The Smarter Screen
Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior
We live in a world of screens. Many of us spend the majority of our waking lives interacting with devices. Behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi studies how we think and act differently on screens—responding to nudges and cues to make choices we wouldn’t make offline. The implications for educators, healthcare providers, retailers, and policy makers are profound.
“This book is a real eye-opener. It describes how we really function in a screen-based society, and how the digital world is changing our thinking about ourselves and others.”— Robert Shiller, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics
Benartzi is a professor and co-chair of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where his research uses the insights of economics and psychology to produce positive change on a massive scale. His latest book is The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior (with Jonah Lehrer). In studying, writing, and speaking about online behavior, Benartzi works to improve decision-making for millions of people, as he explains in his viral TED Talk, “Saving For Tomorrow, Tomorrow.” He is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, where he writes about finance with great practicality.
He currently serves as chief scientist for the California Digital Nudge Initiative, which serves the state of California, helping people make better choices through key tech and behavioral insights. Millions of Americans have saved money, found college more affordable, and conserved more energy through private and public work with the digital “nudges” Benartzi engineers. He is also the co-creator of the Save More Tomorrow™ program (SMarT), designed to help employees increase their savings rates over time. At one organization, SMarT increased employee savings rates from 3.5% to 13.6%. The program is now offered by more than half of the large retirement plans in the U.S. and a growing number of plans worldwide.
Benartzi actively advises government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, and has helped craft numerous legislative efforts. He has worked with financial institutions, and currently serves as an academic advisor and chief behavioral economist for the Allianz Global Investors Center for Behavioral Finance. He received a Ph.D. from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and is the author of Save More Tomorrow and Thinking Smarter.
Since its inception, UCLA Professor Shlomo Benartzi’s Save More Tomorrow™ program has increased the savings rates of more than 10 million Americans. This new keynote distills the tenets of his program to communicate and instruct on the power of personalized finance. In the age of Amazon and Google, customers have come to expect a high level of personalization—it’s time for the financial industry to do the same. By combining the latest insights of behavioral economics with engaging digital tools, it’s possible to assess an individual for a variety of mental biases and tendencies that have a large impact on our financial choices. Benartzi’s talk will explain:
· What your chocolate preferences have to do with your retirement drawdown plan
· Why the ability to read facial expressions predicts behavior during market downturns
· How an assessment of online thinking style can be used to dramatically improve financial well-being
Shlomo Benartzi’s studies into digital behavior have shown us how the cues, frames, and nudges that influence our choices on screens are drastically different from the ones that work in the analog world. Long story short: the medium really is the message. His findings have massive implications. They suggest, for example, that many of the behavioral fixes of the 20th century are obsolete in the 21st; the old rules no longer apply (for instance, the “default nudge”—the way we tend to choose the default option when presented with a difficult decision—is far less effective in the online world). But, as Benartzi argues, this also opens up new possibilities to help people make the right choices. In this talk, he looks at a wide range of issues and opportunities that touch on everything from education, retail, marketing, and policy decision-making. The digital revolution is changing how we behave in all sorts of subtle and surprising ways. If we want to take advantage of this new world, then we need to revise our models of human behavior. We need to think differently about how we think.