with Spencer Greenberg
the podcast about ideas that matter

Episode 037: Behavior Change and Interpersonal Connection (with Ting Jiang)

April 22, 2021

How does a behavioral scientist apply her knowledge to her own life? What fraction of our behaviors are deliberative, and what fraction are automatic? In what ways are we insufficiently scientific in our attempts to diagnose behavior problems? To what extent is introspection important for behavior change? Can behavior change take place without relatively accurate quantification and measurement? (For example, we know exact values for our bank account balance or our weight on the scale, but we don't know exact values for our level of happiness or how much progress we've made in meditation. To encourage behavior change in those more nebulous domains, is it useful to assign numbers to everything?) Can (and should) "sacred" things be quantified? What's the difference between customs and norms? Why do we often fail to generalize our own skills from one domain to other domains? How can we use stories to encourage behavior change? What are some new and different ways of connecting with others, especially during a pandemic? How can everyday items or events be tweaked to encourage behavior change?

Ting Jiang is a global expert and thought leader in behavioral change and innovation. She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Economics but publishes findings across a broad range of disciplines. For the past 5 years, until January 1st, 2021, she served as a principal at Dan Ariely's behavioral science lab at Duke University, during which she led projects globally helping diverse organizations, companies, and tech startups to improve the behavioral uptake and retention of programs and products. The work she is most proud of is her own attempt to develop various science-based games for behavioral change, including a board game called "Healthy Money" for forming better spending and saving habits. Most recently, she's been calling for a collective reflection on whether the world is currently in the dark ages of human flourishing despite our advancement in tech and natural sciences. Find out more about her here.

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Host / Director
Spencer Greenberg

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Audio Engineer
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