Month: April 2013

A classic benign violation: the confetti bucket

I was recently giving a talk about the benign violation theory, and Josh Kinal (@sealfur) reminded me of the old confetti bucket gag. The Harlem Globetrotters are famous for using the gag to the delight of the crowd. So, why is the confetti bucket funny? Most people will say surprise. But there are plenty of […]

Free research idea: How to stop trolls without censorship

My second “free research idea.” (Note: This one is not as good as the first.) People can be nasty. When people are nasty on the internet, they are called trolls. Urban Dictionary’s definition of a troll: One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others […]

Your guide to irrationality

Massive online open courses (MOOCs) are growing in popularity. The New York Times, for instance, is mildly obsessed with them (see also Thomas Friedman’s excellent opinion piece about how MOOCs are a disruptive innovation). Now there is a behavioral decision theory MOOC, which is offered by Coursera and taught by Dan Ariely: And it’s not […]

Which one is bigger?

During my sabbatical trip to the Erasmus Research Institute of Management, Nailya Ordabayeva showed me here research on how people have difficulty judging changes in size. The takeaway: People are not good at this task. (I swear that we were not drinking). —————————— The abstract of Nailya’s paper: Understanding consumer response to product supersizing and […]