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You make decisions quicker and based on less information than you think

Recognizing the rush to judgment

Misunderstanding how much information we actually use to make our judgments has important implications beyond making good or bad decisions.

An example could be our tendency to rely on stereotypes when judging other people: we may believe we'll consider information from all the angles, but in fact, we are more likely to consider very little information and let stereotypes creep in.

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You make decisions quicker and based on less information than you think

You make decisions quicker and based on less information than you think

http://theconversation.com/you-make-decisions-quicker-and-based-on-less-information-than-you-think-108460

theconversation.com

6

Key Ideas

Information and decision making

The fact that we live in an age of information should allow us to make super-informed, data-driven decisions all the time.

But the widespread availability of information does not mean that we actually use it even if we have it: decades of research in psychology and behavioral science found that people readily make data-poor snap judgments in a variety of instances (when forming impressions, when shopping, when evaluating, even when voting).

Snap judgments

Individuals fail to anticipate how little information they and others use when making decisions.

An the immediacy of human judgment generally surprises people: we are startled by how quickly we make judgments and how little information we use doing so.

Snap judgments

We fail to anticipate how little information we (and others) use when making decisions.

The immediacy of human judgment generally surprises people: we are startled by how quickly we make judgments and how little information we use doing so.

Processing information

New information doesn't stack on top of old information until some mental threshold is reached for making a decision.

In reality, the first few pieces of information are weighted much more heavily than later information.

Quick decisions

Quick decisions are not always bad. Sometimes they even are remarkably accurate and can save time.

It would be overwhelming to comb through all the available information on a topic every time a decision must be made.

Recognizing the rush to judgment

Misunderstanding how much information we actually use to make our judgments has important implications beyond making good or bad decisions.

An example could be our tendency to rely on stereotypes when judging other people: we may believe we'll consider information from all the angles, but in fact, we are more likely to consider very little information and let stereotypes creep in.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Anchoring Bias

A common occurrence of heuristics in which we use an initial starting point as an anchor that is then adjusted to yield a final estimate or value.

Example: estimating the value of an o...

Being Too Optimistic

People who are told that the risk of something bad happening is lower than they expected, tend to adjust their predictions to match the new information. But they ignore the new information when the risk is higher.

Part of this overly optimistic outlook stems from our natural tendency to believe that bad things happen to other people, but not to us. 

You Often Make Poor Comparisons

Sometimes we make poor comparisons or the compared items are not representative or equal.

We often decide based on rapid comparisons without really thinking about our options. In order to avoid bad decisions, relying on logic and thoughtful examination of the options can sometimes be more important than relying on your immediate "gut reaction."

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The 37%

Mathematics dictates that you should take 37% of the time or options you have to simply look and after that, you should commit to the first option that is better than everything you’ve ...

The brain when we make decisions

The 2 systems of the brain that wok during decision making:

  • System 1 is automatic and quick (like "something feeling off").
  • System 2 is deliberate and slow (like an algorithm).

At times, these systems are at odds with each other, but research shows it's always best to trust an algorithm than your own gut.

Pros-and-cons lists are flawed

There are a few biases they don't address:

  • Narrow framing: the tendency to view an option as your only option.
  • Confirmation bias: our tendency to gather the information that supports our preferred option.
  • Short-term emotion: our tendency to have our judgment clouded when emotions run high.
  • Overconfidence: our tendency to make a decision with too much optimism about how things will play out.

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The rational manner

When faced with a difficult dilemma, we should carefully assess our options and spend a few moments consciously deliberating the information. Then, we should choose the best fit for our preferences...

The emotional system
It's only in the last few years that researchers have demonstrated that the emotional system might excel at complex decisions, or those involving lots of variables.

This would suggest that the unconscious is better suited for difficult cognitive tasks than the conscious brain, that the very thought process we've long disregarded as irrational and impulsive might actually be "smarter" than reasoned deliberation.

How emotional decision-making works

Thinking in a rational manner is more effective when there are limited pieces of information.  However, those focused on feelings prove far better in complex conditions

The advantages of emotional decision-making could be undone by a subsequent bout of deliberation, which suggests that we shouldn't doubt a particularly strong instinct, at least when considering lots of information.

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