April 10, 2019

Jeff Galak: High Heels and Hedonic Decline

Jeff Galak, PhD is a professor at the Social and Decision Sciences department in the Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. Jeff’s primary assignment is as an Associate Professor of Marketing in Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business; however, he is on loan to the Social & Decision Sciences department in the Dietrich College, which is where we caught up with him. This is the second in the series featuring professors from Carnegie Mellon.

Jeff earned his PhD from NYU and often works on research projects across functions, making him a terrific fit for the already-interdisciplinary department of Social & Decision Sciences. He’s so fond of collaboration, he’s even published peer-reviewed papers about how scientific research benefits from it.

Jeff’s research expertise spans a wide variety of topics and interests including consumer behavior, consumer psychology, as well as judgment and decision making. His findings have been published in top academic journals and he has presented his research at top marketing and psychology conferences worldwide. He’s a very curious guy and we found him engaging as he shared his work and the applications of it.

In our discussion with Jeff, he discussed a few of his research initiatives and focused on three areas: (1) his findings in new research on hedonic decline, (2) how high heels became the measure for the social implications of moving to and from a different socio-economic zip codes and (3) we talked about political lies and two primary subcategories we see in political lying: Lies about policies and lies about personal things. His research reveals how we tend to disregard one more than the other.

In our grooving session, we tackle the work and life implications to some of Jeff’s findings. Specifically, we discussed how product developers can create more successful products by leveraging both simplicity and complexity and we discussed implications of high-heeled social changes.

We hope you enjoy our conversation with the very curious researcher, Jeff Galak.



Jeff Galak/CMU: https://www.cmu.edu/tepper/faculty-and-research/faculty-by-area/profiles/galak-jeffrey.html

Jeff Galak/personal: http://jeffgalak.com/

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

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

On hedonic decline: When It Could Have Been Worse, It Gets Better: The Effect of Uncertainty on Hedonic Adaptation

On socio-economic status and sales of high heels: Trickle-down preferences: Preferential conformity to high status peers in fashion choices

Clayton Critcher, UC Berkeley: https://haas.berkeley.edu/faculty/critcher-clayton/


“Let It Go” (Frozen Soundtrack): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0MK7qz13bU

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Lake Street Dive) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqEiWN44L3M

“The Entertainer” (Billy Joel) “…and they cut it down to 3:05”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozDSk9XUkrc

Toto (founded in 1977) recorded “Africa” in 1982: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTQbiNvZqaY

 “Aja” (Steely Dan): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG2seugAgnU


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

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

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