Event details | Osher Lifelong Learning Institute


Event Details 
Behavioral and Social Science - Real-World Applications (series)
This lecture series explores how new insights into human behavior and the brain have been combined with traditional thinking in economics, management, and political science to produce exciting new approaches to real-world problems. One example is how “behavioral economics” — a discipline that blends elements of economics and psychology — has led to innovative interventions delivered by health care systems to encourage healthy behaviors. Another is how research on the effects of “framing” – e.g., whether a debate on abortion is described as being about “when human life begins” vs. “the rights of mothers” – has shed light on the impacts of media messages and the outcome of political debates Yet another is how research on the role of “negativity bias” – a human tendency, possibly shaped by evolution, to pay more attention and respond more strongly to negative than to positive information – has increased our understanding of election outcomes and other democratic processes. Our lineup of speakers will describe research into these and other areas that have major implications for many aspects of our lives. March 29 - lecture starts at 9:30 a.m. April 5 - lecture starts at 10:30 a.m. Join other OLLI members for a boxed lunch in the lobby immediately following the April 12th lecture for some socialization! The cost is $8. You can register for the lunch online or in-person. March 8 NEGATIVITY IN DEMOCRATIC POLITICS Stuart Soroka, Ph.D. Stuart Soroka is the Michael W. Traugott Collegiate Professor of Communication Studies and Political Science, and Faculty Associate in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. His research focuses on political communication, the sources and/or structure of public preferences for policy, and the relationships between public policy, public opinion, and mass media. Speaker’s Synopsis: News about politics is predominantly negative, during and outside of election campaigns. This has been especially evident in the recent past. What accounts for the prevalence of negativity in politics? Is this negativity problematic for political knowledge and engagement? This lecture explores the prevalence of negativity in modern politics, and offers some explanations – based on survey data and psychophysiological experiments – for the power of negative over positive information in politics. March 15 BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS Dr. Rachel T.A. Croson, Ph.D. Dr. Croson received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, and has spent the past 23 years doing research in experimental and behavioral economics. Some of her areas of focus include how individuals make financial decisions, what influences charitable and philanthropic giving, and bargaining and negotiation. She currently serves as the Dean of the College of Social Science at Michigan State University, and an MSU Foundation Professor of Economics. Speaker’s Synopsis: Behavioral economics uses psychology to help explain and predict economic decisions. The impact of this area has been recognized in a series of recent Nobel prizes (Thaler 2017, Roth 2012, Ostrom 2009, Kahneman 2002, Smith 2002). This lecture will describe the foundations of behavioral economics, and will illustrate the principles involved using examples of research on charitable giving and environmentally-conscious behaviors. March 22 LOOKING INTO THE MINDS OF MANAGERS AND CONSUMERS Richard P. Bagozzi, Ph.D. Professor Bagozzi is the Dwight F. Benton Professor of Behavioral Science in Management at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. He specializes in basic research into human emotions, decision-making, social identity, ethics, and action. This work has been applied to the study of consumers, patients, doctors, salespersons, managers, military officers, and organizations. Recently he has investigated biological bases of manager and consumer behavior by use of fMRI and genetic analyses to study mental behavior. Speaker’s Synopsis: We will explore what goes on in our brains (as consumers and managers) when we make decisions. Three universal, fundamental mental phenomena will be examined: theory of mind processes (based on research into autism), human empathy (as related to mirror neurons in the brain), and the underpinnings of the Machiavellian (i.e., psychopathic) mind in business and politics. Time permitting, we will consider how our genes operate, in conjunction with environmental and psychological triggers, to influence our behavior. March 29 THE WHY AND HOW OF BEHAVIORAL ECONOMIC STRATEGIES TO PROMOTE HEALTHY DECISIONS Jeff Kullgren, M.D. March 29 - lecture starts at 9:30 a.m. Jeff Kullgren is a Research Scientist at the Ann Arbor VA Center for Clinical Management Research and an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. He holds undergraduate and medical degrees from Michigan State and a Master of Public Health degree from Michigan. He was a resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an RWJF Clinical Scholar at Penn. His research aims to help patients and clinicians make good decisions about health and health care. Speaker’s Synopsis: The field of behavioral economics – which combines insights from economics and psychology to better understand and shape human behavior – has recently offered new solutions to longstanding problems in our health care system. In this talk, Kullgren will examine the underpinnings, promise, and perils of behavioral economic strategies to improve patient and clinician decisions about health and health care. April 5 MOTIVATED REASONING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE Kaitlin T. Raimi, Ph.D. April 5th lecture starts at 10:30 a.m. Kaitlin Raimi is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. A social and environmental psychologist, she studies how social goals influence climate change mitigation. Professor Raimi is particularly interested in how people compare themselves to others, how message framing shapes attitudes toward climate policy, and how adopting one sustainable behavior affects subsequent decisions. She completed her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Duke University and a Postdoc at the Vanderbilt University Institute for Energy and Environment. Speaker’s Synopsis: Despite the growing scientific consensus about human-caused climate change, climate beliefs in the U.S. are sharply divided along political lines. One explanation for this polarization is motivated reasoning: People seeking out information with the goal to maintain their existing beliefs. This talk explores how people use motivated reasoning to reject evidence that challenges their worldviews, their social goals, or their belief in their own superiority, and discusses ways to discuss climate change that better account for these biases. April 12 UNDERSTANDING CHARITABLE GIVING DECISIONS: NEW EVIDENCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS Professor Ceren Budak, Ph.D. Ceren Budak is an Assistant Professor in University of Michigan’s School of Information, and an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her main interest is in computational social science. She is particularly interested in the use of large scale data sets and computational techniques to study problems with policy, social, and political implications. Dr. Budak’s degrees are in Computer Science, with a B.S. from Bilkent University, Turkey, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Speaker’s Synopsis: This talk assesses the factors charitable givers consider when deciding which charities receive their monetary donations. For example, do donors consider the efficiency of organizations they contribute to? Recent research suggests that the average donor is “wasting” over 15% of their contribution by opting for poorly run organizations as opposed to higher-rated charities supporting the same cause(s). The talk explores ways to use the internet to improve giving decisions. More generally, it explores the reasons people care about the causes that they support. Join other OLLI members for a boxed lunch in the lobby immediately following the April 12th lecture for some socialization! The cost is $8. You can register for the lunch online or in-person.
Event Type : Thursday Morning Lecture Series      
Date(s) : 03/08/2018 - 04/12/2018
Day of Week : Thursday
Time : 10 - 11:30 a.m., 3/29 at 9:30, 4/5 at 10:30
Location : Washtenaw Community College/ Morris Lawrence Building
Address : Towsley Auditorium,
4800 E. Huron River Dr.,
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Fee : $30.00
Event Status : COMPLETED