February 29, 2012

Decision–making requires a lot of thinking…

Decision-making..it is tougher than I thought it to be. We learnt in class how most of us use our System-1 in making the imporant decisions in life. Is it good? Forget it being good, it is awfully horrendous. According to so many studies, we are deceived by our eyes, by our ears, by our understanding of quantative methods, probability and even logic. Our systems-1, our intutive being cannot be trusted. It is really unreliable. People can play so many games with you and it is possible to make someone see something, make him hear something; it is just funny and very surprising how easy it is to manipulate thinking, visuals, hearing,etc. of someone. Yes, they are not always wrong and we should trust them more often than not, but to take important decisions, well hell no. We need to have to fall back on our systems-2 thinking for making decision. We need to follow so many logical steps to arrive at an important decision. We need to have a proper mechanism which we should follow and critically evaluate our options against one another to reach to a certain decision.

Even then, there are so many biases that we are suffering from. We suffer from these biases even when we know about them and somehow just cant do anything about them. We are biased towards issues that we have heard of. We try to recall the information we have heard about a certain topic and tend to take decision on it based on any small bit of information we have about it without going into its roots or trying to find out everything related to that situation. We even take decisions based on our moods which is far from being logical and represents mood congruent bias. We sometimes decide on a certain situation based on our past experiences without taking into account whether better choices are avilable right now or has the situation changed in any way. There are so many more these kind of biases and they all just lead to sub-optimal decisions. We need to be careful of them while getting to any decision.

And then there are fallacies that we need to be careful of. They are just arguments people have based on baseless facts without any proper data or proof to back them and is more often than not an individual's point of view that is itself biased. People tend to argue against certain points based on the person that is proposing that issue, using colourful language to try and make people against it, stating baseless points against it in different ways, restating the same baseless points in a loud tone,etc. These are just certain ways that people try arguing about topics. We need to be careful of such arguments and make our decision with no influences from these sort of arguments.

So, we can see that there are just so many points to consider when we take a decision and there are just countless opportunites where one can go wrong and may be influenced in any manner. We should learn to keep our minds unbiased while coming to any decision having researched properly about the subject in a logical way. It is only then one can aspire to take the optimal decision. Even if I think of taking any decision in the past, I find myself suffering from so many biases and would have really changed atleast the approach to come out with a decsion if not the decsion altogether. It is the approach you take to come to a decsion is what matters and is important to come to the most optimal choice.

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