Monthly Archives: November 2010

Sitting pretty

Should you be a chess player, it might be an advantage to be an attractive woman. Why? Because when men play chess with attractive women, they choose riskier strategies that don’t help their performance, according to a new paper, “Beauty … Continue reading

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Screamadelica mugged

Dear reader, Last night I went to a Primal Scream concert. They were performing their 1991 Screamadelica album live, and it was too rare an occasion to miss, despite the hefty price tag. We joined the queue to get in to … Continue reading

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Fun at the conference

Yesterday I got home from a European Commission conference on the implications of behavioural economics for policy-makers.  Speakers included Professor Cass Sunstein (co-author of Nudge), Professor David Laibson (Harvard University), Dr David Halpern (head of the UK Government’s Behavioural Insights Team) and Professor … Continue reading

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Eat together, get rich together

The virtues of eating together as a family are often extolled: it’s good for the children, it’s good for your health. And now… can it make you richer? Well, maybe. It’s something that researchers at the University of Georgia have … Continue reading

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Can the happiness index makes us happier?

The UK Government is planning to publish regular measures of the UK population’s happiness. On the surface, this seems like a good thing. We all know that measuring income alone is unlikely to capture well-being, but can measuring happiness really … Continue reading

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Cheating for strangers

Scenario 1: Would you file an incorrect tax return if it gained you £1000? Scenario 2: Would you file an incorrect tax return if it gained you £500? What if scenario 2 meant that a friend also profited from your … Continue reading

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Getting ahead of the Joneses

She had read in the “Boudoir Chat” of one of the Sunday papers that the smartest women were using the new pigeon-blood notepaper with white ink; and rather against her mother’s advice she had ordered a large supply, with her … Continue reading

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How’d you get to be happiness*

In a famous thought experiment, you are asked if you would be willing to be hooked up to an experience  machine that ensured happiness for the rest of your life, without any awareness that the experience is not real. (Surely … Continue reading

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Does Walmart make you fat?

Why might people in developed countries be eating more today than they used to? One plausible factor is the fall in the cost of obtaining food. Hunting and gathering is such a hassle in comparison with going to the supermarket. … Continue reading

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