Incentives can improve motivation. But what actually happens when the incentive is removed? An influential body of research previously suggested that extrinsic rewards have a negative impact on intrinsic motivation. However, more recent studies show this not to be the case over the long term. Our guest, Dr Indranil Goswami PhD, talks us through the longer term effects of temporary incentives and the implications for motivating behavior change.

Indranil is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University at Buffalo.  The research that we focus on in this episode is the paper he co-wrote with Dr Oleg Urminsky PhD, called  “The Dynamic Effect of Incentives on Post-Reward Task Engagement”.

While there may be a dose of confirmation bias with this conversation, Kurt and Tim are excited to hear more about Indranil’s research which backs up what they have been telling companies for years:

“Incentives are useful for improving people's behavior, engagement and performance.”

Managers, academics and even parents have bought into the widely held belief that extrinsic motivators are not a useful tool for initiating behavior change. But Indranil’s work may help you reevaluate the tools you use to motivate those around you. Listen in and let us know if it encourages you to rethink your incentive program.

Regular listeners to Behavioral Grooves may enjoy being part of our exclusive group of Patreon members by supporting our work. You can also write a review of our podcast on whatever platform you listen on, and we often read these out on the show. Thank you!



(2:49) Welcome and speed round questions.

(4:00) Do extrinsic incentives always suppress intrinsic motivation?

(9:41) Does post incentive disengagement actually happen?

(16:59) The surprising effect of big incentives.

(22:42) Real world experiences of incentives.

(25:03) Can we design incentives that improve post reward performance?

(31:40) What is more motivating - flat fee payment schemes or rate based payment scheme?

(38:57) Does Indranil use music as motivation?

(43:18) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on rewards and motivation.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves


Goswami I, Urminsky O (2017) The dynamic effect of incentives on postreward task engagement: 

Daniel Kahneman: 

Dan Ariely: 

Eisenberger, R., & Cameron, J. (1996) Detrimental effects of reward: Reality or myth?

Dan Ariely, Uri Gneezy, George Loewenstein, Nina Mazar (2009) Large Stakes and Big Mistakes:

Episode 106, Jana Gallus: The Role of Precision in Incentives: 

Goswami, Indranil and Urminsky, Oleg (2018). Don't Fear the Meter: How Longer Time Limits Yield Biased Preferences for Flat Fee Contracts:

Episode 71, Alex Imas: Clawback Incentives and Tom Waits: 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon:


Musical Links

Ravi Shankar “The Spirit of India”: 

Groove Track | Why can’t you find a cab in the rain? 

We take a deep dive exploring the 1997 study “LABOR SUPPLY OF NEW YORK CITY CAB DRIVERS: ONE DAY AT A TIME,” by  Colin Camerer, Linda Babcock, George Loewenstein, and Richard Thaler.   This paper shifts through piles of data to look at how NY city cab drivers behaved - and what they found was an economic anomaly - the cab drivers did not behave as classical economists predicted.  The data showed that the drivers worked shorter hours on days when they earned faster (e.g., when it's raining) which goes against what economists would have predicted (i.e., that they maximize those opportunities).    

Kurt and Tim run through how the study came to be, what they measured, and the implications of the paper's findings.  This is a quick and fun dive into one of behavioral science classic studies.  

Find out more about this paper in our blog post

Love connects us to things in a deep way. But when we say we love our car, or we love our favorite beach, or we love our children, the love we express for each of those things is very different. So can we really love things as much as we love people? 

Our guest is Dr. Aaron Ahuvia, the world’s leading expert on brand love, a topic he pioneered and has worked on since 1990. He is a Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s Ross School of Business. Among the many books and papers he has authored, our favorite is the paper titled “Dr. Seuss, Felicitator”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “felicitator,” it is someone who brings happiness to others. 

With Aaron, we discuss the very interesting and important topic of loving the things in our lives, why we love them, and how that love can change over time. This is especially true with brands and products and sporting teams and neighborhoods. One of the big takeaways from our conversation with Aaron is just to let go of this notion that it might be bad to love something.

If you love Behavioral Grooves, and it brings you a little happiness, please consider becoming one of our special Patreon members. Or you can tell us, and others, how much you love the show by leaving us a podcast review on whatever platform you use to listen. Thanks!



(4:45) Welcome and speed round questions.

(7:09) Can you really love a thing like you love a person?

(9:39) The difference between liking and loving.

(13:13) Why do we love sports teams?

(18:05) Why do we love something that can’t reciprocate?

(20:18) Is there an evolutionary basis to our love of objects?

(23:44) Do we love the things we use more often?

(27:44) Loving the music vs. the equipment that plays the music.

(34:29) The social aspect of the objects we buy.

(36:46) How Aaron loves music.

(42:46) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on what we love.

© 2022 Behavioral Grooves


Aaron Ahuvia’s book “The Things We Love: How Our Passions Connect Us and Make Us Who We Are”: 

Broadbent, Sarah (2012) Brand love in sport: antecedents and consequences: 

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Episode 306, “Trust Your Gut? Only If The Data Supports It”: 

Rory Sutherland & Pete Dyson, Episode 290 “Transport Your Thinking; Why We Need To Reframe Travel”: 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon: 


Musical Links

Cory Wong “Power Station”: 

Brian Eno “Desert Island Music”: 

Disembarking people from a plane, row by row during the height of COVID, but then cramming all the passengers into a bus to the terminal…where is the common sense in that? Best selling author Martin Lindstrom laments that we are drowning in bureaucracy and that technology is contributing to the death of common sense in society.

Founder and chairman of Lindstrom Company, Martin Lindstrom is also the best selling author of seven New York Times best-selling books. We talk with Martin about his most recent book, “The Ministry Of Common Sense: How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses, and Corporate BS”.

Our conversation covers a lot of ground in a short time, including how John F. Kennedy was a trendsetter for the way businessmen dress today, why Martin lives without a phone, as well as how to cultivate more human-to-human connections. And since no conversation on Behavioral Grooves would be complete without a chit-chat about music, we find out what artists Martin would choose to take with him to a desert island.

If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider donating to our work through Patreon. We really appreciate all our listeners' support, thanks.


(2:55) Welcome to Martin and speed round.

(8:19) Is technology contributing to the death of common sense?

(9:51) Separating private life and work life.

(14:45) What is the Ministry of Common Sense about?

(22:58) Compliance and being different.

(27:07) What musical artists would Martin take to a desert island?

(30:03) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on common sense.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves


Martin Lindstrom’s book: “The Ministry Of Common Sense: How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses, and Corporate BS”: 

Martin Lindstrom: 

Whitney Johnson, Episode 285: “The Three Phases of Growth and Learning”: 

Charlie Bell: 

Human Risk Podcast: 

Nir Eyal, Episode 303 “From Distracted To Focused: Nir Eyal’s Secrets On How To Be Indistractable”: 

Vanessa Bohns, Episode 253 “Why You Don‘t Need to be Powerful to be Influential”: 

Robert Cialdini, Episode 226 “The Power of Unity: Robert Cialdini Expands His Best Selling Book Influence”: 

Andrea Belk Olson, Episode 304 “Finding Out What Your Customers Want and Why It Matters”: 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon page:

Musical Links

Tina Turner “Proud Mary”: 

Phil Collins “A Groovy Kind of Love”: 

Mozart “Requiem”: 

Vivaldi “Four Seasons”: 

A deep dive exploring the 2011 paper by Alia Crum, William Corbin, Kelly Brownwell, and Peter Salovey called “Mind Over Milkshakes: Mindsets, Not Just Nutrients, Determine Ghrelin Response.” This paper shows how our expectations about the nutrient value of a milkshake actually changes our body’s response when consuming the milkshake.

Kurt and Tim run through the experiment in detail and then explore some of the ground breaking implications from the papers findings. This quick, fun, deep-dive will provide you with a greater understanding of this psychological phenomenon and highlight what it means for how we think about marketing, leadership, and our experience with products. 

When making big decisions, people often go with what feels right - who we marry, where we live, what career we pursue. We base these decisions on our gut instinct. But what if our gut is biased, misinformed or quite simply wrong? 

Economist, former Google scientist, New York Times bestselling author and friend of the show Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has mined through thousands of data sets to prove that we are, in fact, frequently making ill-informed decisions when we only trust our gut. And we are delighted to be talking to Seth again about his fantastic new book, Don't Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life.

From the data, Seth has uncovered what activities make us most happy, which isn’t always the most comfortable activity.

“If you're on the fence, between walking with friends, and lying on the couch watching Netflix…go on that walk…it's been proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt that that's the more likely path to happiness.” 

But surprisingly there is one aspect of life that data cannot give us answers on. Listen to Seth’s entertaining interview to find out when exactly we should and shouldn’t trust our gut.

At Behavioral Grooves, the data tells us that our listeners are loving our recent episodes! Thank you to everyone who has recently left us a podcast review. We read each and every one of them! Some of our dedicated Behavioral Grooves, donate to our work through Patreon page. Please consider supporting our work in this way, many thanks.



(2:58) Welcome and speed round questions.

(10:04) Should we really not trust our gut?

(16:09) Relationships are as unpredictable as the weather forecast.

(20:16) Big data doesn’t apply to everything.

(22:51) Is skepticism underrated? 

(24:51) What is mappiness?

(27:48) Does supporting a winning team make you more happy?

(29:28) The #1 happy activity.

(32:29) Mistaking a comfortable activity for an enjoyable activity.

(37:28) What is dataism?

(44:20) The data behind hustling. 

(46:54) Would Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen make it today?

(52:37) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on trusting your gut.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



Seth’s book: “Don't Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life”: 

Episode 246, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: Are You More Honest with Google or Your Friends? 

Alexander Todorov, “Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions”: 

Episode 211, AJ Jacobs: A Thousand Thanks: A Lifetime of Experiments and Gratitude: 

Seth’s previous book: “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are”:

Episode 222, Shankar Vedantam “How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful: Shankar Vedantam Reveals How“: 


Krishnamurti T, Loewenstein G. The partner-specific sexual liking and sexual wanting scale: psychometric properties. Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Apr;41(2): 

Episode 287, Nick Epley, Why Talking To Strangers Is Actually Good For Your Wellbeing: 

Episode 274: Paul Bloom, Why Finding Pleasure in Life is a Painful Journey: 

Episode 205: Logan Ury, The Myth of the “Relationship Spark”: 

1000 True Fans, Kevin Kelly: 


Musical Links

Rick Springfield “Jesse’s Girl”: 

Bruce Springsteen “Glory Days’: 

Bob Dylan “The Times Are A-Changin’”: 23refvc 

Leonard Cohen “Hallelujah”: 

Metallica “Nothing Else Matters”: 

Luther Ingram "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right": 

Over the last 50 years, little has changed for the pharmaceutical management of mental illness. This is troublesome, but not unsolvable, according to The New York Times writer and author, Daniel Bergner. We talked with him about his most recent book, The Mind and the Moon: My Brother’s Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches, and some of the key themes he discovered along his personal journey with a mentally challenged family member and other people he came to know well.

We discussed the shortcomings of our current mental healthcare systems and processes, the benefits of non-traditional mental health therapies, the ancient myth about the Turkey Prince, and how we might be able to get immediate relief by reframing the conversation about pain management and pain suppression.

The book features stories about his brother and a few other people that are told in remarkable detail over a long period of time. The gripping and beautifully-told narrative will open your eyes to some of the challenges that mental illness brings to life. Our conversation with Daniel explored these stories and areas of mental health that are too often overlooked - and we are grateful we get to share that conversation with you.

If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider contributing to our work through Patreon. Writing a podcast review or giving us a quick rating also helps others find our show. Weird, isn’t it? But, yeah, it’s true. We would appreciate any help you can offer.

Most importantly, if you or someone you know needs help, please seek help. The Mental Health Guide is a global resource with phone numbers and websites in dozens of countries:


(2:45) Welcome and speed round.

(5:23) What the book The Mind and The Moon is about.

(7:18) Progress in mental health treatment and with society in the last 50 years.

(10:00) The 3 stories that illustrate mental health in the book.

(15:50) The effect of psilocybin.

(18:15) What a turkey under a table can teach us about managing mental illness.

(21:09) What are the next steps in mental health?

(22:51) Daniel’s personal journey.

(26:23) Writing the book in the context of the Trump election and George Floyd.

(29:15) This is not an anti-pharmaceutical book.

(35:18) Was it deliberate that music was a big part of the book? 

(41:42) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim discussing mental health.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



Mental Health Guide with global phone numbers and websites: 

Daniel Bergner’s book, “The Mind and The Moon: My Brother's Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches”: 


Steven Hyman: 

Episode 274, Paul Bloom, “Why Finding Pleasure in Life is a Painful Journey”: 

Episode 255, Daniel Almeida “The 5 Healthy Brain Habits Of A Neuroscientist”: 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon page:

Musical Links

Stanley Brothers “The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn”: 

Marty Robbins “Red River Valley”: 

Simon & Garfunkel “The Sound of Silence”: 

Wolfgang Mozart “Symphony No. 36 in C Major, K. 425 ‘Linz’ - I. Adagio - Allegro spiritoso”: 

Antonio Vivaldi “Four Seasons - Spring”: 

Customer feedback lacks two fundamental pieces of information: context and behavior. Traditional methods of insight, like the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer feedback surveys have their limitations. Andrea Belk Olson, our guest on this episode, challenges organizations to adopt a different approach to customer behavior by delving into the WHY and the WHAT, then coming up with a WOW hypothesis - a 3 step process called the 3W Ideation.


Author of the new book, “What to Ask: How to Learn What Customers Need but Don't Tell You”:, Andrea Belk Olson is the CEO of applied behavioral science consulting firm Pragmadik, and head of the University of Iowa JPEC startup incubator. She delivers a unique, cognitive method for discovering hidden customer needs, converting them quickly into differentiators, and avoiding the pitfalls of traditional research.


By using behavioral insights in organizations, Andrea believes that companies can become more customer focused. And when everyone in an organization is customer focused, the whole strategic vision of the company realigns. 


If you enjoy listening to Behavioral Grooves Podcast, please consider donating to our work through our Patreon page: We use all the donations to fund the production of the podcast. Thanks!



(3:11) Welcome and speed round questions.

(7:14) How can marketers understand customers' needs?

(13:01) How to remove the disconnect between marketing and sales.

(16:42) The steps marketing can take to get closer to the customer.

(19:23) How behavioral science can help with adapting to change.

(26:07) The 3 W Ideation process: Why, What & WOW.

(30:04) The shortcomings of the Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

(32:44) What role does culture play?

(37:31) What Beethoven can teach us about behavior change.

(42:28) What music would Andrea take to a desert island? 

(45:37) Grooving session with Kurt and Tim on What To Ask. 


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



Andrea Belk Olson’s book: “What to Ask: How to Learn What Customers Need but Don't Tell You”: 

Episode 289, Why Not All Nudges Work ”In The Wild” with Nina Mazar PhD & Dilip Soman PhD: 


Musical Links

Queen “I Want To Break Free”: 

Led Zeppelin “Whole Lotta Love”: 

Utilizing the power of identity by proudly declaring yourself as indistractable can be a persuasive step in becoming the kind of person we want to be. By changing the language we use to describe ourselves, we can actually influence our own behavior. 


This is just one of the techniques that our popular guest, Nir Eyal describes in his new book, “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life”. Nir is the international bestselling author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, a behavioral design expert, and host of the wonderful podcast “Nir and Far”. 


In a world full of demands on our attention, we may think that getting distracted is a recent phenomenon and blame our technology use. But in this episode, Nir describes how getting distracted is simply part of our human nature, something we’ve been plagued with for centuries. Listen to our fascinating interview with Nir to learn how to be intentional with our tasks, what planning our time should look like and why leaving time for reflection can lead to more creative achievements. 


If you enjoy this interview with Nir Eyal on Behavioral Grooves, please consider donating to our work through our Patreon page: We use all the donations to fund the production of the podcast. Thanks!



(3:42) Welcome and speed round questions.

(7:22) Why to-do lists are the worst way to increase productivity.

(12:41) Internal triggers and external triggers.

(16:13) Why is it easier to look outside ourselves than inside ourselves?

(17:57) Nir’s personal journey into behavioral design.

(23:37) The morality of manipulation: behavioral design and ethics.

(27:06) The regret test: how you test ethical design at the corporate level.

(37:02) Practicing self compassion has surprising results on reaching your goals.

(42:23) How the language we use affects our behavior.

(49:28) Nir's very unusual answer to the desert island music question.

(52:29) Grooving session with Kurt and Tim on being indistractable. 

© 2022 Behavioral Grooves


Nir Eyal’s book: “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life”:

Indistractable bonus content:

Nir and Far Podcast: 

Habits vs routines:

Why schedules are better than to-do lists:

Time boxing:

Kurt Lewin:  

Dan Pink, Episode 277: No Regrets? Really? Why Regrets Actually Bring Us Hope: 

Roy Baumeister, Episode 171: Self Control, Belonging, and Why Your Most Dedicated Employees Are the Ones To Watch Out For: 

Bernecker Katharina, Job Veronika (2015) “Beliefs about willpower moderate the effect of previous day demands on next day’s expectations and effective goal striving”: 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon :


Musical Links

The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down”: 

Kanye West “Stronger”:

Mitt Romney once mistakenly quipped that people were either "makers or takers" echoing a common sentiment among US politicians that by working we provide society with value and are rewarded with a sense of dignity. But what if we considered that each of us had dignity that wasn't engulfed in our work identity? Would we be less susceptible to burnout if we accepted ourselves as enough as we are, regardless of our job status? 


Having come through a dark period of burnout himself, Jonathan Malesic firmly believes that we all have dignity. Period. He has written a timely book called The End of Burnout: Why work drains us and how to build better lives. We are delighted that Jon has come to talk to Behavioral Grooves Podcast about what leads to burnout and how to prevent it.


Jon delves into how the Protestant work ethic can contribute to burnout. And echoes Jennifer Moss’ sentiments from last week's episode that burnout is an issue with corporate culture, not an individual problem.


And to Tim's delight, Jon provides some historical context to the first musical mentions of burnout by Bob Dylan and Neil Young back in the 70s. We learn why that period in particular was a pivotal moment in the US labor market and how this is reflected in music from that era.


If you are a regular listener to Behavioral Grooves, please consider donating to our work through Patreon. If donating isn’t an option, don’t worry, writing a podcast review helps others find our show, and we love reading them!



(2:28) Welcome and speed round questions.

(7:47) The expectations of work vs. the reality of work.

(11:38) Jonathan’s experience of burnout.

(16:21) The 6 factors that can lead to burnout.

(21:29) Solutions to burnout.

(23:43) How the Protestant work ethic contributes to burnout.

(27:43) Putting dignity before work.

(32:44) How Jonathan wrote his whole book listening to just one album.

(37:33) Bob Dylan and Neil Young started singing about burnout in the 70s.

(42:45) How to avoid burnout.

(45:56) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on the causes and solutions to burnout.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



Jonathan Malesic: 

The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us and How to Build Better Lives” By Jonathan Malesic:

The Parking Lot Movie by Meghan Eckman:

Christina Maslach: 

Michael Leiter: 

Episode 247, Dr Phil Zimbardo: Stanford Prison Experiment, 50 Years On: What Have We Really Learnt?

The Pope’s Encyclicals:

Herbert Freudenberger: 

The Myth of Sisyphus: 

Episode 301, Jennifer Moss: How To Fix Burnout (Hint: It Isn’t Another Yoga Session): 

Episode 281, Sesil Pir: Why Leaders Need To Care For People, Not Manage Them: 

Behavioral Grooves Patreon:


Musical Links

Neil Young “Ambulance Blues”:

Bob Dylan “Shelter from the Storm”:

The War on Drugs “Lost In The Dream”:

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan “Mustt Mustt”: 


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