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How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution

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How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution

Freakonomics podcast

Freakonomics Radio,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

The goal: learn the best behavior-change practices. The method: analyze data of millions of people.

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Why do you reach for cookies when trying to lose weight or spend your bonus rather than socking it away in savings? You know such behaviors are detrimental to your well-being yet, as Freakonomics Radio host Stephen J. Dubner discusses, most people do them anyway. In this enlightening public radio episode, Dubner introduces University of Pennsylvania researchers Angela Duckworth and Katy Milkman. The pair explain how their research project aims to use the data of millions of people to ascertain how best to make long-lasting, positive behavioral changes in health, education and personal finance.


The extensive, ambitious Behavior Change for Good research project aims to discover how best to achieve lasting changes in behavior.

The Behavior Change for Good project by University of Pennsylvania professors Angela Duckworth and Katy Milkman builds on the research of Nobel Prize-winning psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, and economist Richard Thaler. Their original, ground-breaking work changed people’s view of how individuals make decisions.

Now, Duckworth and Milkman are launching an initiative that collects and crunches the data of millions of people to determine how to achieve long-lasting behavior change. They’ve partnered with big businesses such as Bank of America and CVS to search for behavioral solutions to the types of challenges most people face, such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly or putting money away in savings.

Custom-built digital platforms will collect the data. People using the bank or fitness platforms...

About the Podcast

Angela Duckworth is a Professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit Character Lab. Katherine Milkman is an award-winning researcher and professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Stephen J. Dubner is co-author of the best-selling series Freakonomics, a host of Freakonomics Radio and an award-winning journalist.

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