October 3, 2019

  The President-Elect of the EU Commission Ursula van der Leyen, the Austrian Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Secretary Genera Elhadj As Syl, the CEO of Penguin Random House Markus Dohle, billionaire philanthropist and Chair of Bertelsmann Management Group Liz Mohn, and two dozen other high-profile global elites joined me at Trilogue Salzburg in August 2019.   This yearly event is described by its organizers as follows: “Surrounded by the stimulating atmosphere of the Salzburg Festival, the… Read more

September 28, 2019

  Imagine you’re really excited about a new idea for a collaborative project. You send an e-mail about it to a friend who you just know is going to be as excited as you. You’re waiting on pins and needles for a response, checking your inbox every hour. A couple of hours pass, then a couple more. You’re getting stressed and anxious, waiting on the edge of your seat for a reply. The next day goes by, and another day…. Read more

September 23, 2019

We frequently use debates to resolve different opinions about the truth. However, debates are not always the best course for figuring out the truth. In more emotionally charged situations, the technique of collaborative truth-seeking is often better.   The Problem with Debates   The usual method of hashing out disagreements in order to discover the truth about reality is through debates, in person or online. Yet more often than not, people on opposing sides of a debate end up seeking… Read more

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

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