Tag: decision-making

  • Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion and the Importance of Recognising “Enforced Compliance”

    Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is Robert Cialdini’s 1984 book discussing what he calls the six fundamental psychological principles of compliance: consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity. The conclusion to Cialdini’s book points out why, in this increasingly complex world, resisting attempts at “enforced compliance” (deception) through these key principles is as important…

  • To Complete Goals, Concentrate on ‘The Big Picture’ (Not Subgoals)

    To help control and manage progress on a difficult or long-term goal, we often split that goal into many individual subgoals. Once we begin to complete these subgoals, our continued motivation and progress toward the main, or superordinate, goal can be compromised. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2006…

  • For Motivation, Keep Goals Secret

    Conventional wisdom for setting goals and following through on intentions is to make a public statement of intent in order to bring about some accountability. However the research on the theory is mixed. Derek Sivers summarises a number of studies that suggest we should keep our goals private if we want to remain motivated (especially…

  • Mundane Decisions and Premature Deaths

    Deaths in the United States resulting from “fairly mundane personal decisions” have risen from a rate of around 10% of all premature deaths a century ago to 44.5% today*. This shift suggests that by improving our decision-making abilities, we can dramatically reduce a main cause of premature death: ourselves. 44.5% of all premature deaths in…

  • Hand Washing Leads to Rational Evaluations

    Postdecisional dissonance–an extremely close relative of both post-purchase rationalisation and the choice-supportive bias–is the phenomenon whereby once we have made a decision we perceive our chosen option as the most attractive choice and the discarded alternatives as less attractive, regardless of the evidence. Some¬†intriguing¬†recent research suggests that the physical act of cleaning one’s hands helps…

  • How Different Cultures Define Choice

    In her book¬†The Art of Choosing, psychologist Sheena Iyengar‚ÄĒthe experimenter who conducted the original studies leading to the¬†paradox of choice theory‚ÄĒlooks at the cultural differences in the definition and acceptance of choice. Take a mundane question: Do you choose to brush your teeth in the morning? Or do you just do it? Can a habit…

  • Information, Not Recommendation, the Best Advice

    Attempting to discover the most effective way to offer advice, researchers identified four separate types of advice: Advice for is a recommendation to pick a particular option. Advice against is a recommendation to avoid a particular option. Information supplies a piece of information that the decision maker might not know about. Decision support suggests how…

  • Evidence-Based Methods to Become Lucky

    In an attempt to discover whether there were genuine personality traits that separate the lucky from the unlucky, Richard Wiseman studied 400 people over a number of years and discovered that there are indeed behavioural differences between the lucky and luckless‚ÄĒand that we can ‘learn’ these traits to improve our luck. Wiseman states that the…

  • Epiphanies Through Daydreams

    Research aimed at discovering how ‘Eureka moments’ are triggered and how these moments of clarity and insight differ from typical methodical reasoning has found that not only are epiphanies more likely when we’re daydreaming, but our state of mind before we tackle a problem is also crucial. They materialize without warning, often through an unconscious…

  • Validation vs Correctness

    In order to avoid cognitive dissonance you¬†have a number of choices. Primarily: selective exposure and/or¬†confirmation bias. Researchers from a number of US universities are now attempting to quantify these phenomena, looking at¬†how we seek validation as opposed to correctness. The researchers found that people are about twice as likely to select information that supports their…