Cover art for podcast Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Choiceology with Katy Milkman

71 EpisodesProduced by Charles SchwabWebsite

Can we learn to make smarter choices? Listen in as host Katy Milkman--behavioral scientist, Wharton professor, and author of How to Change--shares stories of high-stakes decisions and what research reveals they can teach us. Choiceology, an original podcast from Charles Schwab, explores the lessons … read more

71 Episodes | 2018 - 2022

Mesmerized: With Guests Mara Rockliff & John List

November 7th, 2022


It seems like every other week there's a news report about how coffee will help you live longer or will shorten your life. There are similar reports about vitamins and water consumption and any number of other …

The Bad with the Good: With Guests Uzma Khan & Gustav Källstrand

October 24th, 2022


You've probably caught yourself indulging after a workout or a game or a stretch of healthy eating. Maybe it was a pint or two after a soccer game or …

Rebroadcast: Silver Linings: With Guests Annie Duke, Kassia St. Clair & Adam Grant

October 10th, 2022


If you’ve ever lost a job, or been through a breakup, or failed an exam, you’ll know that the aftermath can be painful and disorienting. But for some …

So Much in Common: With Guests Samantha Futerman, Anaïs Bordier & Kareem Haggag

September 26th, 2022


When we feel angry or excited, or happy or sad, the reasons for those emotions may seem obvious. Angry? It was that argument with a spouse. Excited? It was that promotion at work. Happy? Must've been that delicious …

How You Spend It: With Guests Joshua Fields Millburn & Cassie Mogilner Holmes

September 12th, 2022


“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” A quintessentially American phrase from the Declaration of Independence. That “pursuit of happiness” takes many forms, but it turns out that some approaches are more likely …

Not by a Long Shot: With Guests Katia Jordan & Craig Fox

August 29th, 2022


Humans can easily distinguish between a zero-chance event (e.g., the Washington Nationals winning the World Series in 2022) and a sure thing (e.g., the sun coming up tomorrow). But in between those two clear outcomes, …

Fail Better: With Guests Joseph Herscher & Lauren Eskreis-Winkler

August 15th, 2022


You hear it a lot in contemporary education, the tech world, and the arts: that it's important to fail, to make mistakes so that you can learn from them and get better at whatever you do. But that generally accepted …

Under Pressure: With Guests Svetlana Savranskaya, Gary Slaughter & Modupe Akinola

May 23rd, 2022


If you've ever been faced with an important decision when time was scarce, information was incomplete, or tempers were running high, you'll know that …

Out of Proportion: With Guests Damon Lesmeister & Kelly Shue

May 9th, 2022


Many of the decisions we make require us to compare numbers. Which car is most fuel efficient? How is a stock performing relative to the market? How risky is one medication versus another? A problem arises when we fail …

Choiceology's Guide to Nudges

April 25th, 2022


Nudges are all around you. They might help you choose your meal at a restaurant, navigate a busy airport terminal, or start saving for the future. But nudges are often subtle, so you might not notice them until they’re …

More Than a Feeling: With Guests Jamie Wall, Mona Krewel & Alex Edmans

April 11th, 2022


While it’s nice to think of ourselves as rational decision-makers, more often than not, emotion plays a role in how we decide. Some people may spend …

Second-Guessing First Impressions: With Guests Allen Sarven & Richard Nisbett

March 28th, 2022


Don’t shoot the messenger is a metaphorical phrase for blaming the bearer of bad news. It’s easy to be angry with someone who is associated with information you don’t want to hear–say, a doctor delivering an unwelcome …

Less Is More: With Guests Ryan McFarland & Gabrielle Adams

March 14th, 2022


Supply chain issues and income inequality notwithstanding, we live in an age of abundance. Our closets overflow with clothing. Many children have …

A Clean Slate: With Guests John Beshears, Richard Thaler & Ray Zahab (Rebroadcast)

January 1st, 2022


For many people, the start of a new year is an occasion to re-examine their lives, to set new goals and to give up old habits. Making New Year’s …

The Power of Negative Thinking: With Guests Annie Duke, Mike Richard & Kelvin Wu

October 25th, 2021


Anticipating and planning for obstacles can sometimes be more powerful than adopting a positive mindset.

A positive attitude is important when …

The Good Fight: With Guests Adam Grant & Tom Crouch

October 11th, 2021


Most of us would prefer to avoid an argument at work or at home. But there are times when arguments—at least when they’re civil—can help surface …

Expect the Unexpected: With Guests Abigail Sussman, Howie Jeon & Greg Golden

September 27th, 2021


Perhaps this scenario seems familiar. Let’s say you generally do a good job of sticking to your monthly budget, but a rare opportunity arises—maybe a favorite musical artist is in town, or you’ve been invited to a …

What’s the Big Idea? With Guests Robert Rydell & Don Moore

September 13th, 2021


When young children imagine their future lives, they’re often very optimistic. They’ll say things like “I’m going to be an astronaut!” or “When I grow up, I want to be a movie star!” These outcomes are, of course, quite …

Not Just Another Statistic: With Guests Carol Quirke & Deborah Small

August 30th, 2021


You may notice that charity campaigns tend to focus on the stories of one or two individuals or families, and that those stories are often rich with emotional content but light on information and statistics. There’s a …

Big Goals, Little Steps: With Guests Shannon Miller & Hal Hershfield

August 16th, 2021


Most people wouldn’t attempt a marathon or a climb up Mount Everest without first working through some less audacious objectives. And yet there are …

Scientist Mode: With Guests Adam Grant & Luca Parmitano

June 7th, 2021


Important decisions can be complex and difficult to make. We’re at the mercy of certain behavioral biases, and we often face a degree of uncertainty. …

Judge the Judges: With Guests Daniel Kahneman, James Hutchinson & G.M. Pucilowski

May 24th, 2021


Many episodes of this podcast deal with cognitive biases that can hinder our decision-making abilities. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy …

Silver Linings: With Guests Annie Duke, Kassia St. Clair & Adam Grant

May 10th, 2021


If you’ve ever lost a job, or been through a breakup, or failed an exam, you’ll know that the aftermath can be painful and disorienting. But for some …

Hold That Thought: With Guests Sarah-Louise Miller, Warren Reed, Todd Rogers & Angela Duckworth

April 26th, 2021


You probably have a list of reminders somewhere. Maybe you have a calendar with important dates marked. And likely a mental to-do list. And shopping lists. And gift ideas. And you’ve got to remember to get your taxes …

In the Face of Risk: With Guests Jeff Elison & Ido Erev

April 12th, 2021


For many, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic was terrifying. Descriptions of the outbreak in Europe and Asia led to panic buying and sheltering in place here at home. But, as time passed and people became …

Mindful of Mindsets: With Guests Erik Vance & Alia Crum

March 29th, 2021


Have you ever visited your doctor to deal with a minor health issue and then left the office with nothing more than the doctor’s calming reassurance? Chances are good that you felt a bit better, physically, just by …

Some Assembly Preferred: With Guests Mike Norton & Michael Ojo

March 15th, 2021


Hardware stores and home improvement shows often promote do-it-yourself projects. And while it’s challenging to make your own projects look as good as the ones on TV or in glossy brochures, building something yourself …

If Only …: With Guests Stirling Hart & Colin Camerer

October 12th, 2020


In a past episode titled “Spoiled for Choice,” we looked at how decision-making can be hampered by our desire to avoid the painful emotion of regret. …

I Don’t Want to Know: With Guests Amelia Boone & Emily Ho

September 28th, 2020


For some people, the check engine light on their car dashboard means an immediate trip to the repair shop. But for others, it represents a nagging unpleasant feeling that’s best to be avoided. So they put it out of …

A Successful Failure: With Guests Cass Sunstein, Kirabo Jackson & Andrew Chaikin

September 14th, 2020


You’ve probably had the annoying experience of going to a store to pick up a few things, only to leave having forgotten at least one of them. That’s …

Fair Is Fair: With Guests John Thorn & Richard Thaler

August 31st, 2020


“Mom! Janey got more ice cream than me! Not fair!” For kids—and many adults—the notion of what’s fair or not often involves comparing quantities of …

Spoiled for Choice: With Guests Barry Schwartz & Jen Glantz

August 17th, 2020


Traditional economic theory says that more choice should always be better than less. After all, if the cereal aisle has corn flakes, honey nut corn …

A Bundle of Nerves: With Guests Alison Wood Brooks & Steven Osborne

August 3rd, 2020


The rapid heartbeat. The shaking hands. The flushed face. The symptoms of pre-performance jitters are common. For some people, nervousness before a big test or important presentation is normal and temporary. For others, …

A Spoonful of Sugar: With Guests Ayelet Fishbach, Dan Ariely, Lynne Gauthier & Nancy Strahl

May 25th, 2020


“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap, the job’s a game!” So says Julie Andrews’ character in the …

Bidder Beware: With Guests Max Bazerman & Glenye Cain Oakford

May 11th, 2020


Have you ever bid in a competitive auction—say, on eBay—and won the item, only to see a similar item for sale elsewhere at a lower price? If so, you may have fallen prey to the winner’s curse.

In this episode of

A Choice Apart: With Guests Max Bazerman & Vivienne Wagner

April 27th, 2020


Have you ever purchased a car or a motorcycle or a boat, based on some particular quality it had that made you fall in love? Maybe it was candy apple …

So Close to the Prize: With Guests Oleg Urminsky & Brian Zinn

April 13th, 2020


If you’ve ever signed up for a frequent flyer program, chances are good that you were awarded a certain number of bonus points to start. Those bonus points feel like a nice little gift, but they also serve another …

Coping Amid the Crisis: With Guest Laurie Santos

April 6th, 2020


An unprecedented global health crisis has overwhelmed healthcare systems, disrupted economies and financial markets, and radically altered our daily lives. And while social distancing is the responsible thing to do to …

The Simple Choice: With Guests Shlomo Benartzi & Eric Sink

March 30th, 2020


We are inundated with decisions in the modern world. What to wear, what to buy, what to watch, where to work, what to eat, who to call, where to live, what to study, when to exercise, how much to save, etc. And every …

Judge the Judges: With Guests Daniel Kahneman, James Hutchinson & G.M. Pucilowski

March 16th, 2020


Many episodes of this podcast deal with cognitive biases that can hinder our decision-making abilities. In this episode of Choiceology with Katy …

The Price of Your Vice: With Guests Dan Ariely & Dean Karlan

December 2nd, 2019


In an episode of the television series Seinfeld, Jerry does a standup bit where he talks about staying up too late at night. He says, “I’m Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late,” to which he then replies, “What …

Creatures of Habit: With Guests Wendy Wood, Angela Duckworth & Stephan Kesting

November 18th, 2019


Benjamin Franklin is one of the most revered figures in American history. He accomplished more in one lifetime--as a publisher, scientist, and …

Invisible Failures: With Guests Emily Oster, Sendhil Mullainathan & Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

November 4th, 2019


If you’ve toured through any old world cities, you’ve probably marveled at ancient buildings that have stood the test of time. You might think to …

Take the Deal! With Guests Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer & Luis Green

October 21st, 2019


In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how framing a decision based on what you stand to lose versus what you stand to gain …

Your Own Advice: With Guests Angela Duckworth, Lauren Eskreis-Winkler & Mike Mangini

October 7th, 2019


Say you have a colleague who is struggling to complete a project at work. You might offer them some tips and tricks based on your own experience with …

Not Quite Enough: With Guests Howard Scott Warshaw, Sendhil Mullainathan & Anuj Shah

September 23rd, 2019


Think back to a situation where you’ve been really pressed for time. Chances are good that the pressure of a deadline or an appointment caused you to be (a) hyper-focused and efficient or (b) panicked and prone to …

The Lucky Loonie: With Guests Peter Jordan, Trent Evans & Don Moore

September 9th, 2019


There’s something satisfying about the close door button in an elevator, especially when you’re in a rush. However, it turns out that most of those close door buttons aren’t actually connected to anything; they have no …

Best-Laid Plans: With Guests Ken Bowersox, Robert Godwin & Bradley Staats

May 27th, 2019


If you’ve ever been through a home renovation, you know that it often takes more time or more money (or both!) than the contractor’s original estimate. But why is that? Experienced contractors renovate homes all the …

Boxed In: With Guests Sophie Morgan, Modupe Akinola & Dolly Chugh

May 13th, 2019


Assuming you live in the northern hemisphere, which would you say is colder: a day in March or a Day in April? On average, of course, March is colder …

Knew It All Along: With Guests Kathleen Vohs, Douglas Porch & Julian Jackson

April 29th, 2019


Think about a time when something happened that just seemed meant to be. Maybe you had a feeling that your child would get into a certain college. …

No Harm, No Foul? With Guests Francesca Gino & Dr. Byers “Bud” Shaw

April 15th, 2019


It makes some intuitive sense to judge a decision based on its results. But is it always true that a good decision leads to a good outcome, and vice …

Hitting Your Number: With Guests Jason Beck & Devin Pope

April 1st, 2019


Have you ever noticed that there’s something satisfying about seeing a car’s odometer roll over from 99,999 to 100,000 miles? Or maybe more likely, …

Out of Focus: With Guests Dolly Chugh, Max Bazerman & Mark Pendergrast

March 18th, 2019


If you’ve ever watched a TV crime drama, you’ve probably heard that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. A person commits a crime literally right in front of someone, but the witness can’t identify key …

Love the Mug You’re With: With Guests Joel Platt, Sally Sadoff & Richard Thaler

February 18th, 2019


“For most things are differently valued by those who have them and by those who wish to get them; what belongs to us, and what we give away, always …

Data for the Win: With Guests Michael Kist & Cade Massey

February 4th, 2019


Netflix recommendations, Amazon suggestions, Google searches, airline ticket prices, your social media feed. All of these things are driven by algorithms—computer models that crunch massive amounts of data to generate …

The Mystery of Chance: With Guests Andy Marocco & Tom Gilovich

January 21st, 2019


Have you ever seen a cloud overhead that looks very much like, say, a rabbit? Or maybe you’ve found a potato chip that had an uncanny resemblance to Elvis, or a cornflake that was almost exactly the shape of the state …

A Clean Slate: With Guests John Beshears, Richard Thaler & Ray Zahab

January 7th, 2019


For many people, the start of a new year is an occasion to re-examine their lives, to set new goals and to give up old habits. Making New Year’s …

Happy Holidays from Choiceology

December 21st, 2018


Choiceology with Katy Milkman returns after the holidays, starting with a special New Year’s episode on January 7. In the meantime, you can listen to …

Happiness: With Guests Scott Harrison & Mike Norton

December 10th, 2018


In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we examine an old insight about happiness and giving. It’s an insight that is now backed up by …

Everybody’s Doing It: With Guests Tyler Hamilton & Todd Rogers

November 26th, 2018


You’re an independent-minded person. You make choices for yourself based on the best information available. You own your decisions, right or wrong. Right?

No so fast. You are, in fact, a social animal. You take many …

The Temptation of Now: With Guests Richard Thaler & Angela Duckworth

November 12th, 2018


Most of us would like to think we make decisions for our own good. Presented with the imaginary choice between a bag of salty, greasy potato chips …

Losses Loom Large: With Guests Hank Haney, Dolly Chugh & Maurice Schweitzer

October 29th, 2018


Winning feels good. Whether it’s nailing a tricky golf shot or landing a big client for your firm, it’s nice to come out on top. But is it the thrill …

Introducing Season 2 of Choiceology

October 15th, 2018


Season 2 of Choiceology is coming soon! Dan Heath hands the reins over to new host Katy Milkman for this season. Katy brings an incredible depth of …

How Tomorrow Feels Today

May 14th, 2018


Imagine you’ve just been through a major life event: The birth of a child. A major award. The loss of a job. A divorce. Now picture yourself 10 years in the future and try to imagine how that event affected your overall …

A Number in Mind

April 23rd, 2018


When you set out to buy something—a car, for example, or a laptop or some small gadget for your kitchen—you analyze the features and the style and the utility of the thing, and then you make a choice. But it turns out …

Swimming with Sharks

April 9th, 2018


Sometimes it seems as if danger lurks around every corner. News reports of events like plane crashes and shark attacks make grave risk to life and limb feel real and imminent. And while there’s no doubt that risk is a …

The Devil's Advocate

March 26th, 2018


In a world awash in data, you’d think it would be relatively easy to make informed, objective decisions. But there’s a problem that gets in your way, …

Summit Fever

March 12th, 2018


Imagine that you’ve put in effort toward a goal, but things haven’t quite worked out the way you hoped. Maybe your goal was more expensive than you expected; maybe it’s taking longer to reach than you thought. So the …

The Big Impact of Small Changes

February 26th, 2018


You don’t make decisions in a vacuum. Context matters, perhaps more than you think. On this episode of Choiceology with Dan Heath, we explore the …

It's Hard To Be Humble

February 12th, 2018


The Battle of Midway. Saltine crackers. Carnival games. What do these seemingly unrelated things have in common? Well, they’re connected by a common …

Introducing Choiceology with Dan Heath

January 19th, 2018


You’re not as rational as you think. In this new podcast, bestselling author Dan Heath performs forensic analysis on decision making. You’ll hear real stories, learn from top experts, and witness informal experiments …

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