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Garrett Meccariello

Behavioral Scientist, Protobrands

Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences, University of Pennsylvania ‘18
Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics, Bentley University ‘17

According to Garrett Meccariello (Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences ‘18), it’s an exciting time to be involved in behavioral science research. As the resident behavioral scientist at Protobrand, a company that provides market research services for Fortune 500 companies, he has the opportunity to apply his knowledge to gain insight into consumer engagement and brand relationships. “It’s a great position in a growing industry,” he says. “The power of behavioral science is so strong—it has exploded in recent years.”

An economics major in college, Garrett pursued the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences (MBDS) degree at Penn to dive deeper into education and explore more practical applications of his academic expertise. “Behavioral science allows us to help people make better decisions in a variety of applications, from finance to personal relationships,” Garrett explains. “The MBDS program gave me a better understanding of the scientific method and how to test theories, but also how to apply those theories to solve real-world problems.” Garrett’s interest in applied methods is not just practical but ethical; as a marketer, for example, “we should ask how to get consumers to engage with our brand, not how to get people to spend more money.”

In fact, one of Garrett’s side projects is designed to help people spend less money—or, more accurately, to help consumers make beneficial financial choices. Brainstorming practical research applications in an experimental methods course, Garrett and MBDS classmate Tobias Näsgårde came up with the idea for an intervention to reduce unnecessary spending in cashless environments such as online shopping websites. “I had an idea, and my professors didn’t question it. They helped me enhance it,” says Garrett. “The MBDS program is a great place to play with ideas—you get the support needed to go forward.” The students conducted research for their application with a grant from the ING Group’s Think Forward Initiative. The result of their work is Quinn, a free browser plugin that automatically detects online spending behavior and utilizes behavioral nudges to help consumers save for a long-term goal. “We realized there was an opportunity, so we started a company and defined the product,” adds Garrett. “Prospect Labs went live recently with the help of ING on the global stage.”

For Garrett, the emerging product and company enhanced his experience of the program by putting his knowledge into immediate practice. “Have a passion,” he advises. “That will allow you to connect with the learning on a deeper level.”

Read more about Garrett’s work with Quinn in Penn Today“A gentle nudge at the right moment can curb unnecessary spending online”

Program contacts

Our Associate Director can help you plan your path through the Master of Behavior and Decision Sciences degree.

Course descriptions

See the courses and electives available to master's students.

Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics

Led by MBDS Founding Director Cristina Bicchieri, this newly formed research center aims to support positive behaviors on a global scale.