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Are we in control of our decisions?

tacomancer

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Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions? | Video on TED.com

Here is an interesting ted talk that speaks of some of the limitations of rationality in people. Personally, I think we are a lot less rational than we give ourselves credit for and that's the ideas of natural consequences for behavior does not always work. This video contains experiments that show some of the inherent biases that people tend to not realize that they possess.

What are your thoughts?
 
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Harry Guerrilla

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Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions? | Video on TED.com

Here is an interesting ted talk that speaks of some of the limitations of rationality in people. Personally, I think we are a lot less rational than we give ourselves credit for and that's the ideas of natural consequences for behavior does not always work. This video contains experiments that show some of the inherent biases that people tend to not realize that they possess.

What are your thoughts?
That's a pretty cool video.
The guy is a great presenter as well.

I was reading something about this in a blog, it was dealing with getting people to save for retirement.
Behavioral Economics (And Congressional) Failings | Weakonomi¢s
 

iangb

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Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions? | Video on TED.com

Here is an interesting ted talk that speaks of some of the limitations of rationality in people. Personally, I think we are a lot less rational than we give ourselves credit for and that's the ideas of natural consequences for behavior does not always work. This video contains experiments that show some of the inherent biases that people tend to not realize that they possess.

What are your thoughts?
Pffft, free will is over-rated.
 

DrunkenAsparagus

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If I get up right now to get a bowl of cereal because I want to or because chemical reactions in my brain and muscles made me do it, I'm still getting cereal. So really, who cares?
 
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Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions? | Video on TED.com
If we aren't, then who is? :)


Tim-
 

spud_meister

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People don’t behave rationally because it isn’t worth the cognitive effort to laboriously assess the outcome of each possible choice, and the degree of difference between outcomes is often too ambiguous to immediately identify which one we’d prefer.

Everyone who passed fifth grade math is capable of totaling their grocery bill to the penny and figuring out how much it would cost with tax. Most people don’t because that takes too much energy compared to a guestimation, and being off by a few dollars isn’t that big of a deal.

We could spend hours figuring out what we want to order for dinner, but choosing the type of soup isn’t gonna affect us much either way, so we just go with what our gut tells us. If it was gonna be our last meal before execution, it would seem like a much bigger deal and we'd spend weeks, months or years thinking about it.


DrunkenAsparagus said:
If I get up right now to get a bowl of cereal because I want to or because chemical reactions in my brain and muscles made me do it, I'm still getting cereal. So really, who cares?
The guys trying to sell you more cereal.
 

Dav

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People don’t behave rationally because it isn’t worth the cognitive effort to laboriously assess the outcome of each possible choice, and the degree of difference between outcomes is often too ambiguous to immediately identify which one we’d prefer.
Erm, no, we don't think rationally because we are not hard-wired to think rationally. It's not like we make the rational decision to be irrational.
Unless you mean, this is the underlying reason for why we are hard-wired like that.
 
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Yep, being irrational is the most rational allocation of limited cognitive resources.
 

Caine

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Yep, being irrational is the most rational allocation of limited cognitive resources.
Whoah DuDe!

I think all of you are just trying to rationalize your irrational descision making processes.
 

tacomancer

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I think you are probably correct in pointing out the inherent irrationality in people. That irrationality that exists is one of the problems I have with economic theories that assume people do act rationally. Those theories do not reflect reality.
 

Dav

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I think you are probably correct in pointing out the inherent irrationality in people. That irrationality that exists is one of the problems I have with economic theories that assume people do act rationally. Those theories do not reflect reality.
I think "rationally" and "in their own interests" are two different things.
I was waiting for someone to try to use this to make a point about how this is why people need to be regulated. Didn't think it would be you though.
 

danarhea

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Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions? | Video on TED.com

Here is an interesting ted talk that speaks of some of the limitations of rationality in people. Personally, I think we are a lot less rational than we give ourselves credit for and that's the ideas of natural consequences for behavior does not always work. This video contains experiments that show some of the inherent biases that people tend to not realize that they possess.

What are your thoughts?

 

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Are we in control of our decisions?
Within our collective and individual limitations, yes.
The problem is that none of us have the capacity to understand another person's limitations.
Most of us barely recognize our own.
Therefore it makes no sense to berate others for making a mistake, when they may not have the capacity to do otherwise.
 
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Thank you for the demonstration, Caine.

Caine said:
Whoah DuDe!

I think all of you are just trying to rationalize your irrational descision making processes.
Here, Caine is giving very little weight to what I’m saying because I’m a stoner. Instead of wasting time and mental effort processing it, he can brush it off using a rule of thumb called the contagion heuristic. “He’s a stoner, stoners are bad, therefore I don’t need to think too hard about whatever he says.”

We all use heuristics, but we're not always consciously aware of when we use them because such conscious awareness would expend the cognitive resources that we're trying to save by using them.


xkcd #630
 

Caine

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Thank you for the demonstration, Caine.



Here, Caine is giving very little weight to what I’m saying because I’m a stoner. Instead of wasting time and mental effort processing it, he can brush it off using a rule of thumb called the contagion heuristic. “He’s a stoner, stoners are bad, therefore I don’t need to think too hard about whatever he says.”

We all use heuristics, but we're not always consciously aware of when we use them because such conscious awareness would expend the cognitive resources that we're trying to save by using them.
I didn't mention you being a stoner. All I said was, "Whoah Dude"
As per the rest of your comment towards me. It isn't about you specifically. I fail to see how attempting to analyze this particular question is going to get anyone anywhere. Its all pure speculation with zero definitive answer, or any way to accurately measure whether anyone's opinion on the matter is even close to that of reality.
 

tacomancer

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I think "rationally" and "in their own interests" are two different things.
I was waiting for someone to try to use this to make a point about how this is why people need to be regulated. Didn't think it would be you though.
Well, I have had this idea long before this article. I just don't understand why people should be expected to be supermen.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Fascinating - loved it! Thanks for posting.

I really liked how his points actually had real-life examples to draw from. Very telling! I'll keep this in mind and in my favorites for the future.
 
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I didn't mention you being a stoner. All I said was, "Whoah Dude"
As per the rest of your comment towards me. It isn't about you specifically. I fail to see how attempting to analyze this particular question is going to get anyone anywhere. Its all pure speculation with zero definitive answer, or any way to accurately measure whether anyone's opinion on the matter is even close to that of reality.
How often does anyone say “Whoah DuDe!” without attempting to invoke memes about stoners, surfers and Keanu Reeves?

“Are we in control of our decision?” is the starting point for asking “When are we not fully in control of our decisions?”, which is incredibly useful if you want people to buy your product, listen to your argument, or even act a certain way.

Just the other day, I read about Staples analyzing their customer patterns. They noted that most people are inattentive when they first walk into a store, ignoring items on sale and even failing to notice shopping carts and baskets. How much money do you think they can make by reorganizing their stores to take advantage of patterns like this?
 

Orion

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I believe the higher self watches what the primal self does, and vice versa. There are times when our physical bodies do the driving in order to fulfill needs and there are other times when our purpose being here shines through and influences our lives. I don't see our existence as only one layer (i.e. just chemicals in the brain), but many different layers rolled into one, sometimes operating at the same time and sometimes at different times.

I don't really think anyone is going to get what I'm talking about though.
 

other

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I think you are probably correct in pointing out the inherent irrationality in people. That irrationality that exists is one of the problems I have with economic theories that assume people do act rationally. Those theories do not reflect reality.
The same goes for theories that assume economies can be centrally planned.

Good video BTW>
 

Aunt Spiker

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The same goes for theories that assume economies can be centrally planned.

Good video BTW>
If you're constructing an economic format - and just factor in predictable irrationality - then you can still nail it down.

That is what this discusses, by the way - predictable irrationality. "People act irrationally - and this is how they do it"
 

other

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If you're constructing an economic format - and just factor in predictable irrationality - then you can still nail it down.

That is what this discusses, by the way - predictable irrationality. "People act irrationally - and this is how they do it"
Yeah, he mentions briefly toward the end about using this sort of knowledge to help us make better decisions... I just don't buy it. He even demonstrates himself, using the visual experiments, etc, that even those who know the pitfalls predictably make mistakes. Basically, regardless of the amount of experience a group of planners has with "predictable irrationality," the more decisions they take upon themselves to make for others the more mistakes will be made. At least in a freer system people can learn from others' mistakes and adjust their behavior after the fact. More often than not, when planners and bureaucracies are involved, making changes becomes practically impossible or simply just as destructive as sitting on their hands and doing nothing with the mess they made.

Keep the transactions on an individual/small scale, and simply keep the education about irrational tendencies on the same scale. No need to throw everyone's eggs in the same basket.
 
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Aunt Spiker

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Yep . .. point blank: to err is human.
 
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