Kirstin C. Appelt
Behavioral Science Research Consultant

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I use behavioral science insights to solve consumer problems with personal finance, healthcare, sustainability, and beyond. I conduct independent research and work with clients. I also introduce expert, lay, and student audiences to behavioral science insights.

  • Oral & written communication
  • Designing decision aids
  • Project management
  • Research design
  • Quantitative data analysis
  • Teamwork & leadership
Adjunct Professor | Sauder School of Business, University of British ColumbiaJanuary 2015 - present
  • Teach multiple sections of undergraduate courses “Introduction to Marketing” and "Market Research" and graduate course "Marketing" (40-60 students); average rating by students: 4.5 out of 5.
  • Coach masters candidate teams through marketing projects with community business partners.
Behavioral Science Research Consultant | Clients include:January 2012 - present
    Pacific Business Group on Health
  • Lead researcher (research design, data collection, and data analysis) for 10 studies with 2,800+ participants to improve health insurance decision aid; targeted to 13+ million consumers purchasing health insurance online.
  • Lead author of 10 issue briefs ( translating behavioral research findings into guidelines for how to design user-friendly decision support.
  • Conducted 15+ webinars and presentations for policymakers and stakeholders to share decision support guidelines.
    California Health Benefit Exchange
  • Worked with IT and design vendors on tight timelines to implement behavioral research findings into design of user-friendly decision support.
    Google, People Analytics
  • Researched and evaluated 200+ measures used to evaluate organizational behavior.
    Center for Decision Sciences, Columbia Business School
  • Lead researcher for 5+ studies to improve design of decision aids for personal finance and healthcare decisions.
  • Lead author of 2 papers targeted toward top journals and 13 presentations at international academic conferences.
Postdoctoral Research Scientist & Research Fellow | Columbia University2004 - 2011
  • Lead researcher for 30+ studies with 5,500+ participants, including project to design decision aid encouraging seniors to make better financial decisions; targeted to 31+ million consumers retiring in next 10 years.
  • Created comprehensive database ( describing 175+ measures used in decision research; 125,000+ unique site visits in first 18 months and currently averages 25,000 page views per week; acquired by Society for Judgment and Decision Making.
  • Author on 11 papers in top journals and 35 presentations at international academic conferences.
  • Taught “Thinking and Decision Making”, an undergraduate psychology course with 20 studentsl average rating by students: 4.5 out of 5.
  • Teaching assistant for undergraduate and MBA courses in research methods, psychology, marketing, and management (15-150 students).
Columbia UniversityPhD in Psychology2009
Dartmouth CollegeBA in Economics, magna cum laude2003

Grants: Co-authored 2 private grants & 2 federal government grants
Awards: Phi Beta Kappa, International Association for Conflict Management Dissertation Award Honorable Mention

Consumers often struggle with important decisions about their future. My research indicates that changing how these decisions are presented and training consumers to approach them differently helps consumers make the best decisions for themselves across many domains.
  • Consumer finance: Knoll, M. A. Z., Appelt, K. C., Johnson, E. J., & Westfall, J. E. (2015). Time to retire: Why Americans claim benefits early and how to encourage delay. Behavioral Science and Policy, 1(1), 53-62.
  • Sustainability: Handgraaf, M. J. J., van Lidth de Jeude, M. A., & Appelt, K. C. (2013). Public praise vs. private pay: Effects of rewards on energy conservation in the workplace. Ecological Economics, 86, 86-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.11.008
  • Healthcare: Appelt, K. C., Gao, J., Johnson, E. J., & von Glahn, T. (2014). Choosing how to choose: Can people choose the best choice architecture? Manuscript in preparation.
  • Interpersonal negotiation: Appelt, K. C., & Higgins, E. T. (2010). My way: How strategic preferences vary by negotiator role and regulatory focus. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 1138-1142. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.010
Computer: SPSS, html, LimeSurvey & SurveyMonkey; experience with php, CSS, MySQL, R, & Salesforce
Stats: General Linear Models (incl. ANOVA, linear, & logistic regression), Mixed Models, & factor analysis

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