The Carnegie Mellon Research Café isn't just a cafe — it's also part of the Social and Decision Sciences Department, and its wares aren't just tasty snacks; they're also props in a series of ongoing behavioral economics experiments in choice theory and other subjects.
Topics include trust and fairness; memory and decision making; how people decide to save or spend; how to reduce obesity; public health issues like diet, exercise and smoking; privacy; perceptions of inflation; managerial decision making; and dynamic decision processes.
Loewenstein, who is on the CBDR steering committee, says their research is inherently more accessible than, for example, a hard science like physics or chemistry or even medical research.
"Everyone has had to deal with the types of issues we research — like why people eat unhealthy foods and how to help people to save more for retirement, or what makes us happy or trust others," he said. "As a social sciences department, people are our research. Without them we simply couldn't continue."
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