Dave Nussbaum

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, University fo Chicago Booth School of Business

Dave Nussbaum is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He received his PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford in 2008, working primarily with Claude Steele and Carol Dweck. He recently completed a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Waterloo with Steve Spencer.

His research is primarily focused on how people manage and defend their self-image in the face of threats, and how this affects their beliefs and behavior. He also explores how social contexts and psychological processes can either exacerbate threats to self-image or attenuate them. He writes:

"I have found that defensively managing self-image threats can often lead to negative consequences, including academic disidentification, missed learning opportunities, the avoidance of important medical tests, and persistence in failing investments. I believe that by identifying contexts and processes that attenuate threat, individuals and organizations can employ strategies to prevent these maladaptive outcomes."

Latest article

Dave Nussbaum's Contributions
  • Expecting Better

    I’ve never been pregnant myself, but I know people who have. Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience, but it has its downsides too, like having to feel bad whenever you have beer or wine or sushi or coffee or even...

  • In Theory: David Brooks’ Partial Endorsement of Nudges

    David Brooks endorsed the use of “nudges” (also known as libertarian paternalism) in his New York Times column yesterday, at least partially, giving a cautious thumbs up to the new unit in Washington, DC,...

  • Morning Guy vs. Night Guy

    Do you ever stay up late and then curse yourself the next morning when your alarm clock wakes you up? Jerry Seinfeld has the same problem. He’s got a pretty good idea of why it happens, too, he just doesn’t have a...

  • Cheaters Never Prosper?

    News of a company behaving unethically has become so common that it hardly raises an eyebrow except, perhaps, in the most egregious cases – and even then the outrage is often muted after the initial flare-up...

  • Making Sense in Egypt

    In the hours following the deaths of more than 50 Egyptians in Cairo earlier today there were wildly divergent accounts of what actually happened. Here is a summary, from Wendell Steavenson of the New Yorker: ...

  • Just My Luck?: How our beliefs about success shape us

    Steven Mazie has a post on the front page today about Ben Bernanke's Princeton commencement speech this year, and his call to the graduating class to "share their luck with others." As it happens, last year's...

  • Worth the Wait: How waiting can make you more patient

    If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait for summer to finally start. The Chicago winter dragged on forever and now the weather just can’t seem to make up its mind. As each day passes I get more and more...

  • Pay Now, Consume Later

    When you pay in advance, not only will the meal be more likely to feelfree once it rolls around, you’ll also get the additional benefit of enjoying the anticipation of the meal.

  • Odysseus Nudged: How Limiting Our Choices Can Give Us More Freedom

    “When people have problems exercising self-control, restricting their choices can, in some cases, leave them more freedom to choose.”

  • The Psychology of Nothing: Phantom Symptoms

    Nocebo effects pose a particular conundrum for doctors who, while they have an obligation to be honest with their patients about the possible effects of a drug, also want to avoid unnecessarily increasing the risk...