Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

334. Cracking the Code of Human Decision-Making: Insights from Tim Ash (Refreshed Episode)

In this episode of The Brainy Business podcast, host Melina Palmer interviews Tim Ash, author of Unleash Your Primal Brain. Tim brings his unique background in computer engineering and cognitive science to the discussion, shedding light on the evolution of the brain and its impact on human behavior. He explains how our brains developed as a response to fast changes in the environment caused by movement, highlighting the importance of social dynamics over logical reasoning. 

Tim also delves into the concept of culture spread and how humans made an evolutionary bet on it, setting us apart from animals. This conversation is essential for business leaders and marketers who want to better understand human behavior and predict consumer choices. By recognizing the underlying evolutionary basis of our brains, they can design experiences that align with human nature, effectively connecting with their target audience. Tim’s expertise in neural networks and neuromarketing provides a unique perspective on leveraging the primal brain for ethical reasons and leveling the playing field in marketing. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain insights that will enhance your business strategies and drive success.

In this episode:

  • Discover the evolutionary basis of the brain, unveiling insights into the origin of human behavior.
  • Unravel the secrets behind mirror neurons and understand their importance in human learning processes and empathy.
  • Understand the ways in which cultural spread influences our adaptability and drives behavioral changes.
  • Delve into how social media can be exploited to leverage our instinct for cultural spread.
  • Gain insights into how to design business experiences that are harmonized with the innate nature of humans.
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00:00:00 – Introduction,
Melina Palmer introduces Tim Ash and discusses the importance of understanding the primal brain in behavioral economics and business.

00:01:44 – Evolution of the Brain,
Tim explains how the brain evolved to respond to fast changes in the environment caused by movement. He highlights the energy-intensive nature of the brain and its focus on modeling complex social relationships.

00:07:11 – Heuristics and Biases,
Tim explores how the brain uses heuristics and biases to navigate the world, balancing the need for energy consumption and survival. He emphasizes the brain’s primary function of modeling social dynamics rather than logical reasoning.

00:09:50 – Culture Spread,
Tim discusses how humans evolved to rely on culture spread as an evolutionary advantage. He explains the role of mirror neurons and the physical adaptations in humans to facilitate cultural learning.

00:13:36 – Unique Aspects of Human Brain Development,
Tim highlights the unique aspects of human brain development, such as prolonged adolescence. He discusses how these adaptations contribute to the spread of culture and the importance of learning from others.

00:15:50 – Evolutionary Reasons for Modeling and Survival Goals,
Tim explains that there are evolutionary reasons for modeling and mirror neurons. Modeling helps us imagine what someone is doing when they are out of sight, while survival goals like feeding and interpreting gestures are important for our physical skill rehearsal. Mirror neurons play a role in all of these processes and contribute to our survival.

00:17:14 – Learning from Successful Examples and Tribal Cohesion,
Tim discusses the importance of learning from successful examples and the role of tribal cohesion in our learning process. We tend to learn from older people who have survived and people who are similar to us in terms of ethnicity, gender, and language. This preference for learning from similar individuals reinforces tribalism and group cohesion.

00:18:56 – Overcoming Biases and Expanding Circles of Empathy,
Tim expresses a lack of hope in overcoming biases and expanding circles of empathy, especially in society and politics. He highlights our biological predisposition to form tribes and the difficulty of accepting other views once we are part of a tribe. However, he suggests that meeting and talking to people who are different from us can help in creating a larger circle of empathy.

00:21:32 – Conservative and Progressive Spheres of Concern,
Tim shares an interesting finding from sociological research that conservative and progressive individuals tend to have different spheres of concern. He uses perceptions of immigration as an example of these differences.

00:30:24 – Girls’ School Performance and Self Esteem Decline,
Girls tend to outperform boys academically, especially in the early years. However, when they hit puberty, their self-esteem declines, and they start caring more about what their friends think of them. This often leads to a decline in academic performance.

00:31:27 – The Importance of the First Five Years,
The first five years of a child’s life are critical for their development. During this time, they need to feel loved, safe, and have proper nutrition and sleep. These experiences become hardwired into their biology and can influence their social attitudes and behaviors later in life.

00:33:22 – The Power of Empathy,
Developing empathy is crucial for raising good humans. One way to cultivate empathy is through direct experiences with people from different backgrounds and cultures. By understanding and modeling the behaviors and experiences of others, we can foster empathy and understanding.

00:34:48 – The Role of Storytelling,
Storytelling serves multiple evolutionary purposes. It allows us to simulate experiences we can’t directly have, like living out a nightmare scenario without the real-life consequences. It also helps maintain cultural cohesion by spreading knowledge and values within a tribe. However, the cultural package we bring to a story can influence how we interpret and experience it.

00:36:56 –  Conclusion,
Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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