About Behavioral Grooves Podcast

Behavioral Grooves is more than a podcast, it’s also vessel for building a community of people who are interested in learning how to positively apply behavioral science to their work and life. We have conversations with interesting people to examine the question, “why do we do the things we do?”

We bring honest curiosity and innocent wonder to the work as we investigate the ways behavioral science can help us understand our world and how we interact with it.

We explore the potential benefits and consequences of the expanding insights we gain from behavioral science research and its application in both work and life – with an emphasis on discussing the ethical use of these powerful tools.

We are an open and inclusive community that welcomes anyone with open arms who is interested in these ideas and concepts.


In the rather ordinary world of business consulting, aspirations for global recognition don’t exist. So, when a couple of Minneapolis based consultants decide they love behavioral science so much that they want to expand the community of enthusiasts with a podcast, their expectations were, let’s just say, low.

We started on a whim, but in short order good things started to happen.* We booked an expert based in India as a guest, expanding our a global reach shortly after we got started (Episode 5). A musician-turned-techie walked into our studio and introduced us to a new term: The Accidental Behavioral Scientist (Episode 17). An executive director of a Nairobi-based non-profit inspired us with the story of Winnie and her teaspoon hustle. It was so compelling that we turned two hours of interview into two episodes (Episodes 19 and 20). A long-shot email request to interview Annie Duke turned into a truly terrific recording and long-term friendship because we hit on an emotional chord (Episode 31) with her.

In our first three months, we published 3 episodes and avoided seeing the world on fire. In the next year, 2018, we published 42 episodes. Then in 2019 we published 64 episodes. And in 2020, we published 88 episodes. Episodes are not a measure of success, just of passion. And with that passion, we expanded our brand to more than 120 countries and have been named top podcasts by Chartable, Habit Weekly, and Psychology Today.

We’re not done. The serendipitous world we operate in conspires against hard goals, so we navigate by our north star: to expand the community of those interested in positively applying behavioral science to their lives. We’re glad you’re joining us on our journey.

*Footnote: Our name was also a bit of whim. We ran through a number of different ideas (Beers & Behavior, BS Society, The Nudge Hour) but agreed that Behavioral Grooves was a winner as soon as it hit the white board. Tim and Kurt both loved it, but they secretly had different interpretations of it’s meaning. Kurt thought that “grooves” tied into the metaphoric grooves in our brains when we form habits and routines. Tim thought the brand was the mixture of behavioral science (Behavioral) and music (Grooves). Needless to say, Tim’s vision for the name won out and Kurt has begrudgingly become a convert to the idea that conversations about behavior and music can go well together.



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Kurt Nelson, PhD

Kurt Nelson, PhD

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Kurt is the co-founder, with Tim Houlihan, of the Behavioral Grooves and Weekly Grooves podcasts, where they interview leading academic and busi- ness executives from around the world and explore how they apply behavioral science to their work and lives.


Kurt is also a sought-after consultant, speaker and recognized leader in human motivation and behavior change. For over 20 years, Kurt has worked with global companies to apply behavioral science principles to drive change in their organizations.

For his day job, Kurt is the Founder and Lead Behavioral Scientist at The Lantern Group, a communication and behavioral change agency that works with Fortune 500 companies. All of his work focuses on understanding ways to positively influence how people behave.

Kurt’s recent work has focused in on understanding how people make purposeful change. He is one of the leading experts in the world on the 4-Drive Model of Motivation and how it is implemented inside organizations. Specifically, his focus has been on understanding the drivers of change, increasing the effectiveness of reward programs for sales representatives, maximizing the impact of extrinsic rewards, and developing behavioral effectiveness blueprints that align behaviors with strategy.

Although much of his work has focused on the pharmaceutical industry, he has vast experience in medical device, telecommunications, finance, non-profits and automotive as well as working with a large number of global companies.

He has spoken at conferences around the world including Malaysia, Kuwait, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. on topics ranging from the psychology of gamification, to increasing employee engagement, to driving behavior change.

Kurt grew up in the midwest and earned his undergraduate and MBA from the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Capella University.

Kurt geeks out about reading (behavioral economics, history, psychology, and fantasy genres), traveling (every state in the US — now working on countries), biking, canoing, skiing and spending time with family and friends at their cabin.

He also likes teasing Tim about how his musical tastes haven’t progressed beyond 1978 (which is not true, he might have expanded to 1981).

If you ever meet Kurt and want to buy him a drink, he likes good malty beers.

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Tim Houlihan

Tim Houlihan

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With his partner, Kurt Nelson PhD, Tim co-founded Behavioral Grooves, first as a meetup based in Minneapolis, Minnesota with outposts in other cities, and shortly after as the podcast. With guests from around the world and listeners in more than 120 countries, Tim channels his intense curiosity about why people do what they do.


Tim is also the founder of BehaviorAlchemy LLC, a strategy, training, and design consultancy, to focus the behavioral lens on a variety of corporate and pro-social people-centric issues. His expertise applies to productivity, team effectiveness, retention, sales effectiveness, communication, and the customer experience. He helps leaders with roles in marketing, human resources, customer experience, and sales make better decisions about their constituencies. And he helps the teams that report to those leaders improve their productivity.

He also guest-lectures at colleges and universities – including Carnegie Mellon University, Monmouth University, Quinnipiac University, Iowa State University, the University of St. Thomas, and others – to bring real-world experiences to the classroom of undergraduate and graduate students. He presents regularly on webinars and in workshops on topics related to the application of behavioral science.

Prior to launching BehaviorAlchemy and Behavioral Grooves, Tim was the Vice President of Reward Systems at BI WORLDWIDE. There, he was responsible for a $300,000,000 global portfolio of innovative reward systems, a thought leader in behavioral sciences, and was the chief liaison with academic research partnerships around the world. His research collaborators have included Dan Ariely, George Loewenstein, Saurabh Bhargava, Francesca Gino, Scott Jeffrey, Victoria Shaffer, and Patricia Norberg, among others.

Tim’s north star, the fixed point by which he navigates his work, is to help us all apply behavioral science to improve our lives.




Help us continue to deliver top notch content. We work hard at this and are constantly trying to improve – better production, better interviews, better guests. This is truly a passion for us, one that we hope will inspire, inform and be of value for people.

We are so grateful to all of our listeners in more than 120 countries that propelled us into Chartable’s Top 20 Social Science Podcasts in 2020. We love doing this. We put our hearts and souls into this every week. We hope that you find value in it and want to support us in this endeavor with an ongoing pledge. Our deepest and warmest thanks.

On average, each hour of the produced show takes between 8 and 10 hours of our combined work between research, preparation, interview recording, post-production for intro’s and our grooving session, editing, and hosting. Beyond the documents that we create for all of this, we also develop episode notes that feature, on average, a dozen links to behavioral science resources and a half dozen musical references. For over two years, we have been doing this work without pay or any monetary support. Additionally, we incur hosting fees, website design and maintenance, transcription costs, and storage space for the terabytes of data for all of our episode.

Your support and patronage would be very much appreciated. You, and people like you, help us offset some of the hard costs and help us improve our offering.