July 30, 2016

Boxing Out at the Democratic National Convention: The Democrats Cover Republican Court

On Thursday night, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar addressed the Democratic National Convention. Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s third all-time leading rebounder, knows a few things about the strategy of boxing out. He definitely wasn’t the only one on the stage who did. The entire show on the final night of the DNC was an object lesson in boxing out. […]

July 29, 2016

Motivated Reasoning: Seeing what you want to see (or don’t want to see) in Tim Kaine

Is it possible for a major-party candidate to be both too liberal and too conservative? That was the quandary of the Washington Post in an article headlined, “Kaine Not Liberal Enough? Just Ask Virginians.” The Post points out the irony between the criticism among groups claiming to speak for progressives (“a loyal servant of the […]

July 12, 2016

Doctors’ Disclosure of Bias: Why Get a Second Opinion if You Don’t Know What to Do with the First?

When you get advice from a doctor (or any other professional), you want to know if they have any potential biases. A potential financial conflict-of-interest might cause you to discount a doctor’s advice, even when offered in good faith based on professional expertise. In some instances, according to former physician and Cornell management professor Sunita […]

July 5, 2016

Spinning Brexit

Thanks to Motivated Reasoning, We Don’t Let Facts Get in the Way of Our Beliefs Mathematical aptitude does not inoculate people from biased thinking. In fact, being math-smart can actually make you more likely to interpret statistics to fit preexisting biases. I thought about this while I was watching an interview with Nigel Farage on […]

June 28, 2016

Work Martyrs and Mental Accounting: The Mystery of Lost Vacation Time

I just learned, thanks to an excellent Washington Post article, “Are You a Work Martyr?”, that every year we fail to use 658 million days of vacation time. The consequences reverberate through the economy, according to Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson. According to the article, 90% of full-time U.S workers receive some form of paid […]

June 20, 2016

The Power of Position: “Showcase Showdown” at Party Conventions?

A friend sent me a link to a YouTube video called “The Stupidest Bid on The Price is Right.” I am fascinated by the lessons we can learn from watching game shows. The video was interesting but I think it was incorrectly named. I hope some of the 13 million-plus people who viewed this video […]

June 15, 2016

Annie’s Analysis

I’m glad you found my website. This is where I write about topics from the news, analyzing how some aspect of the story helps us understand learning and decision science. My blogs have covered a range of topics from the news: business, politics, lottery jackpots, new study results about health and relationships, terrorism, and shark […]

June 2, 2016

Shark Attacks, Availability Bias, and a Possible Conspiracy by the Shark-Industrial Complex

Everybody collects something. We start as kids: dolls, action-figures, cards, coins. As adults, we either give up those collections or intensify our efforts. Like sharks, our interests can only live by moving forward. But if they die, other obsessions take their place. One of my friends collects images of unexpected groups of famous people. (Lou […]

April 27, 2016

Dieting and the “January Effect”: Our Predictable Irrationality

For anybody who hasn’t read Dan Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational, I highly recommend it. Dan, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke, is one of the world’s best analysts in the ways we act … predictably irrational. His writing (two follow-up books, along with hundreds of academic papers and articles in popular media […]

April 25, 2016

“Boxing Out” with a VP: What Charles Barkley and Game Shows Can Teach Presidential Candidates

Page A1 of Sunday’s New York Times reflected a new phase in the Democratic presidential campaign: “Clinton Team Starts to Ponder Names for Her Running Mate.” At the same time, the increasing likelihood that Hillary Clinton will get the Democratic nomination has people speculating on whether and how she can appeal to Bernie Sanders supporters. […]

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