Hacking the Time/Money Trade-off, An Unsuccessful Nudge, plus more weekly links

thepsychlist_greenA selection of recent behavioral science news, articles, and resources of note:

  • Facebook released a series of videos this week aimed at helping other companies address unconscious biases in the workplace. Announcing the new project, Sheryl Sandberg wrote, “We know we still have a long way to go, but by helping people recognize and correct for bias, we can take a step towards equality—at work, at home and in everyday life.”  (Facebook)
  • How much is your time worth? If you’re like most, you’re probably a pretty poor judge. You rely on your intuition and ego to decide whether you should hire a laundry service, do your own tax return, or buy the cheap (and slow) flight to New York. New apps are helping people see the true value of their time, while others are asking if it’s really all that good to know how much every minute is worth. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Research has shown again and again and again that if you want people to do something, just tell them most people do it. But in a recent experiment, employees were actually less likely to sign up for a retirement plan when told that most of their co-workers had already done so. Researchers are still scratching their heads at why. (NPR)
  • A white lab coat symbolizes prestige, competence, and authority, which is probably why doctors in the U.S. are fighting so hard to keep them despite overwhelming evidence they’re usually rife with antibiotic-resistant super bacteria and other germs that spread disease and lead to unnecessary deaths. (Vocativ)
  • Everybody likes trees, and research suggests they’re pretty good for you, too. Hospital patients with leafy views recover sooner and people who walk in nature feel happier. Adding to the case for trees is a recent study that surveyed 94,000 Toronto residents and found that greener blocks had significantly healthier residents—an additional 10 trees was equivalent to being $10,000 richer or 7 years younger by their estimates. (The New Yorker)
  • If you read about Mike Norton’s and Dan Ariely’s study of Americans’ perception of inequality back in 2011, you know we’re shockingly ignorant. A new study supports this finding. They found wealthy people largely believe other people are wealthier than they actually are, illustrating a troubling symptom of America’s increasingly segregated classes. (Washington Post)
  • For students preparing to head off to college this fall, network science has some insight into how freshmen should spend those first few awkward, nerve-wracking weeks. As Yale Sociologist and Physician Nicholas A. Christakis writes, “Whether students feel happy or sad, or catch the flu, or learn new things can all depend, in significant measure, on their ties to one another.” (New York Times)


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