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PSYCHOLOGY OF DECISION MAKING III. Dec 3, 2010. Agenda  Flow  Happiness  Luck  Economy  Simulator  Fear  Regret.

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Presentation on theme: "PSYCHOLOGY OF DECISION MAKING III. Dec 3, 2010. Agenda  Flow  Happiness  Luck  Economy  Simulator  Fear  Regret."— Presentation transcript:


2 Agenda  Flow  Happiness  Luck  Economy  Simulator  Fear  Regret

3 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  born September 29, 1934, in Fiume, Italy – now Croatia) is a Hungarian psychology professor, who emigrated to the United States at the age of 22. Now at Claremont Graduate University, he is the former head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago and of the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College.FiumeItalypsychologyClaremont Graduate UniversityUniversity of Chicago Lake Forest College  He is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity, but is best known as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic.happiness creativity flow  Csikszentmihalyi once said "Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason." [2] His works are influential and are widely cited. [3] [2] [3] SOURCE:

4 Flow  Historically, the remains of people’s lives or entire civilizations are the ecstatic products  Flow experience – observed across cultures  Completely involved, diminishes awareness of all else including body and ego  Activity is doable – often a long term training to gain sufficient expertise needed  Sense of ecstasy (to the side, unusual)  Great inner clarity  A sense of serenity – growing beyond the boundaries of own ego  Timelessnesss  Intrinsic motivation – work is its own purpose and reward SOURCE:

5 State of flow SOURCE:,

6 Martin Seligman  Martin Seligman founded the field of positive psychology in 2000, and has devoted his career since then to furthering the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions.positive psychology  In his pioneering work, Seligman directs the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, developing clinical tools and training the next generation of positive psychologists.Positive Psychology Center  His earlier work focused on perhaps the opposite state: learned helplessness, in which a person feels he or she is powerless to change a situation that is, in fact, changeable.learned helplessness  He was the leading consultant on a Consumer Reports study on long-term psychotherapy, and has developed several common pre-employment tests, including the Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ).Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ) SOURCE:

7 […] ”psychologists and psychiatrists became victimologists, pathologizers; that our view of human nature was that if you were in trouble, it meant bricks fell on you. And we forgot that people made choices and decisions. We forgot responsibility.” Martin Seligman SOURCE:

8 Happiness  The pleasant life (hedonistic)  Heritable  Habitual  The good life (positive emotion)  Pleasure vs. flow  The meaningful life (meaning)  Know your strengths  Use them in service of something larger than yourself SOURCE:

9 Five factors of authentic happiness  positive emotions,  engagement (zealousness),  meaning,  good relations, and  accomplishments (achievements) SOURCE:

10 What will make us lastingly happier?  Gratitude visit (300 words)  Strengths day (for couple, design evening when both use their strengths)  Do something philanthropic  Etc. SOURCE:

11 The luck factor  Maximize your chance opportunities  Strong network  Relaxed  Open to experiences  Listen to your lucky hunches  Listen to gut feelings  Boost intuition  Expect good fortune  Expect good luck in future  Attempt to achieve goals  Expect interactions to be successful  Turn your bad luck into good  See the positive of negative  Bad is good in long run  Not dwell on bad luck  Constructive steps to prevent bad luck SOURCE: Wiseman, R. The Luck Factor. Arrow books, 2003.

12 Richard Wiseman: Luck factor SOURCE:

13 Happiness and economic growth Economic growth and happiness. American's average buying power has almost tripled since the 1950s, while reported happiness has remained almost unchanged. (Happiness data from National Opinion Research Center General Social Survey; income data from Historical Statistics of the United States and Economic Indicators.) SOURCE:

14 Barry Schwartz  In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz tackles one of the great mysteries of modern life: Why is it that societies of great abundance — where individuals are offered more freedom and choice (personal, professional, material) than ever before — are now witnessing a near- epidemic of depression? Conventional wisdom tells us that greater choice is for the greater good, but Schwartz argues the opposite: He makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today's western world is actually making us miserable.The Paradox of Choice  Schwartz's previous research has addressed morality, decision-making and the varied inter-relationships between science and society. Before Paradox he published The Costs of Living, which traces the impact of free-market thinking on the explosion of consumerism -- and the effect of the new capitalism on social and cultural institutions that once operated above the market, such as medicine, sports, and the law.The Costs of Living  Both books level serious criticism of modern western society, illuminating the under-reported psychological plagues of our time. But they also offer con SOURCE:

15 Freedom of choice  Freedom to choose  Goods  Treatment  Gender  Identity  Work  Negative consequences  Paralyses (for every additional retirement fund offered participation decreases by 2%)  Decreased satisfaction  opportunity costs  Escalation of expectations  Internal responsibility SOURCE:

16 Dan Gilbert  Dan Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes -- and fool everyone's eyes in the same way -- Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.  The premise of his current research -- that our assumptions about what will make us happy are often wrong -- is supported with clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience. But his delivery is what sets him apart. His engaging -- and often hilarious -- style pokes fun at typical human behavior and invokes pop-culture references everyone can relate to. This winning style translates also to Gilbert's writing, which is lucid, approachable and laugh-out-loud funny. The immensely readable Stumbling on Happiness, published in 2006, became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages. In fact, the title of his book could be drawn from his own life. At 19, he was a high school dropout with dreams of writing science fiction. When a creative writing class at his community college was full, he enrolled in the only available course: psychology. He found his passion there, earned a doctorate in social psychology in 1985 at Princeton, and has since won a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Phi Beta Kappa teaching prize for his work at Harvard. He has written essays and articles for The New York Times, Time and even Starbucks, while continuing his research into happiness at his Hedonic Psychology Laboratory.Stumbling on HappinessStarbucksHedonic Psychology Laboratory SOURCE:

17 Bernoulli again  Bernoulli’s expected utility equation  Expected value = odds of gain * value of gain  Biases in estimating odds  Recognition  Representativeness etc.  Biases in estimating value  Previous experience rather than context  Loss aversion  Shifting comparisons  Now is better then later (shift in time comparison) SOURCE:

18 Evolutionary context  Prefrontal cortex  SIMULATE future experience  Impact bias  However we expect future experience to have more impact than it actually does  Different outcomes are more different than they are SOURCE:

19 Synthetic happiness  Not getting what we want makes us happy  Moreese Bickham, who said the following upon being released after 37 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit: "I don't have one minute's regret. It was a glorious experience.”  Inferior to “real” happiness?  Monet prints and amnesiacs  Freedom of choice is the enemy of synthetic happiness – but we don’t know it about ourselves! SOURCE:

20 Anticipatory regret  Experience taught us to avoid hasty decisions  Anticipatory regret serves to build a comprehensive balance sheet  As prerequisite requires capacity to delay gratification  Could lead to procrastination, even maladaptive excessive procrastination SOURCE: Janis, I.L., Mann, L. Decision-making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice and commitment. The Free Press, 1977.

21 Factors to avoid anticipatory regret  One predominant alternative  Illusion of no real choice, e.g. consulting with expert (doctor, lawyer etc.)  No immediate negative consequences  e.g. cigarette smoking  Low social importance  E.g. no disapproval upon changing choice  No additional information available  E.g. conspiracy of silence on negative consequences  Impatience of significant others  E.g. limited offers SOURCE: Janis, I.L., Mann, L. Decision-making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice and commitment. The Free Press, 1977.

22 Is there a “catch”?  Anticipatory regret involves those undesirable outcomes that are KNOWN to us and have a certain or uncertain probability of occurrence  There are also UNknown negative outcomes – the “catch” which are feared  Maladaptive responses – neurotic  Adaptive responses - inhibitor SOURCE: Janis, I.L., Mann, L. Decision-making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice and commitment. The Free Press, 1977.

23 Post-decisional conflict  Regret and related symptoms elicited by negative feedback or manifested spontaneously  Postdecisional conflict leads to  Defensive avoidance (procrastination, shifting responsibility, bolstering)  Hypervigilance  Vigilance  Effect of commitment  Cognitive dissonance SOURCE: Janis, I.L., Mann, L. Decision-making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice and commitment. The Free Press, 1977.

24 Resources            Wiseman, R. The Luck Factor. Arrow books, 2003.  Janis, I.L., Mann, L. Decision-making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice and commitment. The Free Press, 1977.

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