guerillagirl – user experience designer

guerillagirl's (ux) design journal

Are we in control of our decisions?

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„We wake up in the morning and we open the closet; we feel that we decide what to wear. we open the refrigerator and we feel that we decide what to eat. What this is actually saying, is that many of these decisions are not residing within us. They are residing in the person who is designing that form. When you walk into the DMV, the person who designed the form will have a huge influence on what you’ll end up doing.“

Psychologist Dan Ariely talks about the irrationality in our decision making if we are not sure about something and why we are not the super-rational cost/benefit animal (aka Homo Oeconomicus) who is deciding by weighing up cost/benefit the rational way.

Below there are two screenshots which are taken from the talk above. The first one shows three choices. In an experiment, they put away the option nobody wanted. We can clearly see how the decision making then did change based on this little detail. This and the topic of the whole talk links very well to the concept of loss aversion – which comes from Prospect Theory – by the famous psychologists Kahneman and Tversky.

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