Distinction Bias: Why You Make Terrible Life Choices

Psychologists have honed in on one reason that some of us knee-jerk ourselves unwittingly into some poor decisions. Most of us like to compare items, when we are trying to decide between alternative, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. Most of us know how to make a decision between A and B, based on the data. So, if we have the option to have apple pie, or Indian pudding for desert, we can assert with conviction that we prefer one over the other. The problem that rears its ugly head is that sometimes the comparison is a numerical distinction and we do not have idea one, as humans, how to decide if, say a 70 foot yacht, or a 90 foot yacht, is going to lead to a better yachting experience. So, what normally happens, unless we have a great reason to filter past the numerical data, say a budgeting constraint, we simply knee-jerk our way to picking the one that’s bigger, which is not particularly smart of us. Knowing we do this, however, means that we can prepare for it by comparing things separately, not side by side and by remembering that happiness has little to do with numbers, higher or lower, and everything to do with stability and a baseline of being in a day to day pleasant mode.

Reflect on these key points:

  • 1Psychologists believe that humans make choices while in comparative mode and experience our choice in action while in experiential mode.
  • 2Humans are very poor at making side by side comparisons that are based on a quantitative analysis.
  • 3Knowing this, it’s best to consider examining choices separately and not side by side.

“In comparison mode, we’re pretty good and deciding between qualitative differences. For example, we know that an interesting job is better than a boring one or that being able to walk to work is better than having to suffer driving in rush hour traffic.”

Read the full story: https://www.nirandfar.com/2018/02/distinction-bias.html