Behavioral Science & Technology Lab
The Behavioral Science & Technology Lab studies the impact of consumer technology on our lives and applies these insights to a range of initiatives to enhance public welfare, from improving disaster preparedness to building systems that identify and control the spread of false information.
How Technology is Transforming Thinking and Decision-Making
The Lab studies not just how smart devices are being used, but, more critically, how they may be transforming the very psychology that underlies how individuals think, interact, and decide. Research explores the impact of this technology in a wide range of settings, including disaster risk management, consumer health and finance, and product and service marketing.
Initiated in 2018, Behavioral Insights from Text is an annual conference that draws on the world’s leading scholars to discuss how natural language processing and text analysis can be used to shed light on all aspects of human behavior.
Artificial Intelligence in Commerce
Starting in 2020, the Lab will host an annual workshop on Artificial Intelligence in Commerce. This workshop will be conducted jointly with George Washington University’s Center for the Connected Consumer, and serve as a forum for academics and practitioners to share latest findings on how AI is transforming traditional business functions.
Bhatia, S., Walasek, L., Slovic, P., & Kunreuther, H. (2021). The more who die, the less we care: Evidence from natural language analysis of online news articles and social media posts. Risk Analysis, 41(1), 179-203. [pdf]
Melumad, S., Meyer, R.J., & Kim, Y.D. (2021). The Dynamics of Distortion: How Successive Summarization Alters the Retelling of News. Journal of Marketing Research, published online.
Zou, W. & Bhatia, S. (2021). Judgment errors in naturalistic numerical estimation. Cognition, 104647. [pdf]
Melumad, S., and R. Meyer (2020). Full Disclosure: How Smartphones Enhance Consumer Self-Disclosure. Journal of Marketing, 84(3), 28-45.
Berger, J., A. Humphreys, S. Ludwig, W.W. Moe, O. Netzer, and D.A. Schweidel (2020). Uniting the Tribes: Using Text for Marketing Insight. Journal of Marketing, 84(1), 1–25.
McDuff, D., & Berger, J. (2019). Do Facial Expressions Predict Ad Sharing? A Large-Scale Observational Study. arXiv preprint arXiv:1912.10311.
Van Zant, A. B., & Berger, J. (2019). How the voice persuades. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication.
Berman, R., S. Melumad, C. Humphrey, & R. Meyer (2019). A Tale of Two Twitterspheres: Political Microblogging During and After the 2016 Primary and Presidential Debates. Journal of Marketing Research, 56(6), 895–917.
Packard, G., & Berger, J. (2017). How Language Shapes Word of Mouth’s Impact. Journal of Marketing Research, 54(4), 572–588.
For a full list of publications, see our main publications page: https://riskcenter.wharton.upenn.edu/publications/
Advances in consumer technology are transforming every aspect of daily life. Billions of social media posts are shared every day, millennials are glued to their phones, and personal tracking devices (e.g., Fitbits) and AI interfaces (e.g. Alexa and Google home) are becoming a more and more ubiquitous. But while it is clear that these technologies are changing how we communicate and interact with the world, less is known about their more behavioral effects. Phones can make us more informed, but might they also encourage an addiction that makes us more anxious? How can we use social media to encourage the flow of true, rather than false, information? And how by understanding how these, and other technologies work, can we build systems that make people happier, healthier, and more productive?
The Technology and Behavioral Science Initiative addresses these and other questions as it works to improve the impact of technology on our lives.
Wharton and Penn’s resources in computer science, psychology, engineering, and management provide us with a unique opportunity to take a leadership position in this emerging area. By bridging these diverse disciplines, the initiative will increase understanding in a broad range of domains, from health and politics, to information and commerce. These insights can then be applied to enhance wellbeing, from improving customer service and disaster preparedness to building systems to identify and control the spread of hate speech and false information.
Computational social science is the future of social science. By integrating interdisciplinary insights to address real world problems, and applying advanced computational tools to deepen behavioral understanding we hope to position Penn/Wharton and the forefront of this movement.
The initiative is currently supported by seed funding from the Wharton dean’s office.
The Mobile Truth Serum: How Smartphones Enhance Consumer’s Willingness to Self-Disclose
Shiri Melumad and Robert Meyer examine how as consumers continue to move their online activities to their smartphones rather than their PCs, it is becoming increasingly critical to develop a deeper understanding of how this shift might be altering consumers’ behavior online. This research examines a question of particular relevance for firms and managers: Might consumers’ willingness to share personal or sensitive information differ when generating content on their smartphone versus PC?
Robert Meyer, Frederick Ecker/Metlife Professor of Marketing, and faculty co-director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, is the faculty member responsible for leading the Technology and Behavioral Science Lab.
Frederick Ecker/Metlife Professor of Marketing, Faculty Co-Director, Wharton Risk Management Center
Research Areas: Decision Making Under Risk & Uncertainty; Choice Modeling; Natural Language Processing
Robert Meyer, Frederick H. Ecker/MetLife Insurance Professor of Marketing and Co-Director of the Wharton Risk Center, is the faculty member responsible for leading the Behavioral Science & Technology Lab. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.