[ View menu ]

February 19, 2016

2016 Summer Institute on Bounded Rationality, Max Planck Inst, Berlin

Filed in Programs ,Research News
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)



The 2016 Summer Institute on Bounded Rationality will take place on June 27 – July 5, 2016, at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany.

The 15th Summer Institute brings together renowned scientists, talented young researchers and early career practitioners whose aim is to understand and improve decision-making. They should be receptive to crossing disciplinary boundaries and be willing to critically evaluate reigning assumptions in their fields.

The aim is to foster understanding the process and quality of decisionmaking and to apply this knowledge to the real world, enabling people to make better choices for themselves. To this end, it offers a unique forum for decision-making scholars and practitioners from various disciplines to share their approaches, discuss their research and applications, and to inspire each other.

This year’s Summer Institute focuses on how we can understand decision-making in individuals and groups for better environmental, economic, government policy-making, and health choices.

The keynote address will be given by Sir David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

The directors of the Summer Institute, Gerd Gigerenzer and Ralph Hertwig, encourage scholars and young practitioners from all fields to apply.

Participation will be free, accommodation will be provided, and travel expenses will be partly reimbursed.

Further information (incl. contact details and application procedure):


Deadline for applications: 27 March 2016

February 8, 2016

Hooray for experts

Filed in Gossip ,Ideas
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)



From this article:

Paying less than $3.00 per gallon for gasoline may be automotive history for most Americans, like using 8-track tapes or going to a drive-in movie,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “The reality is that expensive gas is here to stay, which is tough on millions of people who need a car to live their lives. While a few lucky drivers may occasionally pay less than $3.00 per gallon, the national average is likely to remain more costly into the future.

Aaand today’s AAA national average gas price is $1.75.

In an election year, it’s good to keep in mind these quotes about Obama’s prospects in 2008, from this article.

“Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary.” — William Kristol


“The right knows Obama is unelectable except perhaps against Attila the Hun.” — Mark Penn


“Sen. Obama cannot possibly believe, and doesn’t even act as if he believes, that he can be elected president of the United States next year.” — Christopher Hitchens

… and plenty more poor predictions about Obama in 2008 here.

Does this mean humans suffer from a chronic overconfidence bias? We don’t think so. These experts had short term incentives to make predictions, some even had incentives to make bad predictions to impart the illusion of “social proof”. And remember, bad, bold forecasts are amusing because they’re rare.

The takeaway here is that if you don’t want to be called out in the future, don’t sound certain about uncertain things.

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

February 3, 2016

COBE 2016: List of accepted presentations

Filed in Conferences
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)



We are pleased to announce the accepted presentations for COBE 2016 (the workshop on Crowdsourcing and Online Behavioral Experiments at the WWW 2016 Conference in Montreal). Thanks to all who contributed!

COBE Website: decisionresearchlab.com/cobe/
Date: April 12th, 2016
Location: A workshop at the WWW 2016 Conference, Montreal, Canada

Accepted papers:

Time Authors Title
TBA Eytan Bakshy, Drew Dimmery and John Myles White Design-based Adaptive experimentation
TBA Andrew Mao TurkServer
TBA Kevin Munger Tweetment Effects on the Tweeted: Social Norm Promotion on Online Harassers
TBA Greg Stoddard Guess the Karma: Predicting popularity on Reddit
TBA Patrick McKnight, Jacob Quartuccio, Michele Saad and David Nicholas Response validity in crowdsourcing studies: An empirical investigation into sources of noise
TBA Tad Hogg and Kristina Lerman Disentangling the Effects of Social Signals in Crowdsourcing


The World Wide Web has resulted in new and unanticipated avenues for conducting large-scale behavioral experiments. Crowdsourcing sites like Amazon Mechanical Turk, CrowdFlower, Upwork, TaskRabbit, among others, have given researchers access to a large participant pool that operates around the clock. As a result, behavioral researchers in academia have turned to crowdsourcing sites in large numbers. Moreover, websites like eBay, Yelp and Reddit have become places where researchers can conduct field experiments. Companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Yahoo! conduct hundreds of randomized experiments on a daily basis. We may be rapidly reaching a point where most behavioral experiments will be done online.

The main purpose of this workshop is to bring together researchers conducting behavioral experiments online to share new results, methods and best practices.
Topics of Interest

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Online behavioral experiments
  • Online field experiments
  • Online natural or quasi-experiments
  • Online surveys
  • Human computation

Organizing Committee

Siddharth Suri, Microsoft Research NYC
Winter A. Mason, Facebook
Daniel G. Goldstein, Microsoft Research NYC

Program Committee
Alessandro Acquisti, Carnegie Mellon University
Pavel Atanasov, Polly Portfolio
Eytan Bakshy, Facebook
Laura Brandimarte, Carnegie Mellon University
Jesse J. Chandler, Mathematica
Yiling Chen, Harvard University
Nicolas Della Penna, Australian National University
Dean Eckles, MIT Sloan
Alice Gao, University of British Columbia
Sam Gosling, University of Texas at Austin
John Horton, NYU Stern
Eric Johnson, Columbia University
Brian Keegan, Northeastern University
Peter Krafft, MIT
Andrew Mao, Microsoft Research
Akitaka Matsuo, Nuffield College, Oxford University
Gabriele Paolacci, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Eyal Pe’er, Bar-Ilan University
Ragan Petrie, George Mason University
Alexander Peysakhovich, Facebook
David Rand, Yale Unviersity
David Rothschild, Microsoft Research
Sven Seuken, University of Zurich
Sean Taylor, Facebook
Florian Teschner, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Jennifer Wortman Vaughan, Microsoft Research
Jens Witkowski, ETH Zurich
Georgios Zervas, Boston University School of Management
Peter Zubcsek, University of Florida Warrington College of Business


As always, you are welcome to enjoy cocktails at the bar with us after COBE in the evening. It’s a tradition!

See you at COBE!


January 26, 2016

Don’t believe quotation websites

Filed in Gossip ,Ideas
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)



A conference organizer recently reached out to your Decision Science News editor (Dan Goldstein, aka me) asking if they could use the above quote in promotional materials.

I doubted it was my quote. Doesn’t sound like the kind of thing I’d say. But who knows. It does relate to future self stuff, which I do talk about. Perhaps I said it after a few beers and forgot.

After poking around, I figured out it’s a Dan Gilbert quote that got attributed to me, Dan Goldstein. Apart from the fact that Gilbert is a far bigger shot than Goldstein, it’s a forgivable mistake. We’re both Dans. We’re even Daniel Gs. We’re both psychologists, with TED talks, who’ve researched consumer financial decision making. I even spent a semester in Gilbert’s lab.

So one source mixing it up one time is forgivable.

But check this out. The whole Internet has it wrong:


One reason I suspected this wasn’t my quote is that I’m not that good with words. Dan Gilbert, on the other hand, is great with words. Gilbert’s a guy who dropped out of high school to become a professional science fiction writer.

Due to the magic of non-independent errors, the Internet mistakenly believes that I too dropped out of high school to become a science fiction writer.



Three things you can quote me on:

  • Don’t trust quote websites
  • I didn’t say that thing about the brain
  • I didn’t drop out of high school to become a science fiction writer


Coincidentally, Dan Gilbert has a paper called You can’t not believe everything you read which suggests that reading an incorrectly attributed quotation might cause you to believe the incorrect attribution. So this blog post may have messed you up. Sorry!

Professorships in Social Decision Making in Tilburg (Social, Economic, and Organizational Psychology)

Filed in Jobs
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)


Social proof says go to Tilburg

Start date: May 2016 to September 2016

The Department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University (the Netherlands) is a vibrant group comprised of Social, Economic and Organizational psychologists. Our department fosters an intellectually stimulating and productive environment, advancing knowledge on social decision making and contributing to the effective practices of organizations and society. Our research is highly recognized, both nationally and internationally, in conjunction with the interdisciplinary research institute TIBER (Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research). The department makes use of diverse and state-of–the-art research facilities (multi-use lab spaces, on-line data collection, mobile computing, psychophysiological and neurocognitive equipment) in addition to a dedicated research support staff (lab assistants, programming and technical support).

Job description and qualifications
Starting September 2016 the department of social psychology participates in a new Dutch bachelor of psychology and a new international bachelor of psychology, both including specific majors on social psychology, economic psychology, and work & organizational psychology. The department’s research program centers on Social Decision Making: Department members seek to understand how individual and interdependent decisions are shaped by social, economic and organizational settings.

(1)Research (ca 50%): we expect you to conduct and publish research, write grant proposals, seek connections to stakeholders in the field, and valorize findings.
(2)Teaching (ca 50%): we expect you to supervise students at BSc and MSc level, teach a variety of (English language) courses at both the Bachelors’ and Masters’ level, including the two-year Research Master program, obtain a basic teaching qualification (BKO).
(3)Service: we expect you to contribute to academic citizenship (e.g., regular office hours, participate in weekly lab meetings, colloquia) and management (e.g., member of education committee, lab coordinator, member of ethical committee, etc.).

To further strengthen our teaching and research profile, we seek applicants who
(1) recently completed a PhD in social, economic or organizational psychology,
(2) are willing to teach any course offered by the department,
(3) take preferably an experimental approach to understand social decision making,
(4) have preferably experience with valorizing research findings and/or a good CV to apply for personal grants.

Employment terms and conditions
Tilburg University is rated among the top Dutch employers, offering excellent terms of employment. For the tenure track position there is a 5 years fixed term contract with the possibility of tenure thereafter. The full-time gross salary ranges between € 3400,- and € 4654,- per month (not including various allowances). Employees from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary. Tilburg University is an equal opportunity employer.

Information and application
Specific information about the vacancy can be directed to Dr. Ilja van Beest, (professor of social psychology, Head of Department, tel. +31134662472, i.vanbeest@uvt.nl) or Dr. Marcel Zeelenberg, (professor of economic psychology, tel. +31134668381, m.zeelenberg@uvt.nl). Website.

A CV, letter of motivation (including research and teaching statement), teaching evaluations (if available), and one recent publication should be sent before 1 March 2016 to Hans-Georg van Liempd MSc, Managing Director Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University (only by using the link below). Interviews, job talks and campus visits with applicants are scheduled in April / May 2016.

Click here to apply

January 11, 2016

White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) now hiring

Filed in Jobs
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)



The White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) is currently seeking new team members to join in Washington, D.C. for a one-year fellowship beginning in October 2016. Since its inception in 2014, the SBST has completed over 15 randomized evaluations with a diverse set of agency collaborators. Learn more about the President’s recent Executive Order “Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People,” the 2015 Annual Report, the team and recent activities by visiting the team’s website, https://sbst.gov.

Fellows and Associate Fellows translate insights from the social and behavioral sciences into concrete recommendations on how to improve Federal programs, policies, and operations. We work closely with agency collaborators to identify the opportunities for improvement and to evaluate the relative efficiency and effectiveness of proposed interventions.

To learn more about the responsibilities and qualifications of Fellow and Associate Fellows, and details on how to apply for this unique opportunity, please visit https://sbst.gov/apply. The deadline to submit an application is 11:59 PM on Sunday, January 24th, 2016.

Please contact sbst@gsa.gov with any questions.

January 8, 2016

Psychology’s reproducibility project listed by Science Magazine as a top breakthrough of 2015

Filed in Articles ,Jobs ,Programs ,Research News
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)



Science Magazine’s list of scientific breakthroughs for 2015 included the Psychology’s reproducibility project. While it didn’t win breakthrough of the year, the reproducibility project has been praised in other year-end roundups, according to the APS.

Low replication rates hurt psychology’s reputation, but the project that discovered these rates helped it. The positive effects of the project will be felt for a long time.

December 28, 2015

High level job at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Filed in Jobs
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)


CFPB Job Announcement as PDF

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking an experienced researcher to lead the Decision Making and Behavioral Studies team within the Office of Research. This interdisciplinary team holds expertise spanning economics, psychology, and decision sciences, and conducts primary research to build foundational knowledge on behavioral science as well as provides input into policy projects. The team designs and fields surveys; implements the current research agendas on disclosure and the dynamics of household balance sheets; support rulemaking teams in developing and implementing policy; advises cross-agency teams on the design and evaluation of public-facing tools to support consumer financial decision-making; develops and conducts economic experiments in laboratory settings that contribute to foundational knowledge on consumer decision-making; and collaborates with financial services providers to conduct rigorous field trials of financial products and disclosures that have promising opportunities for consumers’ finances and comprehension of financial products.

The ideal candidates will have a Ph.D. in economics, psychology, or other social sciences; demonstrated expertise in behavioral science through peer-reviewed journal articles and other publications; experience leading projects that incorporate primary data collection methods, including randomized controlled field trials, laboratory experiments, or surveys; and leadership and management experience.

Interested? Contact jobs@cfpb.gov

December 23, 2015

BDRM and COBE 2016 deadlines December 30, 2015

Filed in Conferences
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)



Two great conferences for decision research folks have deadlines of December 30, 2015.

COBE (Crowdsourcing and Online Behavioral Experiments) DEADLINE DEC 30, 2015

See the call for papers. COBE takes place in April 2016 in Montreal.

BDRM (Behavioral Decision Research in Management) DEADLINE DEC 30, 2015

See the call for papers. BDRM takes place in Toronto in June 2016.

December 14, 2015

Change how you see the countries of the world: This time with infographics

Filed in Encyclopedia ,Ideas ,Programs ,Research News
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)


Syria is about the size of Florida with about the same population



Change how you see the world. Put things into perspective!

In our most labor-intensive post ever, Jake Hofman and I have created, for every country in the world, a way to think of that country’s area and population in terms of US states. It’s all part of a larger project improving comprehension of numbers in the news. [See our working paper, a longer version of which was recently accepted at CHI 2016].

You’ll see 13 fascinating examples below. Check them out and come back to …

… educate yourself and contribute valuable data

We’re trying to advance the science of examples. What example should a teacher or journalist use when putting a country into perspective? For instance, in the image above, we could have said that Syria is about the same size as Washington but with three times the population. This is factually more accurate, but might also be more difficult for people to remember or use. So we thought we might get some feedback from readers and find out what makes appealing examples

Please go here, hit “random”, vote for an example, hit “submit” and repeat until you’re bored silly. You’ll be advancing research that can help teachers, journalists, and scientists communicate better.

You can see every country here.

Afghanistan is about the size of Texas with about the same population


Australia is about 10 times the size of Texas with about the same population



Austria is about the size of Virginia with about the same population



China is about the size of The United States with about 4 times the population



Germany is about the size of California with about twice the population



Iraq is about the size of California with about the same population



Israel is about the size of New Jersey with about the same population



Japan is about the size of California with about 3 times the population



Kenya is about the size of Texas with about twice the population



North Korea is about the size of New York with about the same population



Philippines is about the size of New Mexico with about 50 times the population



Turkey is about the size of Texas with about 3 times the population



United Kingdom is about the size of Wyoming with about 100 times the population



We’ve done something similar before, but just for area, and it didn’t have pictures. This is so much better (and harder). Want to reward our hard work? Go here, hit “random”, and give us precious training data.