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May 18, 2016

Should you only be allowed to publish five papers before tenure?

Filed in Gossip ,Ideas
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There’s an article out in Science titled The Pressure to Publish Pushes Down Quality. The author’s point is that as the volume of papers goes up, the good ones get lost in the bad ones.

There are other downsides as well. People waste a lot of time funding, writing, reviewing, editing, and reading lots of shoddy papers. The number of papers needed to get tenure keeps going up, which puts a lot of pressure on early-career academics. Lastly, when people have an incentive to publish a lot, they’re not encouraged to thoroughly review what’s come before. If they do, they may learn their idea is not all that new. This can prevent cumulative progress being made in science. As an aside, it’s hard to blame authors for not thoroughly reviewing the literature when so much junk has been published in the last decades.

The annoying thing about the Science article (and this blog post thus far) is that while many agree that increasing pressure to publish is bad, and that there are too many bad papers out there, there aren’t a lot proposed solutions. What should we do about it?

A friend of ours had a suggestion: Only let people publish five papers before tenure.

To be clear, the idea is not to only let people submit five papers for consideration for tenure. The idea is to only let people publish five papers before tenure. If you do, it hurts your case.

Some people hate this idea. But some love it. We can’t help but notice some good sides. It could cause people put more care into the papers they submit. It could reduce the number of papers being submitted for review. It could take the pressure off assistant professors to produce an ever-increasing number of papers before tenure. It could even reduce false alarms, failures to cite past literature, and possibly scientific fraud.

What do you think?

May 11, 2016

John Oliver on scientific studies

Filed in Ideas ,Research News
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If you have not seen John Oliver’s hilarious rant about bad science from his program Last Week Tonight, you should do so for it is hilarious.

JDMers Joe Simmons, Leif Nelson and Uri Simonshohn should be happy that he uses their term “p-hacking” and even makes a joke about it. What’s the joke? Come on, just watch the video and see.

May 4, 2016

JDM will be in Boston, Nov 18-21, 2016. Deadline to submit: June 20, 2016.

Filed in SJDM ,SJDM-Conferences
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The Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) invites abstracts for oral presentations and posters on any interesting topic related to judgment and decision making. Completed manuscripts are not required.


SJDM’s annual conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, November 18-21, 2016. The conference will take place at the Sheraton Boston. Plenary events will include a keynote talk on Sunday, November 20th delivered by Linda Babcock.


The deadline for submissions is June 20, 2016, end of the day. Submissions for symposia, oral presentations, and posters should be made through the SJDM website at http://www.sjdm.org/abstract-review/htdocs Technical questions can be addressed to the webmaster, Jon Baron, at webmaster@sjdm.org. All other questions can be addressed to the program chair, Nina Mazar, at nina.mazar@utoronto.ca.


At least one author of each presentation must be a member of SJDM. Joining at the time of submission will satisfy this requirement. You may join SJDM at http://www.sjdm.org/join.html. An individual may give only one talk and present only one poster, but may be a co-author on multiple talks and/or posters. Please note that both the membership rule and the one-talk/one-poster rule will be strictly enforced.


Travelers from certain countries may need extra lead time to obtain travel documents. Although we are unable to accept talks early, we can provide notification of an “accepted presentation.” This means that you would at least be guaranteed a poster. We can do this because posters are typically evaluated only for content and most are accepted. If you submit a talk, you will receive a notice of an accepted presentation immediately, and a decision on your talk at the usual time. To take advantage of this option, you should still submit through the regular process, and also send a request to the program chair, Nina Mazar, at nina.mazar@utoronto.ca.


The Best Student Poster Award is given for the best poster presentation whose first author is a student member of SJDM.

The Hillel Einhorn New Investigator Award is intended to encourage outstanding work by new researchers. Applications are due June 19, 2016. Further details are available at http://www.sjdm.org/awards/einhorn.html. Questions can be directed to Neil Stewart, neil.stewart@warwick.ac.uk.

The Jane Beattie Memorial Fund subsidizes travel to North America for a foreign scholar in pursuits related to judgment and decision research, including attendance at the annual SJDM meeting. Further details will be available at http://www.sjdm.org/awards/beattie.html.


Nina Mazar (Chair), Katy Milkman, Suzanne Shu, Ana Franco-Watkins, Thorsten Pachur, Meng Li, Bettina von Helversen, Oleg Urminsky, and Kate Wessels (conference coordinator)

April 27, 2016

Correlation between risk aversion and loss aversion

Filed in Articles ,Ideas ,Research News
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A student recently emailed us asking for some data from our 2008 paper:

Goldstein, Daniel G., Johnson, Eric J. & Sharpe, William F. (2008). Choosing outcomes versus choosing products: Consumer-focused retirement investment advice. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(3), 440-456.

In particular, they were interested in the correlation between estimates of risk aversion and loss aversion within a person, which can be seen in the above plot (Figure 4 in the article).

We thought, why not make the data open to the whole world. Here they are:

Goldstein, Johnson, Sharpe (2008) Loss Aversion and Risk Aversion Data

subject: An anonymous identifier indexing the unique human who submitted the data
dist: participants submitted two distributions (one right after another) in Year 1. They were invited back in Year 2 to submit distributions again. There was some dropout. This column tells you which distribution you are looking at.
riskAversion: this is the coefficient of relative risk aversion, commonly referred to as alpha
lossAversion: this is the coefficient of loss aversion, commonly referred to as lambda

Note: There are some extreme values in the data that will throw off your correlations. In the figure above, as noted in the paper, we just plot cases in which lambda is < 25. Here we’ll show how this affects the correlations:

Distribution Correlation
Year 1 Dist 1 0.65
Year 1 Dist 2 0.60
Year 2 Dist 1 0.52
Year 2 Dist 2 0.48

Distribution Correlation
Year 1 Dist 1 0.65
Year 1 Dist 2 0.88
Year 2 Dist 1 0.65
Year 2 Dist 2 0.56

Clearly, using the method of Goldstein, Johnson and Sharpe (2008), estimates between risk aversion and loss aversion are quite correlated. The method forces the correlation somewhat: the most loss averse data one can submit will necessarily be quite risk averse.

Feel free to download the data and draw your own conclusions, but please cite the above paper as the source if you do.

April 22, 2016

Society for Consumer Psychology (SCP) 2017 Winter Conference, Feb 16-17, 2017, San Francisco

Filed in Conferences
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Society for Consumer Psychology
Annual 2017 Winter Conference
Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California
February 16 – 18, 2017

The Society for Consumer Psychology (SCP) will be holding its Annual Winter Conference from February 16-18, 2017 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California. The Society for Consumer Psychology conference provides opportunities for a high level of interaction among participants interested in consumer research and in advancing the discipline of consumer psychology in a global society.

We are seeking proposals for symposia, original competitive papers, and working papers for presentation at the conference. We encourage a diverse set of ideas and approaches to consumer psychology. We also welcome diverse methodologies, including experimental research, survey research, conceptual and/or theoretical developments, or other methods relevant to the study of consumer psychology.


Submission Deadline

All symposium, competitive paper, and working paper submissions are due by Friday, August 12, 2016. We will send notification of acceptances in November 2016.

The conference website will be available for submissions between Monday, June 6, 2016, and midnight PST of the deadline, Friday, August 12, 2016.


Symposium sessions focus on a specific area of research. Submissions may share similar theoretical or methodological bases, or they may approach the same research question from different perspectives. Each session is 75 minutes and should include either three or four papers. The symposium chair is expected to lead the discussion—there will be no space in the program for discussants. Symposium chairs are responsible for submitting all materials by the deadline and ensuring that all session participants receive copies of each paper or presentation prior to the conference.

Symposium proposals should include the following:

  • The title of the symposium
  • A brief proposal describing the symposium’s objective, topics to be covered, likely audience, stage of completion of each paper, and how the session contributes to the field of consumer psychology.
  • The name, contact information, and affiliation of the symposium chair
  • The title of each presentation, with a listing of the authors and their affiliations and contact information. For multi-author papers, please underline the presenter.
  • A 75-100 word short abstract of each presentation (for publication in the conference program)
  • A 750-1000 word extended abstract of each presentation (for evaluation by the Program Committee)


Competitive Papers. Competitive papers present completed work and address substantive, methodological, or theoretical topics in consumer psychology. We will be grouping four competitive papers into a single 75 minute session. Authors will have 15 minutes to present their work, followed by approximately five minutes for questions.

Working Papers. In contrast, working papers typically report the results of research in its early stages. Authors of accepted working papers will present their work during a Focused Reports Session during the conference. This is a new format for the working papers that will replace the poster session. Authors of accepted working papers should plan to present a 5-minute summary of their work to an audience in a focused session. Authors will be allowed to have a power point deck to aid their presentation, but presentations must be kept to 5 minutes. This will be followed by a reception, in which interested parties can ask questions about the research presented.

Detailed guidelines about the focused presentations will be sent with the acceptance notices.

Competitive Paper and Working Paper submissions should include the following:

  • The title of the paper
  • Nature of submission: Competitive or Working Paper
  • The name, contact information, and affiliation of the author(s). For multi-author papers, please underline the presenter.
  • A 75-100 word short abstract (for publication in the conference program)
  • A 750-1000 word extended abstract that summarizes the motivation, conceptualization, methodology, and major findings (for evaluation by reviewers)

Note: Please indicate if the first author is a PhD student. (If so, the paper will be considered for the Best Student Paper Award.)


Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the research
  • Contribution to the field of consumer psychology Interest of the topic to SCP members.

Each SCP participant may present in no more than two sessions. When submitting a symposium or paper to this conference, you must agree to be available at any time on both days of the conference (Friday 2/17 and Saturday 2/18) to give your presentation. If you will not be available on one of the days, please arrange for a co-author to give the presentation. We will not consider date/time change requests for presentations unless a presenter has been inadvertently scheduled to give two presentations in the same time slot.


All submissions should be single-spaced Microsoft Word documents.

Submissions should be made electronically through the conference website at http://www.chilleesys.com/scp/. The website will provide additional information about the conference and serve as an interface for authors and reviewers.

To submit your proposal, please follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for the submission system: When you first enter the conference website, you will be required to sign up to use the website submission system. Here you will provide your name and contact information and be provided with a login name and password. You will use this login whenever you navigate the submission system. Please keep track of this information.

Some e-mail addresses are already signed up in our database. Please use the website password reminder function if you see the following message: “The E-mail address you entered has been already registered with our database. Please proceed to Log In page. If you forgot your password, please click here.”

[Note: When you complete this step, you will have only signed up with the conference website. This is NOT the registration for the conference.]

  1. Enter the submission information: Once in the submission system, you will be asked to submit the information requested above for the symposium, competitive, or working paper submission. Please note that in order to facilitate reviewer assignment, you will also be asked to provide content and methodological area codes.


As in recent years, there will be a day-long doctoral symposium immediately before the main conference, that is, on Thursday, February 16. Relevant details will be announced separately by the symposium co-chairs Kelly Goldsmith (Northwestern University) and Cassie Mogilner (UCLA).


The Palace Hotel is located at 2 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. The telephone number is: 1 (415) 512-1111.

When making reservations you must mention that you are with the Society for Consumer Psychology to obtain the $229.00/night rate.

Visit the hotel website at: http://www.sfpalace.com

If you have questions, please email the conference co-chairs at: scp2017@sauder.ubc.ca


As in recent years, there will be a social event on the evening of the last day of the conference (Saturday, Feb 18). Relevant details will be coming soon and it is guaranteed to be an epic evening!

Conference Co-chairs

Kate White – University of British Columbia
On Amir –  University of California San Diego

April 15, 2016

What are the most educated counties in the US?

Filed in Encyclopedia ,R
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People ask us “what are the most educated counties in the USA”? It turns out the census keeps track of this sort of thing. We found a table called ACS_14_1YR_S1501.csv in the American Community Survey; look for stuff on educational attainment by county. And it was an easy bit of R to get the answers. We computed two things:


  • The percentage of the 25 and older population with a graduate or professional degree
  • The percentage of the population (of any age) with a bachelor’s degree or higher

Here’s how it came out:

Top US counties by percentage of people 25 and up with graduate or professional degrees in 2014:

Rank County % with graduate degree
1 Arlington County, Virginia 36.70
2 Alexandria city, Virginia 32.90
3 Montgomery County, Maryland 31.60
4 District of Columbia, District of Columbia 30.60
5 Howard County, Maryland 30.50
6 Fairfax County, Virginia 30.20
7 Orange County, North Carolina 30.00
8 New York County, New York 28.50
9 Tompkins County, New York 28.40
10 Washtenaw County, Michigan 28.30
11 Boulder County, Colorado 26.90
12 Story County, Iowa 26.00
13 Middlesex County, Massachusetts 25.70
14 Marin County, California 25.60
15 Albemarle County, Virginia 25.40
16 Benton County, Oregon 25.30
17 Monroe County, Indiana 25.20
18 Loudoun County, Virginia 24.80
19 Riley County, Kansas 23.90
20 Johnson County, Iowa 23.80
21 Westchester County, New York 23.60
22 Somerset County, New Jersey 23.50
23 James City County, Virginia 23.30
24 Norfolk County, Massachusetts 23.10
25 Santa Clara County, California 22.30

Top US counties by percentage of people with Bachelors degrees or higher in 2014:

Rank County % with Bachelors or higher
1 Arlington County, Virginia 71.50
2 Alexandria city, Virginia 62.80
3 Fairfax County, Virginia 60.30
4 Howard County, Maryland 59.90
5 New York County, New York 59.90
6 Loudoun County, Virginia 58.70
7 Montgomery County, Maryland 58.50
8 Boulder County, Colorado 58.00
9 Douglas County, Colorado 56.50
10 Hamilton County, Indiana 56.30
11 Williamson County, Tennessee 56.10
12 Marin County, California 55.20
13 District of Columbia, District of Columbia 55.00
14 Orange County, North Carolina 55.00
15 San Francisco County, California 54.20
16 Somerset County, New Jersey 53.70
17 Johnson County, Iowa 53.60
18 Benton County, Oregon 53.50
19 Washtenaw County, Michigan 53.00
20 Morris County, New Jersey 53.00
21 Johnson County, Kansas 52.80
22 Tompkins County, New York 52.40
23 Middlesex County, Massachusetts 52.30
24 Delaware County, Ohio 52.20
25 Norfolk County, Massachusetts 51.90

R Code to follow along at home

Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/aQM3Z

April 13, 2016

Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research (TIBER) Symposium, 26 Aug 2016

Filed in Conferences
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The Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research is happy to announce the 15th TIBER Symposium on Psychology and Economics, to be held on August 26, 2016 at Tilburg University.

The Symposium
The goal of this series of symposia is to establish contact and discussion between Economists, Psychologists, Marketing researchers and others who work on Behavioral Decision Making, either in individual or interdependent settings. We look for empirical contributions from diverse fields, such as Individual Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, Bargaining, Social Dilemmas, Experimental Games, Emotions, Fairness and Justice, Rational Choice, and related subjects.

The symposium consists of two keynotes, a number of parallel sessions with presentations of 20 minutes, and a poster session. We are proud to have Dan Goldstein from Microsoft Research and Lise Vesterlund of the University of Pittsburgh as this year’s keynote speakers.

Call for Abstracts
If you would like to contribute to TIBER by presenting your research, we invite you to submit an abstract of max. 250 words.

June 1 Deadline for submission of abstracts
June 15 Selection of speakers
August 26 Symposium at Tilburg University

You can submit your abstract and find more information about the the symposium on our website:

If you have any questions regarding the symposium, feel free to contact Arnoud Plantinga : a.plantinga at tilburguniversity.edu

Kind Regards,
Arnoud Plantinga, Ilja van Beest, Rik Pieters, Jan Potters, and Marcel Zeelenberg,

April 7, 2016

The representative reviewers project for the SJDM conference

Filed in Conferences ,R ,SJDM ,SJDM-Conferences
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Click to enlarge

Perhaps because it is an election year in the US, we’ve been thinking a lot about proportional representation.

The Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) is a diverse academic society, with people coming from about seven academic fields (or groups of related fields). See above.

Nina Mazar (SJDM Program Committee Chair) and Dan Goldstein (SJDM President) have been thinking about the following question: What can we do to help assure the papers accepted to the SJDM conference reflect the interests of the membership?

This lead to the “representative reviewer project”. Based on the membership chart above and a simple R script, we tested candidate sets of reviewers to see how well they matched the interests of the society. We tweaked the set of reviewers until we got as close as we could to proportional representation of fields.

We’ve sent out invitations to a representative set of reviewers. If you’ve been invited, please say “yes”. You’re representing a whole category of researcher.

We keep saying “representative”, but one might ask “representative of what?” The survey of the membership just includes faculty (as opposed to students members) who have paid dues in the last three years. So it’s a bit backward looking, which is okay. If the society is going to change focus, it should do so slowly. We at the Decision Science News feel that the Society for Judgment and Decision Making should be about judgment and decision making. If one is not careful, the field can run away from it’s name, like how the field of social psychology is no longer about social psychology.

March 31, 2016

SJDM members by field and gender

Filed in Research News ,SJDM
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In order to make sure that decisions made for the Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) reflect the membership of the Society, we wanted to see some stats about the membership. Unfortunately, good stats on the members don’t exist. Sure, we did some crude analyses a while back, mostly about geography. However, this time we we wanted more precise information about gender balance and academic disciplines. So, we undertook an analysis. This was a lot of work. Please see the end for the methods. But first, graphs!

Gender overall


Count in all subfields

Click to enlarge

Count in major subfields. In this figure:

  • Psych comprises Cognitive Psych, Social Psych and Psych (Other)
  • Business comprises Marketing, Org Behavior, and Econ

Click to enlarge

Fields within gender

Click to enlarge


  • Started with the member database
  • Excluded people who haven’t paid dues since 2012
  • Excluded student members
  • Excluded members who didn’t specify an institution in their profiles

This left 695 names. We then:

  • Went person by person through the list and looked them up online
  • Coded each person’s gender. We couldn’t determine it 5 times and coded it as NA
  • Coded each person’s academic field. If we couldn’t determine the field, usually because a lack of a CV, we coded it as NA. If the person worked in industry, we coded it as NA. There were 67 NAs for field overall.

This took about 10 hours, mostly done after dinner, in front of the television.

We coded things in the following way:

  • People working in Marketing departments were classified as Marketing
  • People working in Management or Organizational Behavior departments were classified as Org Behavior
  • People who had mostly Cognitive Psych or Cognitive Science publications were classified as Cognitive Psych
  • People who had mostly Social Psych publications were classified as Social Psych
  • People working in Neuroscience, Developmental Psych, and other kinds of psych were classified as Psych (Other)
  • People with a wide variety of psych publications were classified as Psych (Other)
  • People in Econ, Accounting, Finance, and OR were classified as Econ, Acct, Fin, OR
  • People in Policy, Law, and Medicine were classified as Policy, Law, Med


Mark Horowitz made a “Tree Map” from the data and sent it in. Thanks!



March 22, 2016

The thing that matters most about coffee is the temperature at which you drink it

Filed in Ideas ,Tools
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Over here at Decision Science News, we like Engineering All The Things.  Accordingly, in an obsessive coffee phase, we acquired:

If you want to experiment, knock yourself out. What the figure above shows is that something around 55 grams of coffee per liter of water is considered ideal, but you can play around in the 50 to 65 grams / liter range. It’s harder to set where you want to be on the red lines without expensive equipment, but generally as you grind the coffee finer and brew longer you move up and to the right.

We have:

  • Experimented with the brew temperature from 195 – 205 F (91 – 96 C)
  • Experimented with the drinking temperature
  • Experimented with 50 to 65 grams of coffee per liter water
  • Experimented with the coarseness of the grind, burr, and blade grinders
  • Experimented with methods like Aeropress, French press, pourover methods
  • Even experimented with fancy coffee, filtered water, etc.

The result of all this informal experimentation on ourselves was not what we were expecting.

The result of all this experimentation was that, for overall taste, the thing that matters most is the temperature at which you drink the coffee. Given that you are making coffee with standard parameter ranges, it all basically tastes the same holding drinking temperature constant.

The effect of cooling on the taste of coffee is substantial. I am not the first one to have noticed this, but it seems to be a rather unappreciated point.


  • Drink it too hot, it tastes like garbage
  • Drink it too cold, it tastes like garbage
  • Drink it between 130 and 140 F (54 – 60 C) and it tastes amazing
  • Within normal ranges, nothing else matters much

Given our admittedly American tastes, this is how we make our coffee (because you’ve got to choose something):

  • Coffee maker
  • 195 degrees (low brew temps do taste a bit better, see below re: Aeropress)
  • 55 grams of coffee / liter water
  • Ground so it looks like what you see when opening a can of supermarket coffee
  • No milk, no sugar
  • Consume at 135 degrees (57 C)

Exception: In all our playing around, we did find that an Americano made using the Aeropress is an amazingly smooth cup of joe. They recommend brewing at about 170 degrees F. We also found that a lower brew temp, even with a coffee maker, does taste smoother.

But drinking temperature matters most.

Figure credit: http://www.engineerjobs.com/magazine/2013/engineering-perfect-cup-coffee.htm