All posts by Biju Dominic

Behavior change of counter-terrorism

In the latest article in “Behavior By Brain” series, I talk about the psychology of terrorism.

Traditional kinetic responses to terrorism having failed (terrorist organizations are only happy to have martyrs to fuel their recruitment efforts), there has been a re-think on countering terrorism.

Authorities have started to realize that we need to understand the radicalization process as a behavior change process. While efforts are underway to unravel the radicalization process, the tougher task is to counter the radicalization narratives.

Fascinating, though morbid,  are the behavioral shifts that radicalization engenders: coping with imminent death, battling present bias, and overcoming hesitation to kill.

Terrorists have been one step ahead of Governments so far. Authorities need to act decisively to expand their efforts to counter the behavior change process called radicalization.

Why we should be more ignorant

Contrary to the popular belief that education is eradication of ignorance, learning is driven by ignorance.

While life-long learning is probably one of the top items on any CEO’s agenda, few really know how learning takes place. This leads to a continuation of flawed models and a replication of school/university systems.

What we really need is a fresh look at learning within organizations based on our understanding of learning. I write about this in the latest Mint article in “Behavior By Brain” series.

When governments lead us astray

Lotteries are also known as “stupidity tax”; a nod to their improbable odds. In India, lotteries are often run by state governments – its an easy way to cover for their budget deficits. What these governments don’t realize is that they are fueling an addiction.

But what are the reasons behind this addiction? In the article, I talk about the behavioral science of lotteries.

Lotteries generate many ‘near misses’ thus making people believe that she is a winner even when she has lost, thus inducing a a dopamine fueled craving. I also talk about the incorrect application of ‘regression to the mean’ mental model, and how governments make it easy for someone to rationalize their lottery addiction.

Read more on livemint site here.

How context cues behavior

We tend to believe that Indians behave ‘properly’ only in foreign countries – Singapore or USA; that Indians in India are boorish and have no civic sense.

Is that really so? Don’t we behave better in gleaming malls? Don’t we speak softly in libraries? Don’t Malayalees queue up in front of liquor stores?

I go into the behavioral science of civic sense in this article in Mint.

New article in ‘Behavior By Brain’ series the Mint

The latest article in my series ‘Behavior By Brain’ in the Mint talks about the implication of the adolescent brain and its peculiarities.

The adolescent age is typically considered the most challenging phase for parents. They are also a tumultuous time for the youth. New researches show how the brain development shapes their behavior – from skewed reward perception, to heightened need for social rewards. And importantly, these researches show that its not the case that adolescents have a faulty brain that does not recognize risks – their risk perceptions are on equal footing as adults’.

Read more about why we should re-look at the policies for adolescents here.