It’s comforting to believe that there’s an essential version of each of us — that good people behave well, bad people behave badly, and those tendencies reside within us. But the growing evidence suggests that, on some level, who we are — litterbug or good citizen, for example — changes from moment to moment, depending on where we happen to be.
These environmental cues can shape and reshape us as quickly as we walk from one part of the city to another.
Adam Alter, an assistant professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, is the author of “Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave.”
We need to be more intentional about the common spaces we co-create because of the way they engage and disengage us. It’s a call for spaces that connect us in new conversations that make a difference.