She just realized that she could save more money by walking. She just realized that she could save more money by walking. She just realized that she could save more money by walking. (Photo: pikselstock/Shutterstock)

How you can learn to make better decisions while waiting for the bus

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely is rolling out an app that can teach you about yourself in bite-sized pieces.

Behavioral economics is a hot topic nowadays. Scientists are learning the difference between how humans think they behave and how they actually behave. This difference isn't just interesting; it's also extremely useful. If you know the mistakes your human brain is likely to make, you can avoid them or learn strategies that help you deal with them. This can be a big deal in all areas of life, from money to relationships.

But learning about behavioral economics is tough for, ironically, a behavioral reason: people often don't want to commit the time or energy to sit down and spend hours, days or even years learning how humans work. So famous Israeli behavioral economist Dan Ariely is rolling out a workaround: an app.

Ariely's new app teaches people decision-making skills in bite-sized pieces that they can look at while standing in an elevator or waiting for a bus.

“We have a lot of dead moments," Ariely told From the Grapevine. "The general response to those moments is 'Let’s open Facebook.'"

His app acknowledges that people don't all take in information the same way. It includes video, audio and text. Users can learn to make better decisions, which can make them happier, healthier, wealthier and wiser.

"We almost guarantee it!" Ariely claimed in typical scientifically accurate fashion on his website.

Ariely thinks people often don't realize that they have so many small moments of downtime. He wants to get people to pay attention to those moments and do something other than mindlessly scroll through a news feed.

The app also lets people participate in Ariely's studies, which could in turn add new information to the field of behavioral economics.

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