Peter McGraw

I host solo.

The Takeaway claims that Colorado is the humor research capital of the world.

The Takeaway is in Denver for a few days. I woke up early this morning (4:15 am MST) to appear in studio with the lovely Celeste Headlee. The Takeaway is a national morning news program produced in partnership with The New York Times, the BBC World Service, WNYC, Public Radio International and WGBH Boston. We had […]

A neuromarketing publicity stunt?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe that neuromarketing can provide empirically valuable (albeit financially costly) insights about consumer preferences. A caveat before I begin:  I recognize that my approach as an academic to the topic of neuromarketing is likely to be different than a firm that is looking to sell neuromarketing services. […]

A brief introduction to the benign violation theory of humor

Below I introduce the benign violation theory and discuss a paper, Benign violations: Making immoral behavior funny, that Caleb Warren and I recently published in the August 2010 volume of Psychological Science. The benign violation theory builds on work by Tom Veatch and integrates existing humor theories to propose that humor occurs when and only […]

A hint that social media tells marketers something about you.

Dan Goldstein at Decision Science News and Shared Goel at Messy Matters recently presented data that suggest knowing what your friends like is predictive of what you like. The post is worth checking out: We measured the extent to which your friends’ behavior predicts your own, and found that in several consumer domains the effect […]

How much money do you need to buy happiness in your city?

Check out this “Real Time Economics” Blog post in the WSJ that estimates the amount of money you need to earn to make you happy in various cities. Although happiness is “attainable” in Denver at $75,750, you need $93,000 in Boulder. Boulder is a bargain, however, compared to the $163,500 in NYC. And you can […]

What does a 40% chance of rain really mean?

Last week at Ignite Boulder,  Joel Gratz (@gratzo), a famous Boulder meteorologist and creator of weather websites for winter sports enthusiasts ( and summer sports enthusiasts (, gave a talk, “Hire a Meteorologist, Not a Stock Broker.”  He argued that meteorologists are more accurate  than you might think (and certainly more accurate than other people […]

TEDxBoulder Speaker, Improvisationalist, and Entrepreneur, Eric Farone answers the question, “What makes things funny?”

I had a chance recently to conduct a brief interview with Eric Farone, owner of the Bovine Metropolis (improv) Theater (LINK).  Eric is a funny guy and was a speaker at TEDxBoulder. He gave an entertaining talk, which I will post as soon as it is up. I asked him my favorite question of late, […]

Neuromarketing: A potentially useful but expensive way to uncover consumer insights

As a consumer psychologist, I have been intently following the developments in the emerging academic and applied field of neuromarketing. But first, a definition courtesy of Wikipedia (as of 8/25/10): Neuromarketing is a new field of marketing that studies consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. Researchers use technologies such as functional magnetic […]

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