playlist

Why we do the things we do

Ever wondered, why did I just do that? These fascinating talks explain the hidden reasons why we do what we do.

  1. 20:26
    Dan Ariely What makes us feel good about our work?

    What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn't just money. But it's not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work.

  2. 23:27
    Helen Fisher Why we love, why we cheat

    Anthropologist Helen Fisher takes on a tricky topic – love – and explains its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its social importance. She closes with a warning about the potential disaster inherent in antidepressant abuse.

  3. 18:36
    Dan Pink The puzzle of motivation

    Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

  4. 14:08
    Emily Balcetis Why some people find exercise harder than others

    Why do some people struggle more than others to keep off the pounds? Social psychologist Emily Balcetis shows research that addresses one of the many factors: our vision. In an informative talk, she shows how when it comes to fitness, some people quite literally see the world differently — and offers a surprisingly simple solution to overcome these differences.

  5. 16:35
    Paul Piff Does money make you mean?

    It's amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there's good news too.

  6. 17:40
    Tali Sharot The optimism bias

    Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side — and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.

  7. 16:17
    Paul Bloom The origins of pleasure

    Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.

  8. 33:38
    Dan Gilbert Why we make bad decisions

    Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness — sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself. Watch through to the end for a sparkling Q&A with some familiar TED faces.

  9. 24:08
    Sheena Iyengar The art of choosing

    Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices — and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.

  10. 13:13
    Daniel Goleman Why aren't we more compassionate?

    Daniel Goleman, author of "Emotional Intelligence," asks why we aren't more compassionate more of the time.