Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Upside Of Irrationality: Chapter 4

Through a series of experiments, Dan Ariely documents the many ways in which humans behave irrationally. By understanding these human tendencies, we can both learn to behave more rationally when it is to our benefit, and better understand why those around us are behaving in the way they are.

We like ideas more when we are the ones who came up with them. This is not an easy tendency to test, but Ariely came up with an experiment that got participants to actually think they came up with an idea that he planted. When participants thought they had come up with an idea themselves, they gave the idea higher ratings.

This tendency may serve a useful purpose. It may give us a high level of commitment to our ideas, giving us the power to follow through and carry our ideas to the max. But the dark side is that we close our minds to better ideas, simply because we did not come up with them ourselves. Companies can fall into this trap as well, as many accept internally generated ideas as more useful than those from other, more successful companies.

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