Jim Bettman brought his blend of insight and humor to his career talk this morning at the Society for Consumer Psychology Doctoral Consortium. Here’s what he advised students.
His guiding principles: “P.O.I.”
Passion – “Love it or leave it.” Only do things you believe in.
Ownership – Do your own ideas, not your advisors’. Or take your advisors ideas and make them your own as his former student Mary Frances Luce did by applying emotion to Bettman, Payne, and Johnson’s established decision research.
Impact – “Go for the gold.” Aim to change the field.
Reading advice: “Make generating study ideas a focus of whatever you’re reading.”
If you ever get the pleasure of getting a manuscript of yours reviewed by Bettman, you will find that nearly every paragraph has a comment about a potential future direction or connection to another literature. This persistent focus on generating ideas is what has allowed Bettman to be so wildly impactful. Though Bettman often appears very programatic, this should not be taken as sign of him not thinking diversely.
On what to follow up on: “Be ready for lightning bolts.”
Bettman said be open to new ideas and when you find one you are passionate about embrace it and then follow up on it. Inspiration comes first and then the programmatic process begins.
Caveat: “Not a once size fits all.”
Bettman indicated that even though be believed in his research style, there have been many people in the field who have succeeded in following a different style of research.
Funniest quote: Good research is like “ideas having sex.”
Bettman noted that good ideas come when ideas are pieced together with other ideas, when ideas are allowed to cross-fertilizer and different combinations of idea chromosomes come together.
Second funniest quote: “When talking about how Mary Frances Luce suggested emotion be brought into decision research, “We had never discussed emotion, or been emotional.”
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