Choices And Social Signals - Deepstash

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'I'll have what she's having' – how and why we copy the choices of others

Choices And Social Signals

Our choices become influenced by society, and this creates a vicious circle where what is being done by the other person is seen as appropriate to others.

Extensive studies show people replicate parts of behaviour in a social setting while showing their own preference towards some aspects of the decision. Example: While opting to donate in charitable institutions, people would match the amount but choose a charity of their own preference.

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Social norms

People tend to conform to behaviors that are common among other people, even when they know that those people did not make their choices freely, and when the decision does not mirror their own desi...

Common reasons for conforming
  • One common explanation: we that if everyone else is choosing to do one thing, it is probably a good thing to do.
  • Another common explanation: we fear that failing to follow a norm may have negative social consequences.
The self-categorization theory

The idea of the self-categorization theory is that people conform to the norms of certain social groups whenever they have a personal desire to feel like they belong.

It is irrelevant whether a norm reflects people's preference, as long as the behavior is associated with the group.

How craving are stimulated artificially
How craving are stimulated artificially
  • Salivary response: the more a food causes you to salivate, the more it will cover your taste buds.
  • Rapid food meltdown: this tells your brain tha...
Building better habits means changing your environment

Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But your environment has an incredible ability to shape your behavior.

Nowhere is this more true than with food.

The reasons we crave junk food
  1. The sensation of eating the food: what it tastes like, what it smells like and how it feels in your mouth.
  2. The blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that it contains: junk food companies are looking for a perfect combination, that excites your brain and gets you coming back for more.
Cautious mindset vs. an adventurous mindset
  • When choosing for ourselves, we focus more on a granular level, something we describe as a cautious mindset.
  • When it came to deciding for...
A different mindset when choosing for others

We adopt an adventurous mindset that stands in contrast to the more cautious mindset that rears when people make their own choices.

We see the best solution with clarity and a decisiveness that is often absent when we face our own dilemmas.

Taking an outside perspective

We should work to distance ourselves from our own problems by adopting a fly-on-the-wall perspective and act as our own advisors.

Another distancing technique is to pretend that our decision is someone else's and visualize it from his or her perspective. By imagining how someone else would tackle your problem, people may unwittingly help themselves.