Archive › 2009

George Lakoff on the Political Mind

This presentation provides a clear and comprehensive account of how the human mind works and why it is so vital for our politics. George and I developed the framework for cognitive policy together that we see as absolutely vital for addressing the great challenges of our time.  Tom Crompton and I are designing methods for […]

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A Hopeful Message About the Political Mind

I was honored and delighted to be interviewed on the Jeff Farias Show earlier this week, where we spent an hour talking about building trust in politics and how the workings of the political mind can shed light on the great challenges we face as a society. Here is the podcast for you to listen […]

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Unleashing the Science of Human Behavior for 21st Century Institutions

This TED Talk by Dan Pink lays it out beautifully. Extrinsic rewards (as presumed by the theory of self-interest) lead to poor performance in every situation except where (a) the rules are clearly defined and (b) the outcome is known in advance. The challenges we face are NOT this kind of problem. The science is […]

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Copenhagen: Getting Past the Urgency Trap

This article is also published at Grist. Copenhagen’s still three weeks away, but climate activists are already voicing their enormous disappointment about everything that’s not going to get done there. The heat is rising, and we’re all feeling the overwhelming urgency to get a strong global agreement that will get the laggards off their butts […]

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Profound Insights Into Political Behavior

We need more applications of psychological research to help us understand political thought and behavior. Check out this phenomenal talk by Matthew Taylor speaking at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce: Discuss below the fold…

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How Stripping Supermodels Promote Action on Climate Change

This video was released as part of Bill McKibben’s global awareness-building exercise last week for, an organization promoting the idea that carbon emission levels above 350 parts per million are dangerous: I’d like to treat this as a case study in visual metaphors and conceptual frames to show how insights into human cognition are […]

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Building Trust for Effective Governance

As part of our effort to help grassroots activists become more effective, we have contracted with the Empathy Surplus Campaign to offer strategic frame advice about the role of local organizations in politics. It is with pleasure that we share with you a strategy brief that came out of this work: Building Trust for Effective […]

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Ethical Marketing in the 21st Century!

We’ve just launched a new wiki forum to explore the ethics of marketing and build a new set of tools and practices for marketing in the future. Check it out: Come help us work through the details as we lay out the historical challenges and share promising activities around us today.  It takes a […]

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Limits and Potential of Fun for Social Change

Last week I wrote about how fun may be important for efforts to advance the sustainability movement.  In Fun Theory and the Ethics of Marketing I distinguished the ethical problems with brand marketing (exploitation of human motivation to drive consumerism) from the prospects for using motivational psychology to engage the populace in strategic efforts to […]

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Fun Theory and the Ethics of Marketing

Also published at A virus is sweeping the internet this week. You’ll recognize it when you start to laugh, then repost it for others to share. No, I’m not talking about a vicious computer program that attacks your operating system. I’m referring to the viral spread of this two minute video by The Fun […]

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