Tag Archives | Decision Making

Why Do People Take Risks?

Stuart Caie (CC BY 2.0)

Stuart Caie (CC BY 2.0)

via Psychology Today:

If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?

Though this mantra of frustrated parents through the ages seems like a cliche, it touches on one of the central paradoxes of risky behavour: the existence of “risk gaps” between the kind of risky behaviour we would recommend for others versus the kind we engage in personnally. As one example, while nine out of ten drivers support laws banning texting while driving, up to eighty percent of the population has done it occasionally. The same gap exists for many other risky behaviours,  things that we know are illegal or dangerous but which we might engage in all the same. This can include impaired driving, not wearing a seatbelt while driving, smoking, etc.

Research into risky decision-making suggests that we are more impartial when asked to evaluate risk for other people than we are when we do these risky behaviours ourselves.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The DisinfoView: Noreena Hertz

Noreena Hertz joins disinformation’s Gary Baddeley to discuss her new book, “Eyes Wide Open.” They discuss corporate personhood and the issue of rights without responsibilities, Lehman Brothers and the financial crisis, how and why the US government made the decisions that ended in the demise of Lehman and the bailout of other Wall Street banks, and how to make decisions amongst a deluge of information, not least from “experts” who may very well be providing misleading or plain wrong advice…

The official blurb for the book:

Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World” is Noreena Hertz’s practical, cutting-edge guide to help you cut through the data deluge and make smarter and better choices, based on her highly popular TED talk.

In this eye-opening handbook, the internationally noted speaker, economics expert, and bestselling author of “IOU: The Debt Threat” and “The Silent Takeover” reveals the extent to which the biggest decisions in our lives are often made on the basis of flawed information, weak assumptions, corrupted data, insufficient scrutiny of others, and a lack of self-knowledge.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Do You Make Better Decisions On A Full Bladder?

Photo: Filosofias filosoficas

Photo: Filosofias filosoficas

Will getting better at controlling your bladder also help you get better at controlling other impulses? Or do you just think really hard about anything else when you have to pee? Via Science Daily:

What should you do when you really, REALLY have to “go”? Make important life decisions, maybe. Controlling your bladder makes you better at controlling yourself when making decisions about your future, too, according to a study to be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Sexual excitement, hunger, thirst — psychological scientists have found that activation of just one of these bodily desires can actually make people want other, seemingly unrelated, rewards more. Take, for example, a man who finds himself searching for a bag of potato chips after looking at sexy photos of women. If this man were able to suppress his sexual desire in this situation, would his hunger also subside?

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Why So Many People Can’t Make Decisions

I wasn’t sure whether to post this article, or not … from the Wall Street Journal:

Some people meet, fall in love and get married right away. Others can spend hours in the sock aisle at the department store, weighing the pros and cons of buying a pair of wool argyles instead of cotton striped.

decisions

Source: Martorell (CC)

Seeing the world as black and white, in which choices seem clear, or shades of gray can affect people’s path in life, from jobs and relationships to which political candidate they vote for, researchers say. People who often have conflicting feelings about situations—the shades-of-gray thinkers—have more of what psychologists call ambivalence, while those who tend toward unequivocal views have less ambivalence.

High ambivalence may be useful in some situations, and low ambivalence in others, researchers say. And although people don’t fall neatly into one camp or the other, in general, individuals who tend toward ambivalence do so fairly consistently across different areas of their lives.

Read the rest
Continue Reading