Decision Drivers: What Really Influences Your Decisions And Why You Should Care

Decision Drivers

We are often unaware of significant and unconscious decision drivers. The five posts summarized below offer insight into the mysterious workings of the human brain and what truly drives our decisions.

Are Human Decisions Eminently Rational, Hopelessly Irrational, or Neither?

In this intriguing post, influence guru Robert Cialdini outlines the traditional poles in the decision-making space. In the classic view, our choices are rational and self-serving. Skeptics focus on numerous cognitive biases such as anchoring and confirmation as evidence that decision-makers are relentlessly and hopelessly irrational.

Cialdini then summarizes a third view presented in a book by social psychologist Douglas Kenrick and marketing professor Vlad Griskevicius who argue that “People’s decisions are driven by a ‘deep rationality’ – a set of evolved biases that would have helped our ancestors and their genes survive, and that continue to influence our choices in the modern world.” As Kenrick and Griskevicius explain, the implications for marketing and decision-making are profound, “Instead of being design flaws, many of our biases are actually design features. Understanding how these biases work will help marketers harness our evolutionary tendencies to better predict how consumers will behave.”

How to Minimize Your Biases When Making Decisions

Robert F. Wolf brings the often dry topic of risk management to life as he deftly explains the insidious role cognitive bias plays in business decision-making. Success in this arena requires casting a critical eye on decision options. The difficulty, Wolf reminds us, is that many of our “behavioral vulnerabilities” reside in our subconscious. Effective methods for combating these subconscious tendencies including adding a “chief contrarian” to the team and relentlessly seeking disconfirming evidence.

As Wolf explains, the need for this intellectual rigor is our own human tendencies, “Throughout the process, it’s crucial to recognize that most risk does not manifest itself from some exogenous contingent event, but rather is driven by the behaviors and decisions of people.”

5 Psychological Biases You Must Avoid in Street Photography

Photography and bias, who knew? In this lengthy post, photographer Eric Kim outlines five well-known biases: Anchoring, the IKEA effect (the idea that a certain amount of labor, such as assembling an Ikea bookshelf, enhances affection for its results), loss aversion, hedonic adaptation, and overconfidence.

Kim’s post stands out because he:

  1. Has found a creative way to integrate cognitive bias with the niche profession of street photography.
  2. Literally illustrates certain biases
  3. Offers concrete solutions such as soliciting a second opinion and letting photos marinate in order to mitigate the IKEA effect.

A fun and interesting read.

The Post Hoc Fallacy

In this short, clever video author and journalist David McRaney literally shows how easily we confuse cause and effect.

Making Predictions Makes You Learn Better

This post by author and journalist Annie Murphie Paul is slightly off topic. It’s included here, however, to offer a different perspective about the risks associated with predictions. Indeed, future posts in this blog will outline such risks.

Rather than focus on the predictions and accuracy, Paul cites a study showing that the simple act of making predictions enhances our ability to learn.

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