Helping People To Assemble Better Decisions | Eric J. Johnson

How do we make decisions? What factors influence the final outcome? Do default settings change our preferences? Every decision we make; from choosing something on a menu to deciding whether to be an organ donor, is influenced by our environmental context and the default selections presented to us.

Professor Eric J. Johnson has distilled the latest behavioral science research into his newest book, The Elements of Choice: Why the Way We Decide Matters, and we are thrilled to talk with him about it on this episode of Behavioral Grooves.

Eric is Director of the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia Business School at Columbia University. He examines the interaction between Behavioral Decision Research, Economics and consumer decision making. The implications of his research come together in real world applications such as public policy and marketing.

Eric talks with us about how options are presented to decision-makers and how framing affects choices. Our decisions are “assembled”, as Eric likes to put it, in the moment and are not necessarily pre-determined by our preferences. Choice architects have very influential power over decision-makers but Eric highlights to us that we are all designers, and with that comes a moral responsibility.


(3:56) How Leading Human™ can help with returning to the office.

(6:28) Welcome and speed round.

(8:00) How interference affects our decision making.

(10:32) The controversy of organ donation defaults.

(16:32) We are all designers using the tools of choice architecture.

(19:21) How sludge impacts our decision making.

(22:42) How context influences defaults.

(26:14) What factors moderate the impact of default settings?

(29:01) Making choices in the real world vs. classic economic thinking.

(32:18) The effects of asking people how long they will live vs. what year they expect to die.

(35:04) Smart defaults: defaults set specifically for you.

(38:02) What is Query Theory?

(39:15) Choice architecture around vaccinations.

(42:44) What area does Eric want to research in the future?

(44:44) What music does Eric default to?

(52:24) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on how to apply Eric’s research to our lives.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves

More Behavioral Grooves To Enjoy

Tim Kachuriak, Episode 221: Donating Our Money Is Irrational, So Why Do We Do It? Tim Kachuriak Explains Our Motivations: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/why-we-donate-our-money/


AIRDATE: October 24, 2021 EPISODE 257

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Helping People To Assemble Better Decisions | Eric J. Johnson