Behavioral Science Workshops
Invited guests, faculty, and students present current research in decision-making and judgment in our workshop series. The emphasis of our workshop series is on behavioral implications of decision and judgment models.
- Where: Hybrid (unless otherwise noted)
- In-person - Chicago Booth Harper Center, Classroom C06
- Zoom - link will be emailed to attendees before the event
- When: Mondays 10:10–11:30 a.m. (unless otherwise noted)
- Who can attend: Workshops are open to CDR faculty, researchers, staff, and students, plus invited guests. Additional requests to attend the workshop are handled on a case-by-case basis. Please email Tricia.Nicholson@chicagobooth.edu if you’d like to attend.
Spring Workshop Series
Monday, March 28
PhD Admit Day Workshop
Speakers: Bradley Turnwald, Radhika Santhanagopalan, Diag Davenport
Monday, April 11
University of Pennsylvania
"People make sub-optimal moral decisions about euthanizing humans as compared with animals."
“Mercy killing” is an unproblematic concept when used to justify the active killing (euthanasia) of animals in extreme pain that would die anyway. It seems humane because it alleviates suffering and is therefore in the animals’ best interests. Do people similarly believe that actively killing humans in intractable, terminal pain is morally preferable to passively allowing them to die? In this research, we document a pattern of perverse judgments in which active (vs. passive) killing is judged to be in the best interests of both human and animal sufferers, yet morally preferable only for animals. Paradoxically, it seems that precisely because humans are judged to have especially high moral status, they are subject to moral decisions that violate their best interests.
Monday, April 18
Stanford Graduate School of Business
"Cultural evolutionary mismatches in response to collective threat"
Human sociality is enabled by our ability to develop, maintain, and enforce social norms. While social norms are universal, there is wide variation in the strength of social norms (tightness-looseness) around the globe. I will describe research on tightness-looseness in pre-industrial societies and in modern nations and states, discuss the evolutionary and neurological basis of such differences, and illuminate the trade-offs they confer to human groups. I will then discuss the implications of the strength of social norms for COVID-19 cases and deaths, and more generally, cultural evolution mismatches that can occur when traits that are beneficial in one environment are maladaptive in others.
Monday, April 25
University of Pittsburgh
"The Science of Apology"
In all relationship contexts, people hurt each other. If left unresolved, these interpersonal conflicts can have destructive consequences, poisoning people’s relationships, health, and home and work environments. Fortunately, the tremendous costs of conflict are not inevitable. Although many factors come into play when managing complex conflict situations, research suggests that an apology is one of the most powerful tools transgressors can use to promote reconciliation with the victim of their offense. In this talk, I will describe a program of research that illuminates the composition, predictors, and consequences of apologies. First, I will identify conditions under which apologies are most constructive and reveal my framework for how people can compose high-quality apologies that are especially effective at facilitating forgiveness. Next, I will describe my theoretical framework of major barriers transgressors encounter when deciding whether and how to apologize, including (1) low concern for the victim or relationship, (2) perceived threat to one’s moral image, and (3) perceived apology ineffectiveness. I will then demonstrate how we can promote the use of high-quality apologies by precisely targeting these psychological barriers. Next, I will present work that reveals one reason why high-quality apologies are so consequential: they are profoundly important to the forgiveness process, and forgiveness enables victims to restore their sense of humanness after it has been damaged by a victimization experience. Finally, I will discuss lingering questions and future directions aimed at addressing these gaps in the literature. Together, this research provides a deeper understanding of the psychological processes at work during complex conflict situations, knowledge that can ultimately be leveraged to resolve these conflicts. This program of research therefore offers theory-based and empirically-supported methods to help people transform destructive conflicts into opportunities to enhance their own and others’ wellbeing.
Monday, May 2
"Learning, Talking, Teaching: Understanding cumulative culture mechanisms"
Monday, May 9 - ONLINE ONLY
George Mason University
"When should people avoid negotiating?"
Although negotiations can improve economic outcomes and boost relational outcomes, in some cases negotiations make people worse off. I describe how and when negotiators' relational outcomes impact the total economic value people derive from a negotiation. I describe when negotiation processes harm relational outcomes and counterpart’s post-negotiation motivation. Across several projects, I describe when people are better off not negotiating. Rather than rushing to negotiate, I assert that the decision to enter a negotiation is a decision that should be made carefully and strategically.
Monday, May 16
"Statistical norms and prescriptive norms"
People have representations of the degree to which behaviors are frequent or infrequent (statistical norms). People also have representations of the degree to which behaviors should or should not be performed (prescriptive norms). In a series of studies, we show that people often blend together these apparently different types of norms into a single undifferentiated representation: a representation of the degree to which certain behaviors are normal. This undifferentiated statistical/prescriptive mixture appears to have important downstream effects on a number of different processes involved in judgment and decision-making.
Monday, May 23
University of Chicago, Dept. of Psychology
"The Mind Hidden in Our Hands"
Gesture is versatile in form and function. Under certain circumstances, gesture can substitute for speech, and when it does, it embodies the properties of language that children themselves bring to language learning, and underscores the resilience of language itself. Under other circumstances, gesture can form a fully integrated system with speech. When it does, it both predicts and promotes learning, and underscores the resilience of gesture in thinking. Together, these lines of research show how much of our minds is hidden in our hands.