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?

345. Applying Psychology to Everyday Life: Practical Strategies for Better Decision-Making – with Paul Bloom

In this episode of The Brainy Business podcast, you will hear an insightful conversation between host Melina Palmer and guest Paul Bloom, a psychology professor and author. Throughout the episode, they delve into various aspects of psychology and behavioral science, offering valuable insights and practical applications. Paul shares his expertise on the writing process, the challenges facing academic research, and the importance of incorporating engaging elements into content. 

He also highlights the spotlight effect, the study of children’s behavior, and the need for curiosity and asking questions to gain a deeper understanding of human behavior. With Paul’s extensive knowledge and expertise in the field, this episode provides psychology enthusiasts and behavioral science professionals with valuable insights to enhance their understanding and application of psychology principles. Whether you are interested in the writing process, the crisis in psychology, or gaining a comprehensive understanding of the human mind, this episode offers something for everyone. So, tune in to The Brainy Business podcast and gain valuable insights into psychology and behavioral science.

In this episode, you will:

  • Gain valuable insights into human behavior and its practical applications that can enhance decision-making.
  • Understand how the spotlight effect and self-perception can impact our thoughts and actions, leading to better self-awareness and improved interpersonal relationships.
  • Explore the fascinating world of children’s behavior and development, unlocking the keys to nurturing and understanding the next generation.
  • Discover the benefits of following your passion and curiosity, and how it can lead to personal growth and fulfillment in various areas of life.
  • Gain insights into the challenges faced in academic research, learn strategies to overcome obstacles, and make meaningful contributions to the field.
  • Unlock the secrets of persuasion and influence, empowering you to navigate social interactions and achieve desired outcomes.
  • Dive into the realm of cognitive biases and learn how they shape our thinking and decision-making, enabling you to make more rational and informed choices.
  • Explore the psychology behind motivation and goal-setting, equipping you with tools to achieve success in your personal and professional endeavors.
  • Understand the impact of stress on mental health and learn effective coping mechanisms to promote well-being and resilience.
  • Discover the power of positive psychology and learn how cultivating gratitude and positivity can improve overall happiness and life satisfaction.
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00:00:00 – Introduction,
In this episode, Melina Palmer interviews Paul Bloom, author of the book Psych. They discuss Paul’s background and his interest in developmental psychology.

00:05:01 – Innate Knowledge in Children,
Paul highlights the fascinating discoveries made in developmental psychology, such as young babies’ innate understanding of the physical and social world. He emphasizes the importance of giving developmental psychology more recognition.

00:07:25 – Humor in Children,
While not a focus of his research, Paul acknowledges the significance of humor in children’s development. He mentions that incongruity and context play a role in what makes us laugh.

00:10:09 – The Origins of Psych,
Paul shares the history of his popular psychology class at Yale and how it led to the creation of the book “Psych.” He wanted to reach a larger audience and provide more in-depth information than what could be covered in the course.

00:11:21 – Writing Psych,
Paul explains that he wrote Psych based on his course materials and transcribed notes. He aimed to make the book accessible and informative, expanding on the topics covered in the course.

00:14:50 – The Writing Process,
Paul and Melina discuss their writing processes and how they approach the task of writing. They touch on topics such as word count, finding inspiration, and managing distractions.

00:16:00 – Different Approaches to Writing,
Paul and Melina compare their different approaches to writing. One prefers to work in condensed chunks of time, while the other works in shorter bursts with frequent breaks. They discuss the benefits and challenges of each method.

00:18:20 – Making Writing Fun,
Melina highlights the importance of making writing fun and engaging. They discuss the use of literary references, popular culture, and anecdotes to make the writing process more enjoyable and accessible to readers.

00:21:51 – Advice on Improving Business Communications,
Melina suggests two chapters from Paul Bloom’s book that would be relevant for improving business communications. These chapters focus on reasoning and rationality, as well as finding fulfillment and happiness in life.

00:23:05 – The Crisis in Psychology
Melina delves into the crisis in psychology where many studies have failed to replicate and there have been cases of fraud. They emphasize the need for caution when relying on research findings and highlight the fragility of the science.

00:30:46 – The Future of Psychological Studies
Paul discusses the improvements in psychological studies, such as larger sample sizes, preregistration, and more theoretically grounded research. He also mentions the importance of meta-analyses to get a clearer understanding of the overall findings.

00:32:06 – Challenges in Generalizing Psychological Findings
Paul acknowledges the difficulty in generalizing psychological findings due to the vast individual differences and confounding factors. He suggests that instead of expecting general principles, we should consider that certain interventions may work for some people but not others.

00:34:18 – Striking a Balance between Theoretical and Applied Psychology
Paul discusses the balance between theoretical and applied psychology. While applied work can still be done, he suggests that a deeper understanding of the mind in abstract conditions may be more achievable than practical advice due to the complexity of human behavior.

00:35:08 – Unreliability of Memory
Paul highlights the unreliability of human memory and how memories are often reconstructions based on experiences and expectations. He mentions the impact of this finding on areas like eyewitness testimony and emphasizes the need for caution when relying solely on memory.

00:39:25 – The Complexities of Job Satisfaction
Paul discusses the complexity of job satisfaction, noting that it goes beyond just high salaries or pleasant work environments. Meaning, challenge, and the ability to make a difference are important factors that contribute to job satisfaction, even in lower-paying or less respected professions.

00:46:14 – The Spotlight Effect
Paul discusses how people tend to believe that they are the most important person to others, but in reality, everyone is focused on themselves. This phenomenon is known as the spotlight effect.

00:46:37 – Influence and the Spotlight Effect
The concept of the spotlight effect is further explored in Vanessa Blonde’s episode. The show notes provide more information on this topic.

00:47:18 – Connecting with Paul Bloom
To connect with Paul Bloom and learn more about his books, visit his website at He also recently started a Substack called Small Potatoes for sharing his thoughts without going through an editor.

00:47:46 – Announcing the Substack
Paul announces the launch of his Substack, Small Potatoes, where he will be writing and sharing interesting thoughts and ideas.

00:48:04 –  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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