Irrational Decisions

[MM_Member_Decision isMember='false'] As humans we like to think that we’re in control of the decisions we make.  Whether they are important or every day decisions we want to know that we’re actually making them.  The truth is, though, we’re not.  We find decisions very hard to make so use a lot of other information to try to make the task easier. This resource is only available to members. To read more, login or join now as a free member [/MM_Member_Decision]

[MM_Member_Decision membershipId='1|2|3|4'] As humans we like to think that we’re in control of the decisions we make.  Whether they are important or every day decisions we want to know that we’re actually making them.  The truth is, though, we’re not.  We find decisions very hard to make so use a lot of other information to try to make the task easier.

When we’re given two distinct choices we’re often quite confused.  When offered the choice of A and B, where they are similarly attractive, we have a really tough time choosing between them.  If we introduce a choice which is similar to one of the options, but clearly inferior (A-) we will generally discount the option which is different and then pick the superior of the two left.  In this case we would generally choose A.

This means we can engineer the option we want someone to choose, just by putting a less attractive version of the same choice in the mix.  There have been a few experiments done to prove this.

Dan Ariely, a professor at MIT did an experiment using photos of two males and asked a group of students which they found most attractive.  He offered two distinct choices, Mark and Jeff.  He added a third choice, a photoshopped image of a less attractive Mark or Jeff.  When the less attractive Mark was present most people chose Mark.  When the less attractive Jeff was present most people chose Jeff.

This behaviour is clearly irrational.  When offered two choices and we have difficulty making a decision, the presence of a clearly inferior option shouldn’t make it any easier, but it does.

How can you use this knowledge when offering your services? [/MM_Member_Decision]

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