Choiceology with Katy Milkman

Out of Focus: With Guests Dolly Chugh, Max Bazerman & Mark Pendergrast

March 18, 2019

If you’ve ever watched a TV crime drama, you’ve probably heard that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. A person commits a crime literally right in front of someone, but the witness can’t identify key characteristics of the perpetrator—or worse, gets the details wrong and implicates an innocent person. Why does this happen?

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at the limitations of attention and perception.

The episode begins with the description of a surprising experiment involving two teams passing basketballs. You can try the experiment here, even if you’ve already listened to the episode.

Katy follows with the story of one of the most famous marketing blunders of all time: the introduction of New Coke by the Coca Cola Company. Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country & Coca Cola, recounts the history of the brand and takes you inside the company to explain how their executives came to a disastrous decision.

Robert Teszka then demonstrates how magicians harness the limitations of an audience’s attention in order to surprise and entertain.

Next, we hear from Dolly Chugh of New York University’s Stern School of Business and Max Bazerman of the Harvard Business School. They explain how this tendency to miss important information is systematic and predictable, and how it can negatively affect decisions in business and life. Dolly Chugh is the author of The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias. Max Bazerman is the author of The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See.

Finally, Katy offers simple strategies to help you expand your awareness and make better-informed decisions.

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The comments, views, and opinions expressed in the presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the views of Charles Schwab.

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