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We recently released the eighth edition of the EA Behavioral Science Newsletter.

Each newsletter curates papers, forum posts, reports, podcasts, resources, funding opportunities, events, jobs and research profiles that are relevant to the effective altruism and behavioral science community.

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Previous editions:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


The EA Behavioral Science Newsletter

March 2023 (#8) 

⭐ Announcement

The EA Behavioral Science Newsletter is joining Habit Weekly, one of the largest behavioral science newsletters, as a sister publication!🥳  

As part of this exciting change we're seeking a volunteer project manager to help with running the newsletter. This is a unique opportunity to have a big impact! If you are interested then we invite you to submit an expression of interest.

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📚 Summary

📖 20 publications

📝 9 preprints & articles

💬 7 forum posts

🎧/🎦 4 podcasts & videos

💰 0 funding opportunities 

💼 2 job & volunteering opportunities

📅 5 events

👨‍🔬 Spencer Greenberg profiled

📖 Publications

Demanding the Morally Demanding: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Moral Arguments and Moral Demandingness on Charitable Giving [Forum summary]

B Grodeck & P Schoenegger

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (2023)


What are the effects of confronting people with moral arguments and morally demanding statements to perform certain actions, such as donating to charity? To investigate this question, we conduct an online randomized experiment via Prolific (n=2500) where participants can donate to charity. Using a between-subject design, we provide some participants with a moral argument as to why they should donate. We then add a single sentence on top of the moral argument that expresses and varies moral demandingness at different levels. 

To reduce experimenter demand worries, in a follow-up experiment (n=1200) we provide the same stimulus via an external party's website—the non-profit Giving What We Can. In both experiments, we find that moral arguments significantly increase both the frequency and amount of donations compared to the control. However, we fail to find evidence that increasing the level of moral demandingness affects donation behavior in either experiment. Exploratory equivalence tests provide evidence in favor of such a null effect. Our findings suggest that charities should employ moral arguments to increase giving, though our findings give no specific recommendation as to the moral demandingness employed as there is no additive effect of morally demanding arguments.

Boosting the impact of charitable giving with donation bundling and micromatching

Lucius Caviola & Joshua D. Greene

Science Advances (2023)


The most effective charities are hundreds of times more impactful than typical charities. However, most donors favor charities with personal/emotional appeal over effectiveness. We gave donors the option to split their donations between their personal favorite charity and an expert-recommended highly effective charity. This bundling technique increased donors’ impact without undermining their altruistic motivation, boosting effective donations by 76%. An additional boost of 55% was achieved by offering matching donations with increasing rates for allocating more to the highly effective charity. 

We show further that matching funds can be provided by donors focused on effectiveness through a self-sustaining process of micromatching. We applied these techniques in a new online donation platform (GivingMultiplier.org), which fundraised more than $1.5 million in its first 14 months. While prior applied research on altruism has focused on the quantity of giving, the present results demonstrate the value of focusing on the effectiveness of altruistic behavior.

People conform to social norms when gambling with lives or money

Yueyi Jiang, Przemysław Marcowski, Arseny Ryazanov & Piotr Winkielman

Scientific Reports (2023)


Many consider moral decisions to follow an internal “moral compass”, resistant to social pressures. Here we examine how social influence shapes moral decisions under risk, and how it operates in different decision contexts. We employed an adapted Asian Disease Paradigm where participants chose between certain losses/gains and probabilistic losses/gains in a series of moral (lives) or financial (money) decisions. We assessed participants’ own risk preferences before and after exposing them to social norms that are generally risk-averse or risk-seeking. Our results showed that participants robustly shifted their own choices towards the observed risk preferences.

This conformity holds even after a re-testing in three days. Interestingly, in the monetary domain, risk-averse norms have more influence on choices in the loss frame, whereas risk-seeking norms have more influence in the gain frame, presumably because norms that contradict default behavior are most informative. In the moral domain, risk-averse as opposed to risk-seeking norms are more effective in the loss frame but in the gain frame different norms are equally effective. Taken together, our results demonstrate conformity in risk preferences across contexts and highlight unique features of decisions and conformity in moral and monetary domains.



Other publications


📝 Preprints & articles
💬 Forum posts

Announcing Insights for Impact, a YouTube channel aiming to communicate key insights of EA-aligned research papers, Christian Pearson

Spreading messages to help with the most important centuryHolden Karnofsky

Immigration reform: a shallow cause exploration, Joel McGuire, Samuel Dupret, Michael Plant & Ryan Dwyer

Why I don’t agree with HLI’s estimate of household spillovers from therapy, James Snowden

The Capability Approach to Human WelfareRyan Briggs

How to use AI speech transcription and analysis to accelerate social science researchAlexander Saeri

What can we learn from the empirical social science literature on the expected contingency of value change? Johannes Ackva

🎧/🎦 Podcasts & videos

Christopher Brown on why slavery abolition wasn’t inevitable, 80,000 Hours

How Science Misunderstands Power, Insights for Impact

💰 Funding


💼 Jobs & volunteering
📅 Events
👨‍🔬 Researcher profile
Spencer Greenberg
Dan Greene


What is your background?

I'm a mathematician by background (with a speciality in machine learning), but now I focus full-time on psychology and behavioral science!


What is your research area?

How do we make psychology and behavioral science more robust, more accurate, and more useful? We build technology to improve social science (GuidedTrack.com is a more powerful alternative to Qualtrics we created. Positly.com is an alternative to Mechanical Turk that works in 100 countries and has better quality control. And we're working on a new tool for statistics called Hypothesize).

We also conduct our own studies on many topics, such as decision-making, cognitive biases, rationality, habit formation, cognitive ability, and personality.

We launched a new project to replicate the majority of new psychology papers that come out in the journals Nature and Science shortly after they are published (https://replications.clearerth...).

We also developed a new behavior change framework designed to provide a step-by-step process for behavior change while also being comprehensive so as to fit approximately all behavior change techniques (https://www.sparkwave.tech/con...).

What are you planning to focus on in the future?

Right now, we're seeing if we can replicate >40 claims in the intelligence/IQ literature, as well as building a new machine learning-based system for studying personality and testing our decision-making intervention (https://programs.clearerthinki...) in a randomized controlled trial. We're also attempting to develop new interventions for anxiety.

We've also been doing work on what we call "Importance Hacking" - what we think is a major but rarely discussed problem in science: https://www.clearerthinking.or...

I also hope to continue to interview brilliant social scientists on my podcast, Clearer Thinking:


Do you want help or collaborators, if so who?

It's usually not worth it for us to write up our studies for academic journals, so we love collaborating with academics who want to write publications and share co-authorship based on studies we conduct (there is often also an opportunity for them to inject novel hypotheses into the studies we're already running). Feel free to reach out if you're interested!


Do you want to share some of your work?

Our new Transparent Replications project where we replicate papers in top journals right after they are released: https://replications.clearerth...

My essay on Importance Hacking as a major problem in science: https://www.clearerthinking.or...

My interview with Stuart Ritchie on how to make science more trustworthy: https://podcast.clearerthinkin...


You can contact Spencer here.

Want to be profiled? Submit a profile here


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