Right Under Your Nose

Posted on August 22, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

kh1.jpg

OVERSIMPLIFYING DECISION MODELS

Losing your keys is rough, especially when you are in a hurry. Where are some of the first places you look? Probably places that readily come to your memory: the kitchen table, the desk, etc. What you do not take into account are other factors that can complicate the situation. For instance, when you came home, you put your keys on the nightstand next to the window, but the window was open and the wind blew your keys under your bed. Unfortunately, under the bed was the last place you looked.

This scenario illustrates how we often make decisions by absorbing the simplest model possible without taking into account other variables and alternatives. In Robert Jervis’ article, The Drunkard’s Search, he concluded, “the cost of gathering and processing information needs to be taken into account by any intelligent decision maker. But the pattern cannot be entirely explained by the rational search for and use of information…the use of simple benchmarks and analogies are manageable but inappropriate.” (p. 270).

Jervis discussed how people do not often consider possible alternatives before making a decision; that we may forget to account for changing conditions (the window) and how they might effect the decision. He also states that we use a linear spectrum when evaluating past decisions to compare to present ones. Decisions are either good or bad, which usually equates to a success or failure. “Use of this measure does not seem to be restricted to situations where it fits.” (p. 261). We cannot use this measure correctly because comparing past decisions with present ones does not help the present situation; this is due to the fact that the variables and alternatives will always be different.

When we only look at alternatives in front of us, we pick out important information but do not combine it with others. “To say the right hand does not pay attention to what the left hand is doing is not quite accurate: rather the right hand does not pay any attention to the implications of the left hand’s activities.” (p. 265).

 

Text Credit: Jervis, Robert, The Drunkard’s Search, Political Psychology, 2004. pp. 259-270.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=9255471&size=m

Advertisements

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Recently on Analyzing Decisions…

Hi-Tech but out of Luck

Posted on August 20, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Touch-ups

Posted on August 11, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Cliffhanger

Posted on August 11, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Making the Grade

Posted on August 9, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Cleaning up the Attic

Posted on August 7, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Doctoring Decisions

Posted on August 7, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Chance of Showers and Decisions

Posted on August 6, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Luck be a Lady

Posted on August 3, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Who Knows

Posted on August 2, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...