#1 Intro to Bad Decisions

Welcome to Bad Decisions, the podcast that helps marketers understand why we choose what we choose, why we think what we think, and how to exploit this stuff for fun and commercial gain.

Each episode, Dr Melissa Weinberg (performance psychologist) and Dan Monheit (ad guy) will explore a different heuristic (behavioural quirk) that causes us to make poor decisions. In doing so, they’ll draw from the worlds of research, behavioural sciences, and cold, hard advertising.

Mel: 00:17 Hi. Welcome to Bad Decisions.

Dan: 00:19 The podcast series that explores why we choose what we choose.

Mel: 00:22 Why we think what we think.

Dan: 00:23 And how to exploit this stuff for fun and commercial gain.

Mel: 00:26 I'm Dr. Mel Weinberg. I'm a performance psychologist with a background in subjective well-being and resilience.

Dan: 00:32 I'm Dan Monheit, co-founder of Hardhat, a creative agency built for the digital age.

Mel: 00:47 Every day of our lives, we're faced with making a bunch of decisions. And sometimes we make good ones, but most of the time we actually make really bad ones.

Dan: 00:56 Yeah, you're right. It's actually quite miraculous that we've survived as a species until this point.

Mel: 01:00 We live in a world where we've got choices to make all of the time. How do we know when we're making good decisions? And how do we know we're making bad decisions?

Dan: 01:08 It seems as though our brains aren't always working exactly how we think they should.

Mel: 01:12 It's funny, because we rely on our brains to perform all these important processes for us, but they don't always seem to work in the way that's actually best for us.

Dan: 01:20 Yeah, I mean, like, it's usually net positive.

Mel: 01:24 Generally. But I think, something that we're both interested in is how our brain makes shortcuts to get us to making decisions.

Dan: 01:32 Because the reality is, if we actually stopped and thought about all the options for every decision we needed to make every single day, we'd never get past breakfast, right?

Mel: 01:40 We might end up making the most rational decision, but maybe that's not the best one. Maybe it will help us to make the most rational decision, but maybe that will come at the cost of  a whole lot of our time. So maybe it's actually more effective for us to make decisions based on other things, like I don't know, our emotions.

Dan: 01:58 Yeah, however, when you look at it, knowing how people make decisions and understanding how we can perhaps influence how people make decisions is a pretty important thing, especially if you're an advertising marketing guy like me.

Mel: 02:10 And it's basically what I do as a psychologist, I try to understand why people think, how they feel and really help people get a better understanding of ultimately who they are.

Dan: 02:20 The way the show is going to work is each episode we're going to take a heuristic. And a heuristic is like a quirk or a weird thing that our brain does to help us make a decision without us even really noticing. And we're going to sort of interrogate it from various perspectives.

Mel: 02:32 I'm going to come at it from an academic and psychological perspective. So I'm going to talk about how the brain works. I'm going to look at some of the research and explain some of the research that we have from the field of behavioural economics.

Dan: 02:44 And as interesting as the research and the academic side of things are, I'm going to be bringing the real world where the “rubber hits the road” perspective, and looking at how great brands and great businesses can use some of these heuristics or quirks to sell more products and services and make a whole bunch of cash.

Mel: 03:00 In the upcoming episodes, we're going to explore things like the availability bias, the choice paradox.

Dan: 03:05 We're going to see what happens when you put too many jams on display for people to look at.

Mel: 03:09 We're going to explore how many words you can think of starting with a letter of the alphabet.

Dan: 03:14 Sounds good, right?

Mel: 03:15 By the time we're done, you'll have a whole new understanding of how your brain works.

Dan: 03:19 And you'll never look at another purchase decision the same way again.