Monday, July 23, 2012

Decision-Making Oddities.

First, there is the Abilene Paradox, in which a group makes a decision none of them wants, because each thinks the others are in favor and wants to go along. The additional paradox is that primarily happens among people who like each other. One can see how this type of decision can be reached, sometimes through a martyred attitude, but other times quite innocently.

The following is attributed to the very clever Sydney Morgenbesser: Facing the choice between apple and blueberry pie at his local diner, he opted for the apple. When subsequently informed that there was also some cherry pie available, he switched his choice to the blueberry pie. It sounds impossible, yet we make decisions in this way all the time.  Not so starkly and in such compressed time, for then the humor would leap out at us.  But in primary elections, hiring decisions, and even on major purchases, humans are prone to this.


Sam L. said...

Well, whadaya expect? We are the oddities making those decisions.

Texan99 said...

From my usual source, Screwtape on the danger of substituting negative "unselfishness" for positive "charity," and the fun of watching people making trouble among themselves by playing at self-sacrifice:

“If each side had been frankly contending for its own real wish, they would all have kept within the bounds of reason and courtesy; but just because the contention is reversed and each side is fighting the other side’s battle, all the bitterness which really flows from thwarted self-righteousness and obstinacy and from the accumulated grudges of the last ten years is concealed from them by the nominal or official 'Unselfishness' of what they are doing or, at least, held to be excused by it.”

Der Hahn said...

We typically don't evaluate and decide, we decide then justify.