• Dr. Anne Thorndike
  • Choice Architecture

    The 14th episode of the Psychology Podcast with Daniel Karim features Dr. Anne Thorndike, Harvard’s associate professor for medicine and a world-leading expert in the field of behavioral economics. 

    Why I wanted to learn from Dr. Anne Thorndike 

    I first stumbled over Dr. Thorndike’s work when I was reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, in his book Clear uses a study that Dr. Thorndike and her colleagues conducted which is called “Choice architecture“, an intervention where Dr. Thorndike and her colleagues succeeded in changing the habits of thousands of people without boosting their willpower or motivation at all. 

    I reached out to Dr. Thorndike because I wanted to learn about her journey of becoming and discuss with her how we as a society can work together to design for positive behavioral change. 

    What is this episode about 

    Choice Architecture 
    How we can promote healthy habits
    How to quit smoking 
    How Dr. Anne Thorndike designs her environment for success
    What’s it’s like to teach at Harvard
    The price for excellence 
    Her ideas on happiness and success


    About the guest

    Dr. Anne Thorndike
    Follow Up

    Dr. Anne Thorndike

    Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, MA. She is the Director of the Metabolic Syndrome Clinic at the MGH Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center. Her clinical and research interests are the prevention and treatment of obesity and cardiometabolic disease through lifestyle modification.  Her research focuses on interventions utilizing behavioral economics strategies, such as traffic-light labels and choice architecture, to improve dietary intake and health outcomes in worksite and community-based settings. She has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as several other foundations and government organizations.  She currently serves on the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association, and is a member of the expert panel for the U.S. News and World Report Best Diets Rankings.

    Call to Action

    Here is some homework for you. It's your turn now!


    Humans are social animals, our behavioral reality is hugely impacted by the people who are around us.

    Grab a piece of paper!

    1. Write down the names of the 5 people who you spent most of your time with.
    2. Write down next to them what you associate with them. Are they holding you back, or are they bringing out the best in you?
    3. Write down what you have learned by doing this exercise!

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