It’s been an exciting year. The Behavioral Scientist launched earlier this spring, and since then we’ve had the opportunity to cover a diverse set of issues, including those in education, politics, business, law, and technology. Our most popular articles of the year touched on these issues and more, as well as showcased behavioral scientists with a wide range of expertise. From machine learning to mindfulness, Supreme Court decisions to new research on the time versus money trade-off, we hope you find our most popular articles of the year as compelling and useful as others have.
#1: A Conversation with Malcolm Gladwell: Revisiting Brown v. Board
By Dave Nussbaum
Was the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board based too much on the psychological harm that segregation caused and not enough on the structural inequality that continues to this day?
#2: Rethinking Autism: From Social Awkwardness to Social Creativity
By Scott Barry Kaufman
We’re now understanding what people on the autism spectrum have rather than what they lack, and what they have is social creativity and an unconventional social style.
#3: To Promote Happiness, Choose Time Over Money
By Ashley Whillans and Elizabeth Dunn
An obvious reason for rising feelings of time scarcity is that people simply have less free time than in earlier decades. But there is remarkably little evidence for this idea.
#4: We’re All Behavioral Economists Now
By Erik Angner
In the mid-60s, Chicago economist Milton Friedman coined the phrase “We’re all Keynesians now.” Half a century later, we might say instead: “We’re all behavioral economists now.”
#5: Scaling Nudges with Machine Learning
By Chris Risdon
Just like unlocking the human genome helped identify genetic traits that allow for personalized medical advice, we can think of machine learning as the next step in unlocking a “behavior genome.”
#6: The Mindful Student
By Rebecca Nyquist Baelen
It’s 8am. You’re in the back of a 6th grade science classroom. The students are sitting up tall in their chairs, their eyes gently closed.
#7: The Myth That Mental Illness Causes Mass Shootings
By Tage Rai
Most Americans think that there is a strong link between mental illness and mass shootings, and shifting the national conversation to mental health reform carries the advantage of avoiding the more politically divisive gun-control debate.
#8: The Rise and Fall of Cognitive Control
By David Rand and Jonathan Cohen
Anthropological evidence suggests that many of the most successful societies collapsed precisely because of the innovations that accompanied their sophistication.
#9: The Brains Behind Behavioral Science
By Chiara Varazzani
A friend of mine shared this simple thought: “My ultimate goal is to change people’s behavior. Behavior change techniques are powerful enough tools. I do not need to know what the brain does.”
#10: Behavioral Science Jokes!
By Evan Nesterak
Why do behavioral scientists have such bad teeth? What do you call a behavioral scientist with two pet donkeys? The behavioral science joke landscape was pretty bleak. Until now.