tech-learning-psych - UC Berkeley School of Information

Report
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Behavioral Psychology and
Technologies for Education
Marti Hearst
March 10, 2012
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This Lecture
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I present psychological results
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Collectively we decide how these impact education and technology
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The Elephant and the Rider
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Your brain isn’t of one mind:
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The elephant and the rider.
Jonathan Haidt, University of
Virginia, Psychology
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Your Brain Isn’t of
One Mind
The rider is the conscious controller
Perched on top and seems to hold the
reins.
Thinks long term
But also overthinks; analysis paralysis
The elephant is the emotional side:
much more powerful
Often wins the argument about which
way to go.
Instant gratification.
Sometimes for the benefit
Instinct to protect your child
Provide the energy behind
motivating major efforts.
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Willpower is an
exhaustible resource
Experiment:
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Can eat radishes but not cookies
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Afterwards, radish eaters have
less energy to engage in a puzzle.
The rider is too tired to work any
longer.
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How to Change Behavior
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To change behavior
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Must engage both the rider
and the elephant
Three main steps:
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Direct the rider
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Motivate the elephant
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Shape the path
Chip Heath, Stanford Business
School, Organization Behavior
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Example: changing
purchasing habits
Engage the elephant
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Example: change
hospital practices
Defect rate in hospital practice analyzed to
be 1 in 10.
The methods to improve were clear, but
nothing was changing.
How to fix? Engage the elephant:
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Brought in mother of patient who didn’t
make it
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Set a tangible goal:
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Save 100,00 lives in 18 months.
Shaped the path:
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Step-by-step instructions
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Support groups, mentors
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Peer pressure
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Example: how to save
malnourished children
with no budget?
The rider lists the dozens of
impossible problems
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Water quality, sanitation, poverty
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TBU (true but useless)
Strategy:
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Look for bright spots
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Engage the elephants of the
population to make these work
Eventually engaged 2.2M people
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Example: how to
sell a new product?
A few salespeople were successful
The Rider discounts this, says they
had an unfair advantage
Instead, see what they do differently.
They provided a path for success
The drug required an unfamiliar
administration method, so they
focused on tutorials for this part.
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Habit
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100 years ago, few people
brushed their teeth
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A Pepsodent marketer
changed this.
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Cue, routine, reward
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Charles Duhigg, journalist
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Habit
Rats in maze:
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Brains highly active when first learning
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Then as rats got faster, mental activity
decreased.
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At this point, there are two spikes of
mental activity: at the start when they
heard the click of the maze opening,
and at the end when they got the
reward of the chocolate.
The brain is ready to change at those points
(no chocolate, new maze)
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Habit
Duhigg always got a cookie at 3pm
Gained 20 pounds!
Habit psychology helped him solve it
Three part loop:
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Cue (trigger)
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Routine
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Reward
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Habit
How to change it:
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Change the cue
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Change the reward
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The routine gets reinforced over
time
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The Paradox of Choice
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Contrary to popular opinion,
more choices can be negative
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Can lead to more anxiety
Barry Schwartz, Swarthmore,
psychologist
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Jam Study
Lepper & Iyengar
24 flavors of jams available
Showed either 24 or 6 varieties
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When 24 shown, attracted more
customers, but 3% bought
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When 6 shown, 30% bought
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Decision paralysis
If there is one drug left to try before
surgery, doctors try it.
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But if there are 2, they go for
surgery
401k investments:
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For every 10 options offered,
participation rate decreases 2%
Speed daters who meet 8 people make
more matches than those who meet 20
Shopping makes you tired:
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The rider has to make lots of choices
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Nudges
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Decision making:
 No setting is neutral
 Even small and seemingly
insignificant details can
matter
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“Libertarian paternalism”
 People retain their right to
make choices
 But are “nudged” in the
“right” direction
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Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein,
University of Chicago, Law &
Behavioral Economics
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Settings Influence
Behavior
How much someone eats is
influenced by the size of the serving
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Default settings
matter
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Choices are presented
in non-neutral frames
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Cafeteria offerings
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401(k) investments
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Organ donation
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Predictably Irrational
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Anchoring effects
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People exposed to one
number carry it over to
others
Dan Ariely, Behavioral
Economist, MIT
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Cognitive Biases
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Conjunction Falacy:
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Hindsight bias
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Conjunction of 2 events seen
as more probably then
either in isolation
Tendency to revise history
of one’s beliefs in light of
what actually happened
Halo effect:
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Tendency to like or dislike
everything about an entity
based on a few salient traits
Thanks to Arthur Suermondt, Jeff Zych, and Evan Smith for this slide
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How To Live in a World We Don’t
Understand Very Well
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People underestimate lowprobability events
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People are biased not to
notice negative information
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Nassim Taleb, Former professor,
financial advisor,
“epistemologist of randomness”
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Survivor bias
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WWII: placement of armor on
returning airplanes
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Looked at where the bullet holes
appeared on the plane
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They don’t see the planes that
were shot down!
Lessons learned from business
successes: I had 3 successful
startups so now I’m the guru.
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Or am I just the lucky one
statistically?
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Low Probability
Events
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In applying probabilities there is
an asymmetry between safety
and danger.
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Some decisions require vastly
more caution than others:
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You don’t need evidence that the
waster is poisonous to not drink
it.
Taleb: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/taleb08
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Survivor Bias and Low
Probability Events
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If the same study is done 20 times, and by
chance it’s positive once time in 20, we only
see the published paper with the lowprobability positive event.
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Someone in a crowd of 1000 people will get
heads more often than chance.
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Someone in a large enough set of people will
appear to have ESP.
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Some of the companies in “Good to Great” by
Jim Collins in 2001 are now defunct
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If you invested in the 11 “great”
companies you would have
underperformed the market
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Did some of the not “great” companies
also practice a “culture of discipline?
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Among these “greats” were Fannie
Mae and Circuit City.
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http://www.freakonomics.com/2008/07
/28/from-good-to-great-to-belowaverage/
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Discussion

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