How You Really Make Decisions

Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions - Professor Daniel Kahneman

Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions – Professor Daniel Kahneman Photo: BBC

Neil Midgley reviews an episode of Horizon, which revealed that humans are nowhere near as rational as we think we are

Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions (BBC Two) spent much of its precious hour not on psychological science, but on pointless general views of New York and London. There were a lot of street scenes, an interlude featuring a bike, and quite a lot of violin music. All this wasted energy meant that, once the programme had dangled its fascinating thesis in front of its audience, it then didn’t offer enough proof in support.

Professor Daniel Kahneman is an eminent psychologist, and has won a Nobel Prize for his work on behavioural economics. Kahneman’s theory is that human beings are nowhere near as rational as we think we are – and that, in fact, most of our decisions are made by a separate, more intuitive psychological system, which is biased both by our species’ evolution and by our own previous experiences.

So we humans are apparently guilty, for example, of “confirmation bias” – that is, we tend to make new decisions that fit with our old ones. Horizon had gained access to a training centre for spies, near Washington DC, where a simulation was said to bear this out. The programme asserted that the trainees didn’t give enough weight to new facts – but, frustratingly, didn’t explain where those poor guinea pigs had gone wrong.

Then there was our tendency towards “loss aversion”, which was said to have played a role in the financial crash. One psychologist said that, if we truly understood loss aversion – which causes us to make bad financial decisions, in predictably biased ways – we could design better institutions and better regulation. Better in what way? No answer to that one – it was time, instead, for a slow-motion montage of people looking thoughtful.

By the end, my conclusion was that Horizon’s producers had underestimated their viewers. Of course, I may just have watched too many bad science documentaries, and thus be simply guilty of confirmation bias. But my view seems pretty rational to me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Advertisements
Pen Paper and IT

This is my corner of the Net where I can relax and share my thoughts

Dear Dharma

Advice on almost anything…

Human Life Run

Mistakes Are Reality Of Life. Lets Understand and Move on!!

BayArt

New Perspective on Life

mali9437

Machhindra wordpress

indahs: dive, travel & photography

cities - cultures - ocean - marine life

The Beauty Along the Road

Discovering Beauty in the small details of our lives

MLST--MY LITTLE SIMPLE THOUGHT--THE WORDSMITH SCRIBE

A personal comprehensive compendum of related personal thought, diary, articles geared towards championing and alleviating the course of humanity towards the achievement of a greater society whereby all the inhabitants of the world are seeing as one and treated equally without any division along religious affinity, social class and tribal affliation.This is all about creating a platform where everybody interested in the betterment of the society will have a voice in the scheme of things going on in the larger society.This is an outcome of deep yearning of the author to have his voice heard across the globe.The change needed by all and sundry all over the globe starts with us individually.Our world will be a better place if every effort at our disposal is geared towards taking a little simple step that rally around thinking outside the box.

vtofighi

A great WordPress.com site

Ashes of Life

A journey to discover my own writing voice

The Blog of Travel

Motorbikes, dogs and a lot of traveling.

Comicbook Fan and Avid Auto Enthusiast

My Bologna has a first name its: H-O-M-E-R!

A CERTAIN MEASURE OF PERFECTION

A novel inspired by Roger Brierley (1586 - 1637)

Nessy Samuel

Food | Travel | Experiences | Photography

Britt's world

@brittsworld_

James Clark -- The Next Iteration

Eclectic Writtings for a Balanced Life

UptightPrettyGirl

Have fun reading. Message me any time.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: