Fallacy of Obviousness, Dangers of Conformity and More

Although I am a huge fan of behavioral economics, I admit that I am guilty of observing human behavior from the lens of human blindness and bias. When something sparks your interest, you simply become occupied by the idea and become blind to other perspectives. Especially following Richard Thaler’s Nobel Prize in Economics, behavioral economics has really caught fire. This article highlights how the current focus on behavioral economic thinking is making us myopic. By reevaluating the infamous “Gorillas in our Midst” experiment, professor Teppo Felin expresses concerns over the current obsession with human blindness and underlines value in more fundamental characteristics of the human mind.

Bars around the world would have undoubtedly experienced a surge in profit as soccer fans around the world filled their seats to cheer on their respective national teams in the World Cup. The most tense yet exciting moment in soccer is when the two teams enter a penalty shootout to determine the final winner. In a recent study, researchers found that keepers exhibit a tendency to dive to the right in penalty shoot-outs, and this behavior might be linked to biological factors.

I find myself to be incredibly indecisive whenever I am given too many options. While economists may argue that more choice is better, many studies on the paradox of choice suggests otherwise. This irrational behavior is useful yet perplexing for businesses that want to satisfy consumer demands and sell the most products. Hence, retailers face the dilemma of how many choices consumers would prefer. A recent experiment that studied consumer behavior shines light on how the preference for the number of products change depending on whether the product is used for pleasure or for functional needs.

It is extremely easy to give in to pressure and stick to the social norm when faced with a decision. It is hard to speak up against the majority due to fear of rejection. However, research suggests that people should stop playing devil’s advocate and learn to voice out their opinions. In this interview with Charlan Nemeth, she explains the distinguishes the difference between diversity of demographics and the diversity of perspective along with comments on the importance of dissent in encouraging better decision making.

Social psychology is a branch that strives to seek answers to why people feel, think, and behave in certain ways and how such behaviors are affected by the influence of others. It is fundamentally a study of humans and our interaction with one another. However, many social psychology experiments are stirring away from methods that involve measuring actual behavior and opting for comparably easier and cost friendly methods such as questionnaires and surveys. This is troubling because our projected intentions often do not match our actual behaviors whether it may be due to inherent bias or influences of others. This article calls attention to this issue and suggests that perhaps a new incentive system to encourage more behavioral focused research should be created.

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