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relativity and immediate gratification

8 years ago52 views

Transcript Most people believe that the inherent need to satisfy immediate gratification stems from greed, a lack of self control, or the ability to sacrifice a smaller short term gain for a greater long term gain. While I agree, I also think that some of our short sighted decisions stem from the natural way we compare alternatives in the decision making process. In fact I think the real cause of immediate gratification can be found in this picture from Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational". Which of the darker dots is larger? In this illusion it looks as though the dot on the left is larger. If we do a quick measure, we can easily see that the dots are in fact the same size. Even with this newly minted knowledge if we loose the ruler, our eyes go back to seeing the dot on the left as being larger. The problem is relativity. As Ariely states, "our natural tendency is to compare things that are easily comparable-- and avoid comparing things are not easily compared." So how does this apply to immediate gratification? Just as our eyes can be tricked by visual illusions, our mind can be tricked by cognitive illusions. A great example of a cognitive illusion is my slightly modified example from "Predictably Irrational". It is an illusion I have fallen for many times before. Suppose you are standing in line at the market getting ready to check out with your fancy $15 toothbrush when the person in front of you turns around and tells you that across town, the same toothbrush is on sale for $7. You get out of line, hop in your car, and drive 20 minutes across town to get your toothbrush on sale for $7. The next week you are at the suit store. You are standing in line ready to check out with your $500 suit when the person in front of you tells you that across town they have the same suit on sale for $492. You think to yourself $8 off a $500 suit that's not worth the 20 minute drive, so you stay in line and buy your suit. Aha! You have fallen for the cognitive illusion! How come you were willing to drive 20 ...

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