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DUCKWORTH: I don’t know where the excess energy came from, but my mother insists that it’s the unfortunate consequence of eating candy bars and sugar cereals.

*      *      *

DUCKWORTH: I’m Angela Duckworth.

DUBNER: I’m Stephen Dubner.

DUCKWORTH + DUBNER: And you’re listening to No Stupid Questions.

Today on the show: Does society favor early birds over night owls?

DUBNER: Well, you’re taking a bird metaphor that probably has nothing to do with actual people.

*      *      *

DUCKWORTH: Stephen, we have an email from a listener named Abby, and I’d like to read it to you. Are you awake enough to hear it? Because it’s — it’s morning.

DUBNER: It is morning. We don’t always record in the mornings, we should say.

DUCKWORTH: We don’t, but as an early riser, which I know you to be, I kind of knew you’d be awake for it. You wake up at some ridiculously early single-digit number, yes?

DUBNER: I have been a very early riser for the vast majority of my life. Although, I’m trying now to get more sleep. So, sometimes I will sleep in until, you know, 6:30 or 7, which feels so luxuriantly criminal. But I usually do wake up quite early — between 5 and 5:30, which — to me that’s just normal.

DUCKWORTH: That is really early.

DUBNER: Ehh.

DUCKWORTH: No, no, no. This is the thing. You think it’s normal. It is not normal. Okay. Let me read you Abby’s question.

DUBNER: Please.

DUCKWORTH: Abby writes, “Dear Angela and Steven. I have always felt like our society favored early risers. You know: “Early bird gets the worm.” I’ve recently heard a new version of this. Quote: “The early bird gets the worm, but it’s the second mouse who gets the cheese,” unquote.

DUBNER: Have you ever heard that phrase?

DUCKWORTH: I have not heard that.

DUBNER: So, wait. The idea is that the first mouse gets killed in the mouse trap?

DUCKWORTH: Yeah. I think the idea is that the late-sleeping mouse, who, like, gets up around 11 or something, gets the cheese after the first mouse gets snapped.

DUBNER: Let’s make a pact right now. We’re not going to count this weird second-mouse-cheese-trap thing against Abby.

DUCKWORTH: No. We get you. And here, Abby writes, “So my question is: Do early birds really end up doing better? And is this because people who want to get up early are naturally proactive, or because people are more productive in the morning? And which is each of you?”

DUBNER: I love Abby’s questions. I like how she surrounds a question with a bunch more questions — which I think is such a good practice.

DUCKWORTH: Russian doll-like.

DUBNER: Why don’t we start with her last question first. She wants to know which each of us are. You already drug that out of me. I think you are a relatively early bird, yes?

DUCKWORTH: Hm. Guessing my “chronotype.” And that is the fancy word, by the way, for your quote-unquote “natural clock.”

DUBNER: Right.

DUCKWORTH: Are you somebody who naturally starts to become alert early in the morning, or are you somebody whose chronotype is later. You know, you call them “owls” and “larks.” You have correctly pegged me, Stephen, as a lark. I am somebody who wakes up before Alexa tells me to. It’s usually the first rays of dawn, and sometimes before then. So, I rarely get up with my alarm, which is set for 7:30. Today, I woke up at about 6:30, maybe. But, you know, I have to hesitate here, because I ordered my college application recently. Did you know that, for many schools, you can literally email the registrar and ask them for your own college application?

DUBNER: I did not. And you did this willingly?

DUCKWORTH: Yeah.

DUBNER: You weren’t blackmailed into it, or someone wasn’t questioning whether you actually went to college?

DUCKWORTH: No, no, no. I thought it would be really cool for me to see what I had written in my college applications.

DUBNER: Wow. Tell me more. How was it?

DUCKWORTH: Well, first I’ll say that my guidance counselor didn’t think much of me. I was looking at her ratings, and I was like, “How did I even get into school?”

DUBNER: Wow.

DUCKWORTH: So, you know what my application essay was entitled? It was called “Confessions of a Teenage Owl.” And I can read you parts of it. It’s not long, actually.

DUBNER: I’d love to hear it.

DUCKWORTH: Alright. “My parents are convinced that they’ve raised an owl, not a 17-year-old daughter. I admit that I’m a creature of the night with nearly no respect for the semi-comatose state which most of us call sleep. To me, sleep is like being dead for eight hours every night. And worst of all, it’s a needless waste of time. Accordingly, I succumb to Mr. Sandman for only four hours per night. As far as I can tell, I’m just as healthy and twice as happy for it. This nasty habit of staying up until the wee hours of the night began during childhood. Under strict orders to be in bed by 9:30, I would sneak downstairs and hide behind the couch, listening to Johnny Carson and praying that my parents wouldn’t turn around to discover me. I don’t know where the excess energy came from, but my mother insists that it’s the unfortunate consequence of eating candy bars and sugar cereals. Whatever the reason, I’m always the last to bed and the first to wake everyone else up when morning rolls around. I realize, of course, that most people do not share my contempt for sleep. So, I take pains to tiptoe as quietly as possible when prowling around the house at three in the morning. Out of consideration for the unconscious members of my family, I turn down Dave Letterman’s voice to a bare whisper and munch on my potato chips as silently as I can. Even after Dave has turned in, I sit at the kitchen table and indulge myself in the luxury of pure, uninterrupted thought. The ideas that pop into a teenager’s head at that ungodly hour range from the bizarre — how to outsmart a sock-eating washing machine — to the inspired — a new idea for a painting I’m working on. Early morning thoughts are fragile things. I’ve learned to scribble them down in my journal before finally going to bed. I must admit that this extra four-hour stretch gives me a considerable edge over my soporific peers. After all, I have four more hours to keep up on current events, organize my schedule, and contemplate the last theory of calculus we learned. If necessary, I can stay up all night studying for the killer biology test without stumbling into school the next day bleary-eyed and listless, as do many members of the class. Four hours may not seem like a terribly significant amount of time, but considering that sleep is like temporary death, they add about 11 years to my life.”

DUBNER: Okay. So, first of all, I can see why Harvard wanted to admit you.

DUCKWORTH: Because I was manic?

DUBNER: They’re thinking “Well, plainly she cares so much about accomplishment that she’s willing to basically not sleep.” And that’s the kind of person, at least in 1987, they would really want. Now what’s interesting to think about — you literally wrote that sleep is a “needless waste of time.” It would be really hard to find anyone in the medical or scientific fields today who would not want to delete that sentence.

DUCKWORTH: I was a brash 17-year-old.

DUBNER: So, now, I could imagine an admission officer reading that and saying, “No, no, no, no, no. This is someone who is pursuing accomplishment at the expense of her personal, physical, and perhaps mental health. And we don’t want to be responsible for encouraging that.” Don’t you think that that would be a response today?

DUCKWORTH: Oh my gosh. Completely. The Nobel Prize in medicine, in 2017, was awarded—

DUBNER: Yeah. Circadian rhythms and sleep.

DUCKWORTH: Right? So, there is a kind of “sleep revolution” as Arianna Huffington calls it. And frankly, at this age, I’m trying to get more sleep. But I will tell you this. I have known a few sleep experts — and I’m thinking about David Dinges, who is a world-renowned researcher at Penn. I told him my four-hour-a-night story about my teenage years, and he, I think, was quite skeptical that could possibly be true — certainly for the vast majority of people. And he likes seven as a minimum for what could plausibly be understood as a healthy amount of sleep at the low end. But he did allow, by the way, that there are individual differences in sleep need.

DUBNER: There are also individual differences in chronotype. I’m looking here at a paper from 2017 published in PLOS One, from Public Library of Science. This is a paper trying to look at the distribution of chronotypes in the U.S. population by age and sex. The authors write, “Twelve years of pooled diary data were used from the American Time Use Survey. We observed a near-normal distribution overall and within each age group.” So, Angela, can you just quickly define what a “near-normal distribution” means?

DUCKWORTH: It’s essentially a bell curve where there’s a peak in the middle, and then that’s kind of like your average person. And then, it slopes down on the side. You can imagine, like, the Liberty Bell. That means there’s some people who are really far to the right, there’s some people who are really far to the left, but it slopes up towards the middle.

DUBNER: Perfect. Okay. “The distribution’s mean value is systematically different with age, shifting later during adolescence, showing a peak in lateness at around 19 years, and then shifting earlier thereafter.” In other words, everything we’ve always heard about teenagers’ bodies gravitating towards staying up late — like 17 or 18-year-old Angela Duckworth in that essay — there is biological evidence for that, or at least time-use evidence that supports the biological argument. But then, listen: “Men are typically later chronotypes than women before 40, but earlier types after 40.” So, that’s interesting. I wonder if that’s related to testosterone, maybe?

DUCKWORTH: Menopause? I don’t know.

DUBNER: “Our finding that adolescents are, on average, the latest chronotypes supports delaying school start times to benefit their sleep and circadian alignment.” So, I think we are seeing more and more people embrace this advice. Well, I don’t know about more and more — a few. In 2017, the Seattle school district delayed the start time for secondary schools from 7:50 to 8:45. So, you know, almost an hour. Researchers from the University of Washington and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies decided to use the change to measure sleep/wake cycles. The median sleep duration increased by 34 minutes. And they noted that the delay had measurable benefits for students.

DUCKWORTH: You know RAND, the think tank?

DUBNER: I do.

DUCKWORTH: They concluded, based on all this research on chronotypes and the natural adolescent shift towards a later waking-up time — they estimated that there would be $8.6 billion of economic gains and productivity simply by shifting middle and high-school start times to be later in the day. You know, one of the things in the Nobel Prize being awarded for this work that I think should be impressed upon all of us is that this is really a biological thing. This is not a decision that you make — to be a morning person or an evening person. Even plants have biological clocks. It’s because the planet Earth rotates on its axis. And so, there is day and there is night. And there are times in the 24-hour period that it is advantageous to be aroused, awake, vigilant, looking for food, looking for mating opportunities. But the idea is that, at the most primitive level, all living organisms have to anticipate and adapt to this rotation of the earth and the presence or absence of the sun. And so, I just want to say that, for any of us who are like, “Why don’t you just be a morning person?” — this is extremely hard-wired.

DUBNER: Okay. So, the question that Abby’s asking, I think, is really an important one, which is: If one is not an early bird, is one penalized in the world? We actually touched on this a bit in a Freakonomics Radio episode some years back about sleep. There’s a Danish economist named Jens Bonke who wrote a paper in 2012 called “Do Morning-Type People Earn More Than Evening-Type People? How Chronotypes Influence Income.” He writes, “The analyses showed that morning-, relative to evening-types earned significantly more, and that morningness benefited men in particular.” So, this answers one of her questions directly.

DUCKWORTH: It’s correlational data, by the way. I don’t know that we can say “because” anything, right?

DUBNER: That’s a good point.

DUCKWORTH: There’s a correlation between being an early bird and having — actually, by the way, lots of outcomes. It’s not just income. It’s, like, happiness and productivity.

DUBNER: And what about health, as well?

DUCKWORTH: I’ve got to believe. And, by the way, anything that is going to be correlated with income is probably correlated with these other things — again, just because they tend to be correlated. So, I think we don’t know whether it is either because, as Abby wonders, these people tend to be the productive people — so it’s just a spurious correlation — or whether society is structured in a way that favors the early birds. So, I think we can say there is a tendency for early birds to get the worm, but we don’t know whether it’s because the worms are laid out for them on a buffet early, or whether they tend to be different kinds of people.

DUBNER: Right. So, as with shifting school times, you could imagine there should be discussion around shifting work time — or not just shifting, injecting flexibility. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from COVID, it’s that a lot of different people are able to and prefer to work in very different ways than the norm. And I also think that a lot of sleep patterns have shifted, obviously, during COVID, and that there’s a lot to be learned from that. I mentioned this Danish economist Jens Bonke that we spoke with some years ago about chronotypes. He also told us, back then, that Denmark and some other places were starting to experiment to shift work times a little bit to make it more flexible for more people. And you can imagine this would have a lot of potential upsides — not just for people who tend to not do well when they have to wake up early, but also for parents, or for anyone who’s taking care of family, and so on. And it just made me think about how rigid systems, like, “Here we are. We’re a corporation, and we have a place where you come to work, and we have a time when you come to work, and you come to work from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, at this place.” That’s the model that existed in a lot of places until 2020. And now it’s been blown apart, and people are trying to figure out how to put it back together again. I do look at some examples from nature — as long as we’re talking about early birds versus night owls. And you can think about it as an opportunity for a sort of balance, or even a differentiation. Like, in the animal kingdom it is true that hawks, for instance, and owls can hunt in the same place for the same animals without conflict. And that’s because hawks are diurnal and owls are nocturnal.

DUCKWORTH: Hmm.

DUBNER: So, okay, you’re going to say, “Well, you’re taking a bird metaphor that probably has nothing to do with actual people.” But I would argue that maybe we have a little bit to learn from the birds there and that there is some sort of balance or flexibility to be achieved, if for no other reason than we know that there are a lot of people out there who are chronotypically not set up to thrive in an early-morning environment.

DUCKWORTH: Yeah. I think that we could say that one of the big silver linings of COVID is that we had to force experimentation, and this research shows people did shift their sleeping patterns. And essentially, what you find is that when given the opportunity to have more flexibility, because you’re not coming into the office at 9:00 a.m., people did shift their waking times, in general, to be later — more like weekends than their weekdays. So, it’s a big experiment, and there are individual differences that we can’t know when you hire somebody. And so, why not create a workplace or a societal rhythm that allows for more flexibility. I think that’s a great idea, President Dubner.

Still to come on No Stupid Questions: Stephen and Angela discuss what to do if your chronotype doesn’t complement the way society is structured.

DUBNER: Oh, crap! He emailed me at 5. I slept until 7. I’d better answer right away.

*      *      *

Before we return to Stephen and Angela’s conversation about individual sleep differences, let’s hear some of your thoughts on the subject. We asked listeners to let us know the benefits and detriments of being an early bird versus a night owl. Here’s what you said:

Ana JAFARINIA: Hi, Stephen and Angela. My name is Ana, and I’m an early riser. I really like the feeling of being awake before the rest of the world is. It kind of feels like my private alone time. It also makes me feel — not going to lie — a little bit better than other people. And when I go for a run and see other early risers, I feel like we’re all part of this team of superior individuals. So, while I do think “early to bed, early to rise” is the better option. I don’t want everyone else to start doing it, because it’s only for us special folks.

Bethany KOMINE: Hello, my name is Bethany Komine, and I’m from Massachusetts. I grew up a night owl because of late nights in high school and college. So, I thought that’s what was working for me. A few years ago, I switched my sleep schedule: awake before seven and asleep by 11. Instead of using the hours at the end of the night to do essentially nothing productive, those hours were now being used to watch the sun rise, make pour-over coffee, listen to the news, chip away at personal projects. For me, being an early bird means setting myself up for the day — whereas being a night owl fixated on some of those undesirable habits like snacking, or hours of video games, or any other salve I could find to ease the stress of the day — which to me feels like addressing the symptom rather than the cause.

Glenna FORD: I think it’s time that we put the saying “the early bird gets the worm” to bed for once and for all. As a night owl with chronic insomnia, I’ve struggled since my teenage years with the nine-to-five world. Being able to work from home for the last two years during the pandemic has been a game changer for me. I can sleep in, work late, and no one is the wiser. Why is it better to get all your work done early and then conk out by four p.m.? Many creative people are night owls. Perhaps that’s why entertainment takes place at night. Often, the later, the better. I’ve also been told that in the early days of mankind, night owls guarded the camps and kept people safe. Surely that’s worth something, even in this modern day and age.

That was, respectively: Ana Jafarinia, Bethany Komine, and Glenna Ford. Thanks to them and to everyone who sent us their thoughts. Now, back to Stephen and Angela’s conversation about how different chronotypes fit into societal structures.

DUBNER: You know what’s another great idea? It’s something that you do. And I’m going to steal it from you. So, it has to do with email, and it has to do with a little slogan — that you now attach to your emails. You know what I’m talking about?

DUCKWORTH: I do.

DUBNER: So, here’s the thing. I love email, because I think it’s extremely functional, and it’s not very invasive. I’m not calling you, which means you have to answer the phone right now. I’m not texting or Slacking you, which means you get an alert right now with an expectation of an immediate response — all of which I find to be somewhere between obnoxious and noxious. Okay? Now, that said, I send a lot of emails, and because I’m up early, I send a lot of emails early — at five A.M., let’s say.

DUCKWORTH Yeah. I’ve gotten those early emails from you, Stephen.

DUBNER: And the reason I always feel okay about sending those early emails — even to colleagues of mine, who I know are not going to be working until nine, or 10, or even 11 in some cases — is that it’s just an email, and it doesn’t require an immediate response. But, it turns out that some people, when they get an email from someone else that’s sent early, they think, “Oh, I should respond immediately.” Let’s say somebody gets up at seven, and they see I’ve sent them a work email at five, but they don’t typically work ‘til 10, should they feel compelled to deal with the email? My answer would be, “Of course not! I understand that you work when you work.” But it turns out that that understanding that I had was not actually an understanding — that people would think, “Oh crap! He emailed me at 5. I slept until 7. I better answer right away.” So, what you do now, which I love, is you write at the end of every email, “My work hours may not be your work hours. Reply if you want, when you want.” So, when did you add that? And what’s been the effect?

DUCKWORTH: I added that relatively recently. But I want to give credit to Sigal Barsade, who was a wonderful friend of mine.

DUBNER: The recently late Sigal Barsade.

DUCKWORTH: Who passed away too early, at age 56, and was one of my closest friends. And she was not only a world-class scientist who studied emotion and empathy — but also just was a paragon of emotional intelligence and empathy. So, I noticed that Sigal, this incredibly empathic person, closed every one of her emails, “My working hours may not be your working hours. Please do not feel obligated to reply outside of your normal work schedule.” And I made my own riff on that. Mine says, “Reply if you want to, when you want to” — borrowing from a psychologist friend, Walter Mischel, who’s also passed away. Whenever he would do experiments with little children, instead of telling them to do anything, he said, “If you want to, when you want to.” So, this is my homage to Sigal Barsade, and a little bit to Walter Mischel also.

DUBNER: Was Sigal an early bird or a night owl?

DUCKWORTH: Oh, she was a famous night owl. So, Sigal would not be sending you emails at five in the morning. Sigal would be calling you at midnight to talk about whatever was going on. So, Sigal was affectionately, famously known as being the night owl of all night owls.

DUBNER: I see. So, did she adopt that email slogan because so many people got pissed off at her for calling them at midnight?

DUCKWORTH: I don’t think that anybody was ever pissed off at Sigal, so far as I can tell. The people who got her late-night calls remember them fondly, and by the way, she did it with permission.

DUBNER: Hm. Okay.

DUCKWORTH: She didn’t try to rouse people out of bed. But I think really what we’re getting at is not only flexibility and experimentation — what we learned in COVID — we’re getting at empathy. People really are different. You be you, Stephen, and I’ll be me.

DUBNER: Let me ask you one last question. Let’s say that I’m not an early bird, but that I believe that the world really is set up to benefit early birds. I’m required to do certain things, be certain places, et cetera, at a given time. That means I have to get up earlier than my body really wants to, and I have a hard time going to bed early enough to still get my six, seven, eight — however many hours I want. We’ve already agreed that maybe the best solution would be for society to nudge itself toward more flexibility to allow for different chronotypes. In the interim — and especially, this goes back to Abby’s question — can you suggest a way to nudge oneself toward slightly adjusting your chronotype?

DUCKWORTH: So, not that long ago, a very good friend of mine, and a devoted NSQ listener, named Austin Lin — said, “Have you ever heard of chronotype-adjusting from this Stanford neuroscientist named Andrew Huberman?” The answer? “No.” He leads me to Huberman’s podcast. I start listening to it. And what I picked up from it is that, yeah, you can make some adjustments to your natural circadian clock by essentially controlling light. And what Huberman recommends is getting daylight within 15 minutes of waking. And that this is especially important to think about during those winter months, when there are very few hours of daylight — again, depending on where you live. I took that advice to heart, and I tried to go for a walk in the morning. I mean, that sometimes happens, that sometimes doesn’t, but there are different places in my house that I can work where some of those rooms get more light than others. My home office is on the lowest level. It’s essentially a basement level. Everything’s set up there, but since learning about that, I actually take my laptop upstairs, and I work by a window that gets more light. So, I think the most important prescriptive recommendation about how you can, until society catches up and makes everything more flexible for us —

DUBNER: Quit your job?

DUCKWORTH: Is to come over with your laptop and hang out with me by the bay window. I think that’s the take-home. But no, I think light is something that you can be more deliberate about. And by the way, Huberman also recommends minimizing light exposure toward the end of the day. So, what this would mean is literally dimming the lights in your house after a certain time. And I’ve been more diligent about not being on my phone. I try to read on one of those old Kindles that’s only in black and white, and I think it’s been helpful.

DUBNER: And what was his advice for staying up to watch late-night comedy shows and eating potato chips? Was that also a key component?

DUCKWORTH: There’s a list of foods that are most correlated with having poor health. And I think potato chips and French fries are on that list, but they’re so delicious.

DUBNER: So, you’re saying you don’t eat them so much anymore?

DUCKWORTH: Oh no, no. I eat them anyway. They’re so delicious that I personally buy them at least once a week.

DUBNER: Would you say that you eat them less, however, then when you were 17?

DUCKWORTH: You know, growing up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey — all those late nights and all that Dave Letterman — I have to say, I was the portrait of poor nutritional hygiene. I ate potato chips, and candy bars, and full-sugared soda. Not to be recommended.

DUBNER: So, if we consider your dietary habits, your sleep habits, et cetera — the 50-year-old Angela Duckworth is to the 17-year-old Angela Duckworth as “blank” is to “blank.”

DUCKWORTH: Oh, my gosh, the 52-year-old Angela Duckworth is to the 17-year-old Angela Duckworth as the slightly tired, menopausal mom is to the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed teen. I guess that’s literal. That’s not really going the analogy route.

DUBNER: That was very literal. It was also a little bit depressing.

DUCKWORTH: Yeah, I know. I think I was just emoting. The 52-year-old Angela is to the 17-year-old Angela as the wise owl is to the early morning lark.

No Stupid Questions is produced by me, Rebecca Lee Douglas. And now here is a fact-check of today’s conversation.

In the first half of the show, Stephen and Angela joke that “the second mouse gets the cheese” is an unusual extension of the phrase “the early bird gets the worm.” The original adage — “the early bird catcheth the worme” — can be traced back to English historian William Camden’s 1636 publication Remains Concerning Britain, which contained a list of English proverbs including: “trust is the mother of deceit” and “the lame tongue gets nothing.” The origin of “the second mouse gets the cheese” is, unfortunately, less clear. According to the fact-checking website “Quote Investigator,” the phrase may have first appeared on a newsgroup message board in 1994. A user with the handle “Ernst Berg” posted, quote, “Blessed is the second mouse, for he shall inherit the cheese.” In 2012, the adage was added to Yale University Press’s Dictionary of Modern Proverbs.

Also, Stephen and Angela discuss a 2017 paper from PLOS One titled, “Chronotypes in the U.S. — Influence of Age and Sex,” and they wonder why men are typically found to have later chronotypes than women before the age of 40, but earlier thereafter. According to the authors, hormonal changes, quote, “might act as modulators for an aging circadian system, causing a slowdown in women between 35 and 50 and a speed-up in men aged 55 to 65.” But factors like differences in familial responsibilities, work regimens, and psychological disorders could also lead to a change in chronotypes. Interestingly, the difference seems to disappear at age 79.

Later, Stephen says that hawks are diurnal and owls are nocturnal. While many owl species are, in fact, nocturnal. Some species — like the northern pygmy owl — are active during the daytime. And several species are neither diurnal or nocturnal, but crepuscular — meaning they’re active during dusk and dawn.

Finally, Stephen and Angela use the pronunciation “kron-oh-type” throughout the episode. If you’re used to saying “crow-no-type” and are now concerned about looking stupid after years of mispronunciation, fear not! According to the Oxford English Dictionary, both pronunciations are totally correct.

That’s it for the fact-check.

Coming up next week on No Stupid Questions: How can you curb the damaging effects of catastrophic thinking?

DUCKWORTH: My dad spontaneously emoted, as he often did, “Disaster!”

DUBNER: Was it his catchphrase, would you say?

DUCKWORTH He was a bit of a catastrophizer.

That’s next week on No Stupid Questions. For that episode, we want to know what strategies help you calm down when you’re feeling anxious. Do you meditate? Journal? Talk things through with a therapist? Let us know what works for you! To share your thoughts, send a voice memo to NSQ@Freakonomics.com with the subject line “Anxiety.” Make sure to record someplace quiet, and please keep your thoughts to under a minute. Maybe we’ll include them on the show!

No Stupid Questions is part of the Freakonomics Radio Network, which also includes Freakonomics Radio, People I (Mostly) Admire, and Freakonomics, M.D. All our shows are produced by Stitcher and Renbud Radio. This show was mixed by Eleanor Osborne. Our staff also includes Alison Craiglow, Greg Rippin, Gabriel Roth, Morgan Levey, Zack Lapinski, Julie Kanfer, Mary Diduch, Ryan Kelley, Jasmin Klinger, Emma Tyrell, Lyric Bowdich, Jacob Clemente, and Alina Kulman. Our theme song is “And She Was” by Talking Heads — special thanks to David Byrne and Warner Chappell Music. If you’d like to listen to the show ad-free, subscribe to Stitcher Premium. You can follow us on Twitter @NSQ_Show and on Facebook @NSQShow. If you have a question for a future episode, please email it to nsq@freakonomics.com. To learn more, or to read episode transcripts, visit Freakonomics.com/NSQ. Thanks for listening!

DUBNER: What share of all cheese in the world do you think is attached to a mousetrap, would you say?

DUCKWORTH: I don’t know, but we had mice in a previous home and, having seen a lot of Tom and Jerry, I put cheese. It totally didn’t work. Also, then it, like, attracts bugs.

 

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Sources

  • Sigal Barsade, professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Jens Bonke, senior researcher (emeritus) at The ROCKWOOL Foundation.
  • Andrew Huberman, professor of neurobiology at Stanford University.
  • David Dinges, professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Walter Mischel, professor of psychology at Columbia University.

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