April 14, 2019

Danny Oppenheimer: Governance and Helicopter Parenting

Daniel Oppenheimer, PhD, known to all as “Danny,” is a professor of psychology in the Social and Decision Sciences department in the Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. This is the third episode in our Carnegie Mellon series, and Danny is a researcher with a wide variety of curiosities. His writings have been published in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, as well as a number of book chapters and media contributions. Among his notable works, he co-authored Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System That Shouldn’t Work at All Works So Well, published by the MIT Press, and Psychology: A Cartoon Introduction, a cartoon book published by WW Norton on, you guessed it, the simple and humorous aspects of psychology.  

He is also an esteemed recipient of the Ig Nobel award for his paper titled “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.” Need we say more?  

We spoke at length about how a person’s take on helicopter (and submarine) parenting strongly correlates to their view of governance. These findings cross-party affiliation and self-identification as liberal or conservative and can also vary from topic to topic. All in, it’s a fascinating discussion.

We recorded our discussion with Danny just a couple of weeks before the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal was brought to light. We discuss the implications of Danny’s observations in our grooving session.

Danny shared that he’s lived for long periods without a mobile phone and that he prefers delegating his music selection to radio DJ’s, who might be considered expert in this situation, to bring him new music without the stress of finding it himself.

In our grooving session, we returned to helicopter and submarine parenting styles and how they might impact the next generation of entrepreneurship, corporate policies and management styles. We also spend some time on the ways business leaders manage data inputs from various sources and the potential impact these decisions have.

We hope you enjoy our discussion with Danny and that you subscribe to Behavioral Grooves at the link below. It’s free!



Danny Oppenheimer: https://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/sds/people/faculty/daniel-oppenheimer.html

Carnegie Mellon University: https://www.cmu.edu/ 

CMU Social and Decision Sciences Department: https://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/ 

“Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System That Shouldn’t Work at All Works So Well” (MIT Press) https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/democracy-despite-itself

“Psychology: A Cartoon Introduction,” (WW Norton) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34068488-psychology

“Easy does it: The role of fluency in cue weighting,” Anuj K. Shah and Daniel M. Oppenheimer, Princeton University: http://journal.sjdm.org/jdm7730.pdf

 “The Science of Giving: Experimental Approaches to the Study of Charity” https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2010-23933-000


George Lakoff: https://georgelakoff.com/

Jonathan Haidt & Greg Lukianoff: “The Coddling of the American Mind” https://www.thecoddling.com/


Helicopter parenting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter_parent

Free-Range parenting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-range_parenting

Snowplow parenting: https://www.businessinsider.com/parents-call-their-adult-childrens-bosses-snowplow-parenting-2019-4

Submarine parenting: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/unmapped-country/201603/submarine-parenting

College Admissions Bribery Scandal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_college_admissions_bribery_scandal

Mechanical Turk: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Mechanical_Turk

Postmodern Jukebox: http://postmodernjukebox.com/home/


Kurt Nelson: @motivationguru and https://www.linkedin.com/in/kurtwnelson/

Tim Houlihan: @THoulihan and https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-houlihan-b-e/

Subscribe to Behavioral Grooves: https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/

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