Fall 2019 Workshops
Location: Chicago Booth Harper Center, Classroom C06
Time: Mondays, 10:10–11:30 a.m.
Monday, September 23
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Harvard Business School
"Stereotypes and Belief Updating"
We explore how self-assessments respond to feedback about own ability across a range of tasks, with a particular focus on how gender stereotypes impact belief updating. Participants in our experiments take tests of their ability across different domains. Absent feedback, beliefs of own ability are strongly influenced by gender stereotypes: holding own ability fixed, individuals are more confident in gender congruent domains. We then provide noisy feedback about own absolute performance to participants and elicit posterior beliefs. Gender stereotypes have significant predictive power for posterior beliefs, both through their influence on prior beliefs (as predicted by a Bayesian model) but also through their influence on updating (a non-Bayesian channel). Both men and women’s beliefs are more responsive to information in gender congruent domains than gender incongruent domains. This is primarily driven by differential reactions to exogenously-received good news about own ability: both men and women react more to good news when it arrives in a gender congruent domain than when it arrives in a gender incongruent domain. Our results have important implications for understanding how feedback shapes, and perpetuates, gender gaps in self-assessments.
Monday, September 30
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Northeastern University, D'Amore-McKim School of Business
"Overlooking the Gift that Always Fits: Givers Underestimate the Appeal of Unconstrained Gifts"
Gift givers underestimate the appeal of unconstrained gift cards and consequently tend to choose gift cards that are more constrained than recipients prefer to receive. Givers mistakenly believe that recipients will like unconstrained gift cards less and consider them to be less thoughtful than constrained but tailored gift cards, and they overestimate the extent to which giving constrained but tailored gift cards will make givers seem more thoughtful and enhance their closeness to recipients. This mismatch occurs even when gift cards are given anonymously, suggesting that signaling cannot alone explain givers’ reluctance to choose unconstrained gift cards. This tendency arises largely because givers and recipients focus on different things: givers seek out gifts that are representative of recipients and their characteristics whereas recipients gravitate toward gifts that can satisfy their wants and needs, representative or not. Prompting givers to focus on recipients’ wants and needs makes them less likely to overlook unconstrained gifts.
Monday, October 7
Associate Professor of Economics
UCLA Anderson School of Management
"Using smartphone data to study both the causes and consequences of face-to-face interactions"
77% of adult Americans carry smartphones, and the data they produce represents a tremendous opportunity to learn about cognition and decision making. I’ll present a series of shorter studies that use anonymized data for 10 million smartphone users to study two broad sets of phenomena: how face-to-face contact is affected by fissures such as partisan antipathy, and how face-to-face affects the spread of beliefs, knowledge, and information.
Monday, October 14
University of Utah, Management Department
"Moral Circles, Political Divides"
The idea of the moral circle pictures the self in the center, surrounded by concentric circles encompassing increasingly distant possible targets of moral concern, including family, local community, nation, all humans, all mammals, all living things including plants, and all things including inanimate objects. I present the idea of two opposing sets of forces in people’s moral circles, with centripetal forces pulling inward, urging greater concern for close others than for distant others, and centrifugal forces pushing outward, resisting “drawing the line” anywhere as a form of prejudice and urging egalitarian concern for all regardless of social distance. This centripetal/centrifugal forces view is applied to current moral debates about empathy (e.g., parochialism vs. universalism) and about politics (e.g., nationalism vs. globalism). I argue that this view helps us see how intercultural and interpersonal disagreements about morality and prejudice are based in intrapersonal conflicts shared by all people.
Monday, October 28
Assistant Professor, Social and Decision Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University
"Motivated Beliefs and Unethical Behavior"
Unethical behavior such as corruption or biased professional advice is widespread. While some people have no psychological costs associated with such behaviors, for others the desire to pursue private gains conflicts with the desire to maintain their self-image as moral. This tension may be attenuated if individuals have scope for manipulating their beliefs, convincing themselves that choices that maximize their private gains are also ethical. In this talk, I will discuss the role of self-deception in expert advice, which is often plagued with conflicts of interest, and identify some of the factors that enable and constrain advisors’ ability to distort their recommendations. Data from laboratory experiments where advisors recommend investments to clients show that that the order in which advisors learn about their own incentives and privately judge the investments affects the ethicality of their behavior, their beliefs, and their subsequent choices when incentives are removed. I will further discuss the question of whether advisors anticipate this malleability of beliefs, and present evidence showing that a substantial proportion of advisor is willing to incur costs to make initial evaluations in a context that enables them to bias their advice.
Monday, November 4
Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Professor of Public Affairs
"Mapping Stereotypes: The Shape of Things to Come"
Demography is destiny, and with globalization and immigration, countries all over the world are reacting, from nativism to cosmopolitanism. This talk examines the psychology of such responses, mapping stereotype content as a function of social structure: inequality, conflict, and diversity.
Monday, November 11
Lee J. Styslinger III Associate Professor of Business Administration
Harvard Business School
"Designing Online Reputation Systems"
Online reviews and ratings play an important role in shaping transactions, both online and offline. People often turn to TripAdvisor to plan a vacation, Zocdoc to find a doctor, and Yelp to choose a new restaurant. Ratings and reputation systems are also an important part of online marketplaces such as Amazon, Airbnb, and Uber. This talk will explore recent research on the challenges involved in designing review systems – such as identifying fake reviews, avoiding selection bias, and augmenting reviews with other types of information.