Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why People Cheat and Steal

Aquatint of a Doctor of Divinity at the Univer...Image via Wikipedia

Professor Dan Ariely grew up in Israel and holds degrees in many discipline including Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and Business. He currently teaches Behavioral Economics in Duke University while also holding an appointment at MIT media lab where he is the heads the eRationality research group.

He is author of many books. Most recent one is "Predicatably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions". He talks about our behavior that is anything but rational. Some of the topics are:

  • The Truth about Relativity: Why Everything Is Relative-Even When It Shouldn't Be
  • The Cost of Zero Cost: Why We Often Pay Too Much When We Pay Nothing
  • The Cost of Social Norms: Why We Are Happy to Do Things, but Not When We are Paid to Do Them
  • The Influence of Arousal: Why Hot Is Much Hotter Than We Realize
  • The High Price of Ownership:Why We Overvalue What We Have
There are thirteen chapters that describe our decision making habits that are very predictable but does not fit the rational model of decision making. He also highlights the empiricla research that supports all these predicatbly irrational decision making and behavior.

In a way it is good that finally researcher like him is putting real human back into research instead of some idealized human model that assumes that humans are rational decision making machines whose behavior is always directed by looking after the one's best inetest.

He also gave a talk at TED where he explains people's behavior that involves cheating and stealing. How people go about justifying such socially unacceptable behavior.


We are in a transition from modernity to post modernity. Hopefully the transition will use a more accurate model of human decision making and behavior compared to the one we use now.

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1 comment:

Mirela said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Ann


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