The Beanie Bandwagon: With Guests Robert Cialdini & Yemisi Brookes

March 26, 2023
How can the fear of missing out on a trend have lasting consequences?

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After you listen

Jumping on a bandwagon where there's little-to-no cost is one thing. But when you sink assets into a speculative bubble only to see it burst, the impact on your finances could be severe.

  • Financial Decoder explores ways you can mitigate biases like herding and the recency bias before they affect your portfolio.

Jumping on a bandwagon where there's little-to-no cost is one thing. But when you sink assets into a speculative bubble only to see it burst, the impact on your finances could be severe.

  • Financial Decoder explores ways you can mitigate biases like herding and the recency bias before they affect your portfolio.

Mullets. Skinny jeans. Crocs. Many of us can recall trends that we've jumped on, only to see those trends become passé soon after. But the fear of missing out can snowball into heavier consequences.

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how speculation and rapidly growing trends, however niche, can cloud people's judgment.

A tight knit group of friends in Chicago start buying stuffed animals from a little-known toymaker, called Ty Warner, for their kids. The friends' enthusiasm for the toys is contagious, and soon the demand for these cute stuffed animals, called Beanie Babies, is growing so quickly that people are treating them as investments. People are lining up for hours to get their hands on the newest releases. Parents are using their kids' college funds to collect Beanie Babies. Collectors are buying secondhand Beanie Babies for thousands of dollars.

Filmmaker Yemisi Brookes tells the story of how a group of moms launched an unassuming stuffed toy to unexpected highs—and lows.

Yemisi Brookes is the director of the documentary Beanie Mania, available on HBO.

Next, Katy speaks with Robert Cialdini about his research that shows while humans are influenced by what a majority of people are doing, humans pay special attention to trends that are growing, even if it begins with just a small fraction of the population.

You can read more in the paper he co-authored with Chad R. Mortensen and Rebecca Neal called "Trending Norms: A Lever for Encouraging Behaviors Performed by the Minority."

Robert Cialdini is the Arizona State University Regents' Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing and the best-selling author of several books including the mega-bestseller Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

Choiceology is an original podcast from Charles Schwab. 

If you enjoy the show, please leave a rating or review on Apple Podcasts

 

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