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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.

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