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Everyday Life Our Work

Why do people procrastinate?

Etymologically, “procrastination” is derived from the Latin verb procrastinare — to put off until tomorrow. But it is more than just voluntarily delaying. Procrastination also comes from the ancient Greek word akrasia, which means doing something against our better judgment.  To understand what causes procrastination (outside of conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, where executive functioning […]

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Everyday Life Politics and Public Policy

Misperception of Social Norms given out by the market-based logic

One of the most pivotal changes that unfolded during the past three decades was the reach of markets and market values into spheres of life traditionally held sway over by nonmarket norms. Healthcare, education, public safety, and environmental protection are some examples of the sectors where the use of market logic was for the most […]

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Everyday Life

A Guide to Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s feelings and view a situation from their standpoint.   Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional or affective empathy, and compassionate empathy. The first relates to understanding how a person feels and why they feel this way. The second refers to the ability to feel someone else’s emotions. […]

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Everyday Life

The secret attraction of cults 

The world “cult” comes from the Latin “cultus”, meaning “to till or cultivate”. In antiquity it was used to describe the sacrifices, offerings, and monuments built to cultivate favor with the gods, whereas in time, it came to mean any unorthodox religion.  It is a known fact how dangerous a cult could be: they may […]

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Our Work

This can’t be happening to me

Think back to any movie you’ve seen involving a disaster, whether it was a tsunami or a plane crash. More than likely, the footage of the actual disaster was accompanied by hordes of people screaming and running for their lives. As with many Hollywood depictions of various events, however, the reality of things is quite […]

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Our Work

Microcredit: beyond finance and economics, the importance of human behaviors

For more than three decades now, “microloans” have been all the rage in international development. The idea is simple: by giving a small loan to someone living in a poor country, you could help them expand a small business, which would lift their family out of poverty. When they pay back the loan, the money […]

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Business World

The rise of the gaming industry

In the classic economic model, the measure of utility is presumed to be the key to understanding agent’s decision-making. However, most factors concerning the study of utility are assumed to be exogenous. The emergence of the field of behavioural economics has sought to challenge that by drawing insights on the endogenous factors that affect that […]

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Our Work

Summer holidays are coming (but not for all of us)

By Francesco Amighetti and Beatrice Del Frate   June has come and, for the majority of college and university students, this means free time that can be spent with families and friends, while being on holidays without studying. Nevertheless, some of them who failed or postponed exams may be worried about their upcoming outcomes, while others […]

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Our Work

Behavioural Insights and Crime: Part I

Violence against Women (VAW) When you think of BI and crime, shows like Criminal Minds and Mindhunter (both of which the author of this blog post highly recommends) come to mind. However, tackling VAW requires more than psycho-analysing perpetrators. This is because there are a multitude of other factors leading to the creation of a […]

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Article Review

Adapting to the Destitute Situations: Poverty Cues Lead to Short-Term Choice

Review of a paper by Liu, Feng, Suo, Lee, Li (2012) In previous posts (“Scarcity”, “Through the psychology of poverty”), we showed how scarcity affects the way people consider problems and take decisions. Although scarcity may concern many kinds of goods, including even available time, in this article we will consider only the lack of […]