Are You in Control of Your Decisions?

Talk by Dan Ariely at TED, author of Predictably Irrational.

Here’s my notes from the talk:

Talking about “irrational behaviour,” not yours, of course, everyone elses.

We want to be more free, less constrained.

Fun, feedback about research, heights of Obsessive-Compulsive behavior.

Decision illusions.

Your eyes can deceive you, put the lines there, you can see- remove the lines, it’s as if nothing changed. There’s almost nothing you can do about it, besides measuring

Illusion as a metaphor. Vision is the best thing we do. We do vision, more than anything else, if we have these mistakes with vision, which we’re good at, what about what we’re not good at?

In cognitive illusion, it’s much more difficult to show mistakes.

Why do some countries give so much, and some so little? Begging only gets you so far… it’s 28% organ donation in certain countries and 100% in others.
Some countries, do not normally check the box to participate.  Others already assume they are going to participate.

When it comes to us, we have such a view that we are in control, or that we are actually making the decision. Cost of lifting the pencil to check the box, is difficult.
Because we don’t know which decision to make, we go with whatever decision was made for us.

Complications in the decision move us toward making the decision made for us.
Asymmetric Dominance– Otherwise known as the “decoy effect.”

Weekend in Rome, Paris- Don’t know?
Rome, Paris, car stolen- Rome or Paris of course.
Rome, coffee/ Paris, no free coffee- Rome with coffee, but consider Paris.
Rome, wo coffee/ Rome, Coffee- Rome with Coffee is much more attractive.

It might be better to have a useless option in the middle to give weight to the decision you would prefer they choose.

Useless option in the middle grounds a decision, when you remove the useless option, the weights shift.

Truth is, we don’t know our preferences that well, we are greatly susceptible to influences.

Consider Tom and Jerry.

Showed two guys pictures to a group of college ladies, half with a slightly uglier picture of Tom, half with a slightly uglier picture of Jerry.  Three pictures in total.

When the uglier version was around, the better looking version was favored.  Be it Tom or Jerry with the ugly doppelganger.

There are many implications.

If you go bar hopping, take a slightly uglier version of yourself. If someone else invites you, you know how they think about you.

Silver lining- Behavioral economics.

When it comes to building the physical world, we forget we are limited.

We could design a better world, if we would realize correctly our limitations.

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