One Day University with The Boston Globe

Sunday, October 28, 2018 9:30 am - 1:15 pm


12:10 pm - 1:15 pm
Behavioral Economics: When Rational People Make Irrational Decisions

Laura Gee / Tufts University

Economics often describes a world in which consumers, workers, savers, and business managers thoughtfully and rationally pursue their own self-interest. But a wide array of work in psychology and economics shows that people often act irrationally. Behavioral economics explores how biases and irrationalities affect economic decision-making, and offers some solutions to nudge us toward better choices.

For example, people pay for gym memberships they never use. But we can increase their gym attendance if they can only watch the next episode of their favorite Netflix show while at the gym. Another problem is that people spend too much money now and save too little for retirement. But we can push them toward saving more if we only increase their retirement savings each time they get a raise, thus leaving their take home pay the same. In this class, Professor Gee will show us how behavioral economics helps us to understand why people act irrationally and how we can use those irrational tendencies to help people make better decisions.

Laura Gee / Tufts University

Laura Gee is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Tufts University. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Labor Economics, the Journal of Public Economics, Management Science and Experimental Economics. Her research has also been written about in the popular press in outlets such as CBS News, Fast Company, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune. Her research is in behavioral economics, with a particular focus on how individual decision making is influenced by group dynamics.

10:50 am - 11:55 am
The Shifting Lens of History: How We Reimagine the Past

Stephanie Yuhl / College of the Holy Cross

Memory and History

From the kiss in Times Square to “Rosie the Riveter” to “Saving Private Ryan,” Americans tend to cherish their memories of WWII as “the best war ever.” Yet the Vietnam War remains controversial and brings up an entirely different set of images – from anti-war protests to Agent Orange to the film, “Born on the Fourth of July.” What helps explain these radically different understandings of two wars only twenty years apart? Of course, things get even more interesting when we take into consideration the historical memories of the other nations involved in these conflicts.

What is National Memory?

In this course, we will examine how different societies remember these wars and what those memories might tell us about national hopes and values, about generational change, and even about decisions regarding the military. Animating this presentation is the notion that history is different from the past – it is the often contested way that the past is remembered in the present.

Learn More About National Memory

For more lectures about American history by Professor Stephanie Yuhl check out our American History lecturesSign up for One Day University Membership today for unlimited access to hundreds of talks and online lectures.

Stephanie Yuhl / College of the Holy Cross

Stephanie Yuhl is a Professor of History at the College of the Holy Cross. She is a recipient of the Fletcher M. Green and Charles W. Ramsdell Award for the best article published in the Journal of Southern History, as well as the Inaugural Burns Career Teaching Medal for Outstanding Teaching. Professor Yuhl is also an Associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the Critical Conservation Program, and an expert in twentieth-century US cultural and social history, with specialities in historical memory, social movements, gender, and Southern history. She is the author of the award-winning book, “A Golden Haze of Memory: The Making of Historic Charleston.”

9:30 am - 10:35 am
The Art of Aging: What Everyone Should Know About Getting Older

Brian Carpenter / Washington University in St. Louis

No matter how old you are, you're aging. You started aging from the moment you were born, and you'll continue aging until the moment you die. That's the brutal, universal fact. But people age differently, as you’ve noticed if you've looked around and compared yourself to your peers. Are you aging better than they are? Worse than they are? In what ways and for what reasons?

In this class we’ll review what biological, psychological, and social research has taught us about growing older. Along the way, we'll discuss what's common with aging (everybody shrinks a little), what's not normal (Alzheimer's is a disease not everyone gets), and key components of successful aging (friends and family are important, but perhaps in different ways). The trajectory of aging gets shaped very early in life, but there are powerful forces that guide it along the way, and steps you can take to maximize your later years.

Brian Carpenter / Washington University in St. Louis

Brian Carpenter is a professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. His primary research interests focus on relationships among older adults, their family members, and their health care providers. In particular, he studies communication among those three parties, with an eye toward developing interventions to improve knowledge and enhance health literacy. Dr. Carpenter teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level that address the psychological needs of older adults, with a particular emphasis on end-of-life care and dementia, and has received the David Hadas Teaching Award at Wash U.