Melina Palmer is the host of The Brainy Business podcast and she has dedicated her career to seeking answers to these questions for herself and her clients. Melina uses behavioral economics to help everyone from global corporations to entrepreneurs understand the psychology of why people buy, unlocking the secrets of small changes that make a big difference via her podcast, public speaking, and column on The result is messaging, branding, advertisements, pricing and products that are more “brain-friendly” (meaning more leads, conversions, and revenue).

Our conversation with Melina covered the anchoring effect and what a powerful tool it can be for both sellers and buyers alike. We also chatted about her John Mayer playlist on Pandora and some of the things she’s doing to make the world a better place through the education of behavioral economics and neuroscience.

Kurt and Tim are also announcing our newest podcast, Weekly Grooves, which will be launching shortly, and we hope you’ll check it out.

Groove idea for the week: What are you doing to integrate the anchoring effect into your business or your personal life?

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves



Brainy Business Website:

Melina’s articles:

Melina’s Facebook:

Melina’s Instagram:

Melina’s YouTube:

Melina’s Twitter:

Melina’s LinkedIn:

Melina’s John Mayer Playlist:

Anchoring Effect:

Decoy Effect:

Ran Kivetz, PhD:

Katy Milkman’s Fresh Start Habit:

Counterfactual Thinking:

Seattle Mariners:

Audacity (digital audio workstation):

George Loewenstein, PhD:


Musical Links

Gene Autry “Back in the Saddle”:

John Mayer:

Michael Bublé:

Lady Antebellum:

Miranda Lambert:

Patsy Cline:

Christina Perri:

US National Anthem:

Tom Petty:

Damien Rice:

Red Hot Chili Peppers:

Ella Fitzgerald “Mac the Knife: Ella in Berlin 1960”:

Steely Dan “Gaucho”:

Beatles “Abbey Road”:

Beatles “Sargent Pepper”:

Iron & Wine:


Too often, in our estimation, people make recommendations to us with the intent to improve our life but the effect on us is the opposite of that. Rather than completely engaging us, some recommendations or pieces of advice actually overpower any enthusiasm we might for following up. This is especially true when the recommendation is too big to get our heads around.

Casual comments like, “Oh, you should read that book,” or, “You should go to Malaysia,” or, “You should check out that podcast series,” are often too much for us to process. They’re all well-intended, and could be terrific recommendations, but thinking about starting a massive new book in an already jam-packed life can be the opposite of engaging: sometimes, it’s demotivating.  

 So in this Grooving Session, we use a behavioral science hack to START SMALL and we’re recommending our favorite podcast episodes (produced by other podcasters!) to our listeners. We think you’ll like these specific podcast episodes by some of our favorite hosts on some of our favorite topics. And because they’re itty-bitty single episodes, we hope you can start small and check some of them out in the links below.

Coming soon! We are launching a new podcast (a new channel in the podcaster’s vernacular) and it’s called Weekly Grooves. Weekly Grooves will be a weekly review of topical issues in the media during the week done through a behavioral science commentary. This will launch in late January 2020, and we hope you’ll check it out.

Please take 23 seconds right now to give us a rating. A review only takes 57 seconds, so you can do that, too! Reviews and 5-star ratings play a positive role in getting Behavioral Grooves promoted to new listeners when they’re out browsing for an interesting behavioral science podcast.

As always, thanks for listening and we hope you enjoy lots of great episodes from other podcasters!


Happiness Lab: Laurie Santos, PhD. Make ‘Em Laugh.

Canned laugh tracks positively affect our experience even when we KNOW they’re canned!

Great production and a cool person.


Choiceology: Katy Milkman, PhD. Take the Deal.

Danny Kahneman, Colin Camerer, and Luis Green tell the tales of our flawed decision making – even when the consequences are big!

Terrific interviewer. Great production.


Big Brains: Paul Rand. Why Talking to Strangers Will Make You Happier.

Nick Epley, PhD discussed the importance of talking to strangers and how it will make YOU happier.


Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates: John Donvan. Is Social Media Good for Democracy?

Fascinating discussion about the pro’s and con’s of social media.


The David Gilmour Podcast: David Gilmour. The Fender Stratocaster #0001.

Yes. It really does exist and David Gilmour owns it and cherishes it.


You Are Not So Smart: David McRaney.

Pluralistic Ignorance: The psychology behind why people don’t speak out against, and even defend, norms they secretly despise.

A terrific episode exploring how social norms are perpetuated even when the majority don’t agree with them.


Song Exploder: Hrishikesh Hirway. Sheryl Crow: Redemption Day.

How songwriters come to write and record songs is amazing to me and this is a very articulate songwriter.


O Behave: Ogilvy Consulting. Dollars and Sense.

Jeff Kreisler (one of our favorites) and Rory Sutherland dig into Jeff’s work in behavioral finance.


Radio Lab: Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. Smarty Plants.

This episode explores the amazingly brainy behaviors of brainless things: plants!


Happiness Lab: Laurie Santos, PhD. The Unhappy Millionaire

This episode explores how we don’t really understand what makes us happy…with Dan Gilbert


The Knowledge Project: Shane Parrish. Neil Pasricha: Happy Habits

Looks at habits that can make you happier or not


The Science of Success: Matt Bodner. Guest = Jonathan Haidt

Three dangerous ideas that are putting our society at risk – Looking at the anti-fragile movement that Haidt looks at how we need to allow Coddling the American Mind.  Overprotecting kids and not letting them have failures…question feelings


Hustle and Flowchart Podcast: Matt Wolfe and Joe Fier. Therapy Session (153) – T&C, Podfest, Selling Shirts and Affiliate Marketing

Matt and Joe discuss a number of things that have been going on with them and some insights on podcasting  


Smart Drug Smarts: Jesse Lawler. Aphantasia with Dr. Joel Pearson

Where Kurt found out about Aphantasia and realized that he had it.


Hidden Brain: Shanker Vedantam. Facts Aren’t Enough

A look at confirmation bias and how data doesn’t change our minds…Tali Sharot and Cailin O’Conner add insight (smallpox variolation)


Big Think Think Again: Jason Gotz. Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie: the cognitive segregation of America

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves


Rory Sutherland is a British advertising executive who became fascinated with behavioral science. Between his TED talks, books and articles, he has become one of the field’s greatest proponents. Rory is currently the Executive Creative Director of OgilvyOne, after gigs as vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK and co-founder of the Behavioural Sciences Practice, part of the Ogilvy & Mather group of companies. He is the author of The Spectator’s The Wiki Man column and his most recent book, which we highly recommend, is Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life.

We started our discussion with Rory by asking him about his new book and some of his insights from it. His approach to advertising, marketing and product design is informed by his ability to look for the things that aren’t there. He once described a solution to improving customer satisfaction on the Chunnel Train between London and Paris by suggesting that a billion dollars would be better spent on supermodel hosts in the cars than on reducing ride time by 15 minutes. He’s a terrifically insightful thinker.

Our conversation ran amok of all sorts of rabbit holes, as expected, including ergodicity, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's “The Silver Blaze,” high-end audio and the dietary habits of the world-famous runner, Usain Bolt.

In Kurt and Tim’s Grooving Session, we discuss some of our favorite takeaways from Rory’s conversation including, “The Opposite of a Good Idea is a Good Idea” and others. And finally, Kurt teed up the Bonus Track with a final reflection and recap of the key points we discussed.

As always, we would be grateful if you would write us a quick review. It helps us get noticed by other folks who are interested in podcasts about behavioral science. It will only take 27 seconds. Thank you, and we appreciate your help. 

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves



Rory Sutherland:

“Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life”:


Murray Gell-Mann, PhD:

Robin Williams “Scottish Golf”:

Don Draper:


John James Cowperthwaite:


Daniel Kahneman, PhD:

What You See is All There Is:,_Fast_and_Slow

Arthur Conan-Doyle:

Sherlock Holmes “Silver Blaze”:

Tim Houlihan’s Blog on “Silver Blaze”:

Ben Franklin T-Test:

Volkswagen Fighter:

David Ogilvy:

Jock Elliot:

Battle of Leyte Gulf:

Croft Audio:

Mu-So single speaker:

WFMT Chicago:

TK Maxx:

Berlin Hotel with Big Lebowski:




Usain Bolt:

Sheena Iyengar, PhD:

Jelly Jar Study:

Big Band Music:


Musical Links

Aretha Franklin:

Southern California Community Choir:


Felix Mendelssohn:

George Frideric Handel:

Johann Sebastian Bach:

Johann Christian Bach: