Predictably Irrational author comes to CT

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Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape our Decisions, spoke at Wednesday’s Donaghue Foundation annual meeting in Farmington. How choices are framed has a lot to do with how we respond. For example, a group of people were asked to name either 3 or 10 reasons they love their significant other. They were then asked to rate how much they love that person. You’d think the people who came up with 10 reasons would be more in love, but you’d be wrong. Apparently, it is hard to come up with 10 reasons you love someone, according to Ariely. People reason that if they have so much trouble coming up with 10 reasons, how much could they love them. Today’s Predictably Irrational blog relates the link between people in powerful positions and hypocrisy – judging subordinates more harshly than themselves in moral situations. However that hypocrisy evaporates, even reverses, when the powerful regard their position as illegitimate or undeserved – in that case, they hold themselves to higher standards than others. He related the research back to lessons for policymakers who want to improve people’s health – don’t overwhelm with information, provide aid, consider how you present alternatives, and understand the role of emotion. Fascinating stuff.
Ellen Andrews