Tag Archives: behavior

Standing Up for Team Collaboration

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This study is further proof of what we discussed a few weeks ago about the foolishness of partitioning HF/E into neck up and neck down phenomena. There are many links between the two that are counterintuitive and might never be discovered with such a limited mindset.

Non-sedentary work configurations, which encourage standing rather than sitting in the course of work, are becoming increasingly prevalent in organizations. In this article, we build and test theory about how non-sedentary arrangements influence interpersonal processes in groups performing knowledge work…

a woman testing her grip strength with a device

Aging and Designing for Your Real Age

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I was an early adopter of Real Age when they launched many years ago. Now they seem to have gone too commercial and I am unconvinced of the validity of the test any more. But the idea I think is still very sound. So I was happy when Lynn Strother at HFES HQ shared this article with me from the NYT. The article just focuses on physical measures, but I think that is way too limited a perspective.

Warren Sanderson, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at Stony Brook University, is working on ways to define aging other than the passing of years. With colleagues at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, he recently published a study showing that the strength of an adult’s hand grip can distinguish different rates of aging in people with varying levels of education…

stephen colbert

The Real Science of Truthiness

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This piece has gone somewhat viral, and while the basic message is important, it gets some of the facts wrong. So I thought I would use this platform to share my concerns and see if you agree. Maybe it is me who is wrong.

Truthiness is “truth that comes from the gut, not books,” Colbert said in 2005. Scientists who study the phenomenon … use the term. It humorously captures how, as cognitive psychologist Eryn Newman put it, “smart, sophisticated people” can go awry on questions of fact.

two man standing at the end of a hall in a pink room

Priming with Pink

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I think a lot about priming (for example, see the EID articles here and here). We need to wield this power carefully and only for the forces of good. A recent You Are Not So Smart podcast is a good example. David McRaney (one of my favorite thought leaders in this domain) interviews Adam Alter, who is a leading expert on priming. They cover a wide variety of his research in a very engaging interview. David also throws in a few great examples from other researchers both before and after his interview.

a purple robot

Robots and Personality

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I was really intrigued by this article in the Ideas section of the Boston Sunday Globe. It talks about the interaction between a robot’s projected personality and user acceptance. One of the things I really like about the Globe’s Idea section is that they cover the original research pretty well. Unlike some other media outlets that I have ranted about recently.

Smart machines need the right “personality” to work well—and experts are finding the best choice may not always be what we think we want.

a man hitting his face with his palm

Viral Marketing – Is it Ok if the User Blames Himself?

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I was a little upset when I read this article, which is from someone whose ideas I usually have a high regard for. The article is about what he calls the viral “oops.”

Unlike viral loops, which are actions users take in the normal course of using a product to invite new members, viral oops rely on the user ‘effing-up.

In essence, this is when a user shares your content by accident, blames himself for the mistake, and you get the benefits without the costs of the error.

a medical student with a serious look on his face

Information Aversion – A Regrettable Form of Self-delusion

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I often talk about self-delusion. In many cases, we can frame situations so that they are positive and unless there are unavoidable and serious consequences this can actually increase lifetime levels of happiness. But when there are unavoidable and serious consequences, we need to pop the self-delusion bubble. This is one of those examples. The study finds that women who hear that a coworker was diagnosed with breast cancer are less likely to get mammograms and to be proactive about their own health.

It’s the idea that information can sometimes be scary. And in those cases, people can sometimes avoid that kind of information…

riot police standing in a line

Natural Field Experiments to Inform Public Policy

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I am sure that many of you are following the news from Ferguson, Missouri. The death of Michael Brown is a tragedy. But the news coverage is also a tragedy, in part because of the sweeping generalizations that many media organizations are making about the police response. Here is the one that drew out my statistical ire the most. The local police confronted the demonstrators wearing body armor and with armored vehicles. There was a violent clash with demonstrators that led to many injuries. Days later, the state police confronted demonstrators without body armor or armored vehicles. There was no clash. So many of the news media concluded that police using body armor and armored vehicles arouse violence…

a air plane seat that resembles a bicycle seat

Airbus Files for Bicycle Seat Patent

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The other commenters on this article, such as by my good friend Charles Mauro, have said enough about the poor ergonomics of Airbus’s bicycle seat patent.

The seat design featured in the patent is barbarically sparse, without even basic necessities like a backrest, tray tables or any leg room to speak of. In fact, the seats don’t even appear to function like seats; instead they are designed to prop up the flyer in an awkward semi-upright position to reduce the space required between rows.

But let’s think outside the box here. What if instead of the bicycle seat, we had a spinning class flight?

money and a watch

Motivational Priming

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My research in the domain of human motivation has had a profound influence on me. I never realized how important the distinction is between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. When we are motivated intrinsically, we become dedicated, passionate, and persistent. When we are motivated extrinsically, we get tunnel vision on the reward and become less concerned with the underlying activity. This can result in lower quality of performance if we can get the reward through shortcuts. A recent study by Francesca Gino at Harvard Business School found something quite powerful…