Katy Milkman

at The University of Pennsylvania

From not saving enough, to exercising too little, to eating too much, Katy’s award-winning research uses big data to expose both the ways people suffer from failures in self-control and how such decisions can be improved.

The study

Setup

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Results

np_read_2490885_000000

In detail

• Katy did some great work on inter-temporal choice (how we choose is greatly dictated by when it's for). She looked at online grocery ordering and found that we tend to make healthier "should" food choices the further we plan into the future, and less healthy "want" choices to satisfy our immediate needs. Ultimately, we have a Present Bias that gives more weight to immediacy, impacting our self-control and ability to stay healthy.

• Her study on flu jabs got people to make a written pre-Commitment to have their jab at a specific date and time. Doing so increased vaccinations by 4.2% (Milkman, Beshears, Choi, Laibson and Madrian, 2011)

“Thanks to the progress of behavioral science, we now have a new set of tools that can help — and produce big returns on small investments.”

• In understanding how to help break old habits and start new ones, Katy looked at the Fresh Start Effect, finding that we're more likely to stick to commitments made at the start of a new time period (e.g. a new week, month or year).

• She co-authored research on motivation and Temptation Bundling, finding that people can be made to do the hard 'should' tasks (e.g. going to the gym) by bundling them with pleasant 'want' experiences (listening to an audiobook). Gym attendance was boosted by 51% next to the no-bundle group.

• In 2018, found Reciprocity Decay showing that our desire to return an act of kindness wanes rapidly over time, impacting acts of goodwill from companies or the effectiveness of charities in raising donations.


Key Takeaways

Katy Milkman

at The University of Pennsylvania

From not saving enough, to exercising too little, to eating too much, Katy’s award-winning research uses big data to expose both the ways people suffer from failures in self-control and how such decisions can be improved.

The study

Setup

Results

Key Takeaways

Katy Milkman

at The University of Pennsylvania

From not saving enough, to exercising too little, to eating too much, Katy’s award-winning research uses big data to expose both the ways people suffer from failures in self-control and how such decisions can be improved.

The study

Setup

Results

np_read_2490885_000000

In detail

• Katy did some great work on inter-temporal choice (how we choose is greatly dictated by when it's for). She looked at online grocery ordering and found that we tend to make healthier "should" food choices the further we plan into the future, and less healthy "want" choices to satisfy our immediate needs. Ultimately, we have a Present Bias that gives more weight to immediacy, impacting our self-control and ability to stay healthy.

• Her study on flu jabs got people to make a written pre-Commitment to have their jab at a specific date and time. Doing so increased vaccinations by 4.2% (Milkman, Beshears, Choi, Laibson and Madrian, 2011)

“Thanks to the progress of behavioral science, we now have a new set of tools that can help — and produce big returns on small investments.”

• In understanding how to help break old habits and start new ones, Katy looked at the Fresh Start Effect, finding that we're more likely to stick to commitments made at the start of a new time period (e.g. a new week, month or year).

• She co-authored research on motivation and Temptation Bundling, finding that people can be made to do the hard 'should' tasks (e.g. going to the gym) by bundling them with pleasant 'want' experiences (listening to an audiobook). Gym attendance was boosted by 51% next to the no-bundle group.

• In 2018, found Reciprocity Decay showing that our desire to return an act of kindness wanes rapidly over time, impacting acts of goodwill from companies or the effectiveness of charities in raising donations.


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Katy Milkman

is included in Box One of our physical workshop tool.
is included in Box Two of our physical workshop tool.
Box Two