Some talks I found really interesting from TED. I thought I would “blog” about them, that is, make notes for myself.
Notes from the video:
- People tend to cheat more when they see others in their own group cheating. The experiment had students at a unversity solving math problems and one acting student would stand up early and say that they were done. If that student wore a sweatshirt from the same university as everyone else the cheating went up — it made the group more prone to cheat. If the student wore a sweatshirt that was from a different university he was percieved as an outsider and so the other students worked harder and were less prone to cheat (maybe prideful — they don’t want to be beat by an outsider).
- Our intuitions about what is right and wrong are usually wrong. We tend not to take into account the other side of what’s happening (stepping out of our shoes).
- People tend to cheat more when they are far removed from the thing they are cheating for. For instance an experiment where students were given 20 math problems to solve, those who solved the problems, tore up the paper, and traded the paper and told the proctor how many questions they had solved for tokens. They could then take the tokens and trade it for money. People taking the test for tokens would cheat a little more than those cheating for dollars directly. A metaphor for how the Stock Market works.
- People cheated less when their morality was taken into account. Before given a test, if they had to sign something stating that they wouldn’t cheat, then they were less prone to cheating.
Are we really in control of our own decisions?
What was learned:
- Given a choice between going for an all-expenses paid trip to Rome or an all-expenses paid trip to Paris, if a third option of an all-expenses paid trip to Rome minus coffee was added to the choices, the all-expenses paid trip to Rome would seem like the more superior choice.
- Another example showed different faces, a somewhat handsome face of a man named Tom and a much more handsome face of someone named Jerry. In two different experimental sets a third option was added a Tom-Prime or Jerry-Prime, which were a slightly uglier version of Tom or Jerry. With the third option, based on whether Tom-Prime or Jerry-Prime was the third option, the original Tom or Jerry would appear more attractive.
- Another example is the Economist. They had three options on their website for subscriptions. One was 59 dollars for a web subscription, 125 dollars for a print subscription, and then 125 dolalrs for both print and web subscriptions. When the combo subscription was removed more people choose the cheaper subscription (web) and when it was available more people bought the combo one because they percieved it as a better deal.
- Our rational decision making is influenced by the way our choices are presented to us. We don’t know, or are conscious of, what are preferences are.
- An example was shown for the number of organ donors in various European countries. Some people upon looking on the chart might assume that it is a cultural thing, but it really is how the DMV of each country designs the form questions. In some countries the question for organ donorship is asked as “please check this if you do want to donate organs” and nobody checks it. In other countries like France and Sweden, the question is phrased as “please check this if you do not want to donate organs” and nobody checks it and the country has a higher percentage of organ donorship.