Rational Man: D’oh!

Homer-Brain-X-Ray-the-simpsons-smallMänniskans vilja och förmåga att lura sig själv är en aldrig sinande källa av kreativiteten. Vi kan aldrig veta vad vi inte vet men vi tror alltid att vad vi vet är tillräckligt för att veta. För dig och mig är det komiska anekdoter men för samhället kan det få enorma konsekvenser. Shamanerna inom den ekonomiska vetenskapen grundar nämligen sina teorier på att vi vet, att vi är rationella, egoistiska och nyttomaximerande när vi fattar beslut. I en artikel i The Atlantic diskuteras en forskningsrapport av Daniel McFadden hur löjeväckande sådana påståenden är: The Irrational Consumer: Why Economics Is Dead Wrong About How We Make Choices

”Daniel McFadden is an economist. But his new paper, ”The New Science of Pleasure,” shows the many ways economics fails to explain how we make decisions — and what it can learn from psychology, anthropology, biology, and neurology.

The old economic theory of consumers says that ”people should relish choice.” And we do. Shopping can be fun, democracy is better than its alternatives, and a diverse and fully stocked grocery store ice cream freezer is quite nearly the closest thing to heaven on earth. But other fields of science tell a more complicated story. First, making a choice is physically exhausting, literally, so that somebody forced to make a number of decisions in a row is likely to get lazy and dumb. (That’s one reason why stores place candy near the check-out aisle: They suspect your brain is too zonked to resist.) Second, having too many choices can make us less likely to come to a conclusion. In a famous study of the so-called ”paradox of choice”, psychologists Mark Lepper and Sheena Iyengar found that customers presented with six jam varieties were more likely to buy one than customers offered a choice of 24.”

Dan Ariely och Nina Mazar listar på samma tema sex sätt vår hjärna lurar oss att fatta suboptimala, (läs skitdåliga) finansiella beslut: Six ways our brains make bad financial decisions

”We all do it: hold on to a stock when every indicator screams sell, or spend our entire bonus on a new car instead of paying off debt. A whole new area of science called behavioural economics, or BE – a blend of psychology, economics, finance and sociology – has sprung up to explain why. According to BE pioneer and Duke University professor Dan Ariely (author of the bestseller Predictably Irrational) and Rotman School of Management researcher Nina Mazar, our brains are hard-wired to choose short-term payoff over long-term gain. Here are six common mistakes investors make – and how to avoid them.”

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