The Daily Need

A good day for a colonoscopy, and other fantasies

My father, a law professor in Virginia, has frequently marveled at the tragedies that seem to befall students right around exam time. Illnesses, accidents and an all-out bloodbath for distant relatives. “One young woman,” he likes to say, “had three grandmothers die in one semester.”

Apparently, the carnage has spread down south, to Duke University, where behavioral economics professor (and Need to Know contributor) Dan Ariely finds that, “the amount of misery that happens at the end of the semester is incredible.”

But students start out the semester with such good intentions! Do all the reading! Start the papers early! And then something happens.

Sadly, many of us graduate from dabbling in undergraduate procrastination to becoming certified professional procrastinators, postponing all sorts of important things, things we know we need, like basic health care.

But Ariely found a simple solution that helped his students (and illustrated something about human behavior), which he explains in this highly entertaining video.

 
SUGGESTED STORIES
  • thumb
    The admission arms race
    From ProPublica, an in-depth look at the ways in which colleges can pump up their stats.
  • thumb
    Home-grown terrorism
    The story of the Boston bombers is still unfolding at high speed, but counterterror officials believe the brothers were Islamic extremists.
  • thumb
    Boston reading guide
    Need to play catch up? Here's a full list of resources for more on what's going on in Boston.

Comments