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Analyzing Behavior on a personal level

Having seen in class how popular consensus and societal pressure shaped people’s decision making, I was intrigued to find this article detailing how individual decision making is analyzed. This article describes how people fall into two types of categories: the maximizers and the satisficers. The article also asserts that it’s better to make a decision that is irreversible than to have the option of returning the object. I thought that these two subjects would be an interesting topic to analyze in conjunction with what we have learned in class.

Psychologists claim that there are two types of decision-makers: amaximizers, and satisficers. Maximizers are concerned with making the very best decision, while satisficers, know what they want, and once they find a feasible option or alternative that satisfies their needs they pick that and move on. The article describes it thus:  “it is  a  “nothing but the best” versus an “eh, good enough” mind-set”.  Research has shown that satisficers  tend to be happier with their choices than maximizers. This would make sense because maximizers spend so much more time debating their decision that after they make it, they tend to have regrets about the alternatives that they discarded.  A prime example is graduating college students. Maximimizers tended to get on average better paying jobs than the satisficers who weren’t as selective but the maximizers were often racked with regret or indecision after turning down their alternative offers.

The other facet of this article discusses levels of happiness pertaining to whether purchases were irreversible. Research shows that although people tend to think they’ll prefer reversible decisions, irreversible decisions usually lead to greater happiness down the road. The article refers to a study described thus: ” students were told to pick out a poster to take home; some of them were told they could change their minds and swap the poster for a different one within 30 days, while others were told their decision was final. This makes sense because those who are forced to make a final decision ponder less about the alternatives because doing so will not result in a betterment of their situation while those who can return their posters will speculate constantly about what options are better.

The article concludes that the best situation for a person about to make a decision is to identify what type of decision maker they are before making purchases. This is a smart, but imprecise tactic, but it would be interesting to perhaps see this topic broached one day in class.




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November 2015