Let Behavioral Science Help You Throw An Unbeatable Super Bowl Party

While Vegas oddsmakers are busy betting on whether the Patriots or the Falcons will come out on top at this year’s annual Sponsored Sports Content Between Commercials, there are certain aspects of the associated play-at-home festivities that will never change. Because science. (As long as our nation is allowed to still have science.)

Behavioral Science is the study of how people use their judgement–or don’t–to interact with people. Having a base knowledge of a few of its principles can really come in handy when you’re planning to throw a Super Bowl party that’s destined to go down in condo association history.

Planning Fallacy: The phenomenon where we wildly overestimate our abilities and under-predict the effort needed to accomplish tasks

You have enough guac & wings; one case of craft beer is enough; people will be on time and leave immediately once the game concludes. None of this is true. Double the orders and plan for guests to show up in the fourth quarter and leave long after the post-game analysis has ended.

Availability Heuristic: How people make judgements based on what comes to mind most easily

It seems likely that wagering will be involved at your party. Do you want to win? Then do some research on the actual data for each team–because everyone else will be placing their bets based on the jerseys that are the most appealing, their love/hate relationship to the city that the team represents or their love/hate relationship with Gisele.

Choice Architecture: The way decisions can be influenced by how choices are presented

Low on cash? No problem, just work on the framing of your presentation. Slop a heap of ramen noodles into a silver bowl and call it a “Super Ramen Bowl,” or arrange twelve tiny crackers on a piece of china with a small hunk of Spam alongside firm instructions that you can only enjoy with “tiny bites.”

Herding: When groups of people act together without any planned direction

Want to get everyone supporting the same team? Chances are you live in a bubble. Find out which political candidate your group supported and tell everyone that the other candidate supports the team you don’t want to win. Done and done.

Identifiable Victim Effect: Where we care more about suffering when it is represented by one individual

This one is simple. Just find the die-hard Chicago Bears fan in the room.

Second City Works, the business-to-business arm of the iconic comedy theater The Second City, announced an academic partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to explore how evidence-based insights and practices of improvisation can enhance communication, collaboration, and well-being in everyday life.

The first step for this partnership joining art and science is the launch of RewireU, an educational program with classes at The Second City beginning Feb. 22. Click here for a full class schedule and more information about the program.

Written by Kelly Leonard and Liz Kozak. This post originally appeared at secondcity.com.

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