The Grape Apes (or, Why do primates love a tipple?)

We all know the potentially harmful effects of alcohol, both on our health and on society, so a question I’m often asked is why the motivation to consume such substances would have evolved in the first place.  Given that the problems of over-consumption have been well documented over thousands of

Want to write a best-seller? The secret is pyramid-shaped

Why is a seemingly quintessential English author such as Jane Austen so popular in South Korea? What makes one movie an international box-office success while another is a huge flop? And why is the waist-to-hip ratio of games character Lara Croft so crucial to global sales?     Those of

Memory and the Morning After

Something about New Year’s Day that makes many psychologists feel obliged to have an alcohol-related post. Perhaps it’s because the subject is topical, and so the post is more likely to be read, or maybe it’s just that psychologists themselves are experiencing that heavy-headed feeling and are looking for a

Audiobooks – better than the movie?

Ok, I’ll confess all from the outset… when it comes to consuming fiction, I love audiobooks.  Never used to, but I quickly became hooked when I spent a few years making numerous regular (and very tedious) long-haul flights each year. They are the perfect companion for such a journey. No

Happiness and the Betty Crocker Effect

Those who’ve jumped on the bandwagon of that often-superficial beast we call behavioural economics know all too well about the mysterious power of the so-called Ikea Effect.  This is the tendency to place a higher value on an item we have had some role in constructing ourselves compared to a

World Cup Winners? Coca Cola, of course

Apparently, there’s some sort of football competition going on out in Russia.  England could easily win it, all they have to do is field the women’s team instead of the men and the trophy is as good as ours. Whatever the outcome of this quaint-but-hugely-profitable tradition, of course, the real

Winning at shelf – with music!

Background music in a store is a potentially contentious issue among consumers.  Some find it soothing, others annoying. For many consumers – including me – it often just washes over us completely and we don’t even know it’s there, unless it suddenly intrudes of course and disturbs our train of

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