the earth every 90 minutes. It contains 8 miles of wire and is the third brightest object in the night sky. At a cost of well over $100 billion, it is also the most expensive object ever built. At the beginning of the project, however, it was expected to cost only a small fraction of that amount. Robert Godwin has written extensively about th...

37 MIN2019 MAY 27
Comments
Best-Laid Plans: With Guests Ken Bowersox, Robert Godwin & Bradley Staats

Boxed In: With Guests Sophie Morgan, Modupe Akinola & Dolly Chugh

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 the best information about the temperature on individual days. This tendency to quickly categorize time, objects and people helps us to simplify a complex world, but it can also lead to important errors. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the ways our snap judgments work for us and against us. First, Katy brings you a profile of Sophie Morgan, tracing her career path from relative unknown to reality TV model to lead presenter at one of the largest sporting events in the world. And you’ll find out what makes Sophie unique in her...

33 MIN2019 MAY 13
Comments
Boxed In: With Guests Sophie Morgan, Modupe Akinola & Dolly Chugh

Knew It All Along: With Guests Kathleen Vohs, Douglas Porch & Julian Jackson

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 already come to pass. We begin with the story of the fall of France. In the early days of World War II, the French surrendered a mere six weeks after the German invasion. How did one of the great European powers fall so quickly? Shortly after the end of hostilities in France, historians began to construct a narrative to explain this rapid defeat. That narrative focused on unflattering perceptions of French society and culture at the time. Historian Julian Jackson of Queen Mary University of London explains the origins of this line of thinking. Then we hear from m...

32 MIN2019 APR 29
Comments
Knew It All Along: With Guests Kathleen Vohs, Douglas Porch & Julian Jackson
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