September 18, 2019

  To evaluate unconscious bias caused by cognitive biases, first think about these three questions:   What percentage of projects in your workplace miss the deadline or go over budget? How often do you see hiring decisions and employee assessments influenced by factors not relevant to job competency? How frequently are your team’s members overconfident about their decisions? If you didn’t answer “rare to none” for any of these, you got a problem. In fact, these questions get at only… Read more

September 12, 2018

Traditionally,  identifying truth in politics comes from mainstream media and its fact checking. A recent Gallup poll, however, showed that only 29 percent of Americans trust fact checking.   Research in behavioral science suggests that we can address the spread of misinformation through a number of other effective strategies, which are brought together in the Pro-Truth Pledge (PTP) project. Several months ago, I wrote a post explaining the Pro-Truth Pledge and its mission. Since that time, two peer-reviewed studies have… Read more

August 27, 2018

Caption: Photo of Rudy Giuliani (Courtesy of Gage Skidmore)   “Truth isn’t truth” according to Rudy Giuliani, a statement he made on August 19th on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The phrase was immediately derided as a verbal blunder embodying the Trump administration’s complete disregard for the facts. Yet a closer look at Giuliani’s message shows an underlying strategic approach to undermining the truth similar to that used by “scientists” producing industry-sponsored studies rejecting human-caused climate change and links between tobacco… Read more

August 21, 2018

Caption: Photo of Starbucks coffee store sign (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) On May 29, over 8,000 Starbucks stores across the US closed their doors for a racial bias training. Starbucks intended this training to serve both as a PR effort to address the outrage over a store manager whose racial bias led to two black customers arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, and to prevent such incidents in the future. Unfortunately, racial bias trainings often fail, especially when done by inexperienced… Read more

August 16, 2018

Caption: Sad business woman (pxhere) Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal led to a massive fall in the Facebook’s stock price, governments around the world discussing new regulations, commenters from the left and the right calling for breaking up Facebook, multiple lawsuits, and many people leaving Facebook. After three recent incidents with pets on United Airlines, the company’s favorability rating fell and customers who heard about the incidents were significantly more likely to choose another airline. Equifax is in the… Read more

July 5, 2018

Caption: Woman looking at homeopathic medicine (Wikimedia Commons)   At least 10 US children died and over 400 were sickened after taking homeopathic teething medicine laced with a poisonous herb called “deadly nightshade.” Carried by CVS, Walgreens, and other major American pharmacies, the pills contained this poison based on the alternative medicine principle of homeopathy, the treatment of medical conditions by tiny doses of natural substances that produce symptoms of disease.   These children did not have to die. Numerous… Read more

January 18, 2018

Donald Trump’s “Fake News Awards” for what he calls “the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media” have drawn mockery. However, behavioral science research suggests they are deadly serious. These awards create an institution for Trump’s relentless attacks on mainstream media and position Trump as the only voice who gets to determine truthful media. Unfortunately, the typical style of news coverage will perpetuate Trump’s agenda. However, a different style informed by behavioral science strategies would convey more accurate information… Read more

December 23, 2017

President Donald Trump called the recently-passed tax bill “an incredible Christmas gift” for middle-class Americans. In reality, the tax bill takes money from the pockets of middle-class Americans and gives it to corporations. Anyone who claims the tax bill primarily benefits the middle class is spreading falsehoods.   With the new bill, the tax rate for corporations is reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent. That makes a total reduction of 40 percent from what they were paying earlier. Other… Read more

December 21, 2017

It’s the holiday season, which means plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable interactions with family members about politics. How can you deal with such conversations effectively? My aunt invited me to her holiday party recently, where I sat across the table from my distant cousin Mark. He proclaimed the benefits of the Democratic Party’s recent efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, arguing that it will be very good for the economy, and denouncing those who argued against it… Read more

December 19, 2017

Do you want your medical treatment to be based on science? The Trump administration disagrees. It apparently banned the top US public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from using 7 words, including “evidence-based” and “science-based.”   Prominent public health advocates have expressed outrage about these measures. For example, Sandro Galea, an epidemiologist and dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, tweeted “This is astonishing.  It would be a parody of a flailing effort… Read more

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