You shut the hell up and learn about cognitive behavioral science while looking at my collection of chocolate cake gifs!

Making Decisions Under Stress: The Siren Song of Chocolate Cake

I’m a slut for studies.

I love random, weird studies that reveal surprising and bizarre correlations. And I’d like to take you through one of my favorites today. It’s called “Heart and Mind in Conflict: the Interplay of Affect and Cognition in Consumer Decision Making” and it’s about the ways that stress affects our ability to make good choices.

Oh, and more importantly: it stars a fat slab of chocolate cake.

AWWWW YEAH

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The cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney will someday, when thawed, be thrilled to know that I have learned a helluva lot from the Disney Princesses.

The Economic Strategies of Disney Princesses

The cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney will some day, when thawed, be thrilled to know that I have learned a helluva lot from the Disney princesses.

I’ve learned how to dance like only freakishly friendly woodland creatures are watching. To ignore unworthy suitors. To pout prettily until some magical older woman with questionable motives offers to give me all my nearsighted heart desires.

Most importantly, I have learned from the Disney princesses’ various economic strategies. And it’s time I shared those lessons with you.

So here it is! A breakdown of the various financial lessons you can learn from each of the princesses’ personal finance decisions. For the purposes of this study, I’m assuming that every princess’s main goal is financial independence, not something trivial like finding true love or saving her village/family/culture from destruction. The metrics by which we judge them are merely how and if their in-story choices contributed to their fiscal future. Choices about contracts, marriage alliances, careers, trade deals, purchases, and investing all factor into this highly scientific examination.

Some of these Disney princesses are decent economic role models. Others are excellent examples of what not to do. Let’s read them for filth, shall we?

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Disney princesses can be tomboyish, ambitious, martial, hoarding bookworms of any race under the sun--but under no circumstances may they have short hair.

Short Hair DO Care: Why Is Short Hair Still Controversial?

Our recent article on looking weird at work got a lot of great feedback, so I thought I’d do a follow-up on hair length as well. It’s a fascinating topic by the standards of someone who greatly enjoys very boring topics.

Hair is a very weird thing.

It’s a body part like no other. Science tells us it is made of rhinoceros horns. Don’t argue, it’s science. It is malleable in ways that our necks, toes, forearms, areoles, and most other body parts are not. It moves, sways, bounces, and whips around sexily when you’re standing on a beach thinking about the lover you left behind when time traveling back to dinosaur times. Again, this is science speaking.

OH HOW PRETTY.

It’s also one of the most immediately visible differences between men and women. And as such, it’s one of the most important cultural signifiers of femininity. Which is why women cutting their hair is so often interpreted as some kind of subversive act.

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You know how much we love reminding you that you are human.

Take a Break: The Importance of Rest and Relaxation

In my capacity as a non-scientist, I have observed that when it comes to stress, there are two kinds of people.

One is the kind of person who feels the effects of stress first in their body; the other feels it first in their mind.

Piggy and I both fall into the first category. We’re skilled jugglers, and we tend to think “Sure, I can add one more ball into the mix.” We don’t really register how stressed we are until we get migraines (her) or muscle spasms (me). Other people in this category might experience digestive problems, insomnia, frequent colds, loss of energy, chest pains, racing heartbeats, panic attacks, and other such unfair bullshit.

Folks who fall into the second category don’t get off lightly either. Stress can make them feel overwhelmed in a way that manifests very strongly in their moods. They might feel agitated, frustrated, moody, avoidant, lonely, or depressed. These kinds of emotions can tarnish their self-image, strain their relationships with loved ones, and make them feel socially isolated when they most need support.

Everyone feels both kinds of stress; it’s just a question of which way it manifests first.

The unfortunate thing about both the physical and emotional symptoms of stress response is that both tend to exacerbate existing stressors. If you’re super busy at work and you start getting stress headaches, congratulations: you’re now both busy and in pain! If you’re super busy at work and you start crying at your desk, congratulations: you’re now both busy and humiliated!

Piggy and I spent a bit too much time in our twenties ignoring the signs our bodies were sending us, and had to learn our limits by suffering the consequences of overextending ourselves.

We are older and wiser now. We know that it’s better to take breaks before you “need” them. And we want to model that behavior for all of you, which is why we took a vacation and publicized it!

Hint hint: we think you should take a vacation too. Here’s why.

Chill, bro.

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I'm proud to be a Millennial so fuck you.

I’m Proud to Be a Millennial So Fuck You

Lazy, entitled, freeloading, whiny, safe-space-inhabiting, impatient, thin-skinned, don’t-know-the-meaning-of-a-hard-day’s-work, precious snowflakes. Millennials. My generation.

Or, if you’re Time Magazine, “The Me Me Me Generation.” This is but one example of the current favorite editorial of the lazy middle-aged journalist, in which they trash millennials for everything they’re anecdotally doing wrong with very little empirical evidence about what’s actually going on in their lives. Writing indignant think pieces about how awful the young people are these days has been in style since Socrates was pioneering toga style in the amphitheaters of Athens. But this style of editorializing still pisses me off.

I’m tired of it. For one thing, the entire concept of “generations” is bullshit, as perfectly explained by Adam Ruins Everything:

For another, the Millennial stereotype is pure, unfiltered cockamamie. So setting aside for a moment the fact that generations are a nebulous concept devoid of meaning and that the popular stereotype of millennials is false, I’d like to take this moment to explain a thing at you.

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Within each INFP is a bottomless lake of love and compassion. Exactly what the fuck is an employer supposed to do with that?

Myers-Briggs Personalities and Income

There are two valid forms of personality tests: Myers-Briggs and the Sorting Hat—BUT ONLY the Sorting Hat as defined by the collective wisdom of the broader Harry Potter fandom. J. K. Rowling’s Slytherinphobia is as well-documented as it is inexplicable. Pottermore cannot be trusted.

If you don’t know your Myers-Briggs personality, you can find it out pretty easily. The internet is clogged with free tests of varying length and quality. I like this one, personally. It’s thorough but nowhere near as long as others.

In general, Myers Briggs judges personalities in four metrics: introvert (I) vs extrovert (E), sensing (S) vs intuition (N), thinking (T) vs feeling (F), and judging (J) vs perceiving (P).

If you don’t want to take a quiz, you may be able to guess what you are. Introverts feel recharged when alone, and extroverts feel at-home among others. Sensors like to take people at their word, while intuits tend to look for meaning between the lines. Thinkers are rational and logical, while feelers are empathetic and expressive. Judgers (not to be confused with the judgmental) prefer plans and orderliness over the perceiver’s more casual, open-ended approach.

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I used her like tissue paper and threw her in the goddamn garbage.

Econ Nerd Game Review: Darkest Dungeon

When I asked a family member why he was considering voting for Donald Trump in last year’s election, his answer was something you likely heard many times. “He is a businessman,” he said, “and the country would be better off if it were run like a successful business.”

If memory serves I took the bait and started pummeling away with evidence that Donald Trump is a remarkably unsuccessful businessman. What I should’ve done was question the entire underlying supposition of his argument.

What I should’ve done was question the entire underlying supposition of his argument.

Let’s be real. I’m a progressive soul, and nothing short of bamboo under my nails was ever going to entice me to vote for Donald Trump. But what if a democratic candidate appeared with a strong, successful business background? Would I count that as a boon if the shoe were on the other foot? Would we all be better off if the country was run more like a business?

The most amusing way possible to answer that question is to play Red Hook Studio’s Darkest Dungeon.

Oh fuck.

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When running your own homestead was a supremely affordable option, nobody really felt like folding ye olde t-shirts at ye olde Aeropoftale.

Maury Povich Confirms Labor Shortages ARE the Father of American Business Ethics

You ARE the father.

Time for some History Lessons with Kitty and Piggy!

America is an interesting example of a country whose economic needs have flip-flopped wildly since its founding. The most interesting aspect to me is the story of American labor.

In the days of the American Revolution, labor was the scarcest commodity in the colonies. Which is hardly surprising if you think about it.

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Don't worry, my bruhs.

Econ Nerd Game Review: This War of Mine

Friends, I love games. I also love talking about games. Unfortunately, I am not alone. There are approximately four great video game review sites for every human being currently alive on this planet. So occasionally here I’d like to talk about a game I’m playing, but focus specifically on the game’s financial mechanics. There are lots of games of uneven quality that nevertheless come up with cool inventory systems and in-game economies.

I strongly believe that gamification is the key to engaging more young people in the unsexy art of understanding personal finance. So even if these games aren’t individually great, I want to call out the interesting ways in which they use items and currency.

Sound good? Let’s get started with This War of Mine, a 2014 war survival game published by 11 bit studios. Specifically, I’m playing the recent The Little Ones expansion, which introduces children into the game’s mechanics.

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