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Decison time...

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Paolo
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Joined: September 13th, 2008, 9:15 am

Decison time...

#1 Postby Paolo » February 4th, 2009, 4:45 pm

I'm interested in animal behaviour, which tends to revolve around decisions that will aid survival or increase mating opportunities.

I'm sure people have similar ways of making the minor decisions in their day-day lives (although with the addition of cultural status as a guiding principle). Let's face it, few of us carry out properly controlled experiments to make an informed decision about which brand of toothpaste to buy or which particular loaf of bread we pick up.

Some decisions are obviously constrained by availability or affordability - these are factors we have little control over, but other factors might include familiarity, health impact, cravings, advertising, recommendations or reviews, special offers, smell, appearance or ethics (I'm not buying that even if it is cheap and organic because it's from Israel...).

When you make a choice about the basics, what is it based on? Has your method of decision-making changed as you've become older or your circumstances have changed?

(This is less sciency that I originally intended - perhaps it could be moved?)

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Nick
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Re: Decison time...

#2 Postby Nick » February 4th, 2009, 7:41 pm

Paolo wrote:I'm interested in animal behaviour, which tends to revolve around decisions that will aid survival or increase mating opportunities.

Speaking as an animal, I have singularly failed to increase mating opportunities, but at least I am still here. :D

More seriously, I think we need to be steered a bit on what you mean by 'basics'. Narrow the field, and it will be easier to respond.

Also, I think there are a lot factors in our decision making, some of them counter-intuitve. For example, why do all cultures pursue patterns of feast and famine? Eating and drinking to excess on certain occasions, when food is in general scarce. The idea that each purchase is based on some innate concept of 'marginal utility' should be disregarded. Likewise, what makes one happy may follow the same pattern. Instant gratification does not work, and sometimes less is more.

An influential book for me was "The Joyless Economy" by Tibor Skitovsky, which relates economics to psychology, upon which, he says, economics is ultimately based. (Hmmm. Perhaps psychology is itself based on evolutionary biology....) I haven't read it for over 10 years, and it was published over 30 years ago, so maybe things have moved on. Maybe there are some reviews on Amazon which may shed some light on this issue.

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Paolo
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Re: Decison time...

#3 Postby Paolo » February 5th, 2009, 7:54 am

To be honest, all decision making is of interest. The process by which we make a choice between any variety of options.

For big decisions (whether to buy a certain house, get married, change career) the process probably tends to be more explicitly analytical, with considerable awareness of the decision making process. For smaller decisions (which toothpaste, which pub to visit, tea or coffee) the decision making process still occurs, but generally without as much consideration and possibly without a conscious awareness of the process being implemented.

Some people are very decisive whilst others spend ages over a simple choice. Why is that? I'm interested to see how others approach the decision making process and why they think they go about it in the way that they do.

E.g. Going to a event that requires smart dress, you want to make a good impression, there is a slog to get there and it's muddy and wet outside. Do you wear your smart shoes to get there, wear boots for the whole evening or do you wear boots there and change into shoes? Why?

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lewist
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Re: Decison time...

#4 Postby lewist » February 5th, 2009, 9:36 am

The small decisions for me tend to be a matter of habit. For toothpaste my preference is Arm & Hammer and it is not seen in many places so if I see it somewhere I tend to buy some. If I am buying bread I look for ready sliced wholemeal which is convenient in the freezer or for rolls I buy Harry Gow's of Inverness because they are so good.

When it comes to the big decisions, Maureen and I were always very rational and wrote out lists of pros and cons including the question of whether we could afford it. At one time we even used the mathematical formulae I learned in decision theory in University psychology. Additionally we asked ourselves, does it say 'buy me'? So we took both reason and emotion into account in the process. We also reached an agreement that there would be no rueing the day. We made our decisions together and we would stick with them. If it turned out to be a terrible mistake we could always undo it somehow.

I don't know how I do it now. Decision making on your own is really hard.

I try to avoid events that need smart dress. I would probably hope to just wear the smart shoes on the basis that if people were to be impressed by my shoes rather than by my self, then damn them, they're not my kind of people anyway if a bit of mud on my shoes would influence their opinion of me.
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Oxfordrocks
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Re: Decison time...

#5 Postby Oxfordrocks » February 5th, 2009, 9:01 pm

I find that as I get older, more decsions are made as a response to what someone else needs.

The boss, the wife (the real boss), my boy, my parents all have first choice on my time.
There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating staying in EU.

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of staying in the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens will be caused by leaving EU?
3. Should the supreme court ruling on British subjects be based in UK?

Maria Mac
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Re: Decison time...

#6 Postby Maria Mac » February 6th, 2009, 2:43 pm

Paolo wrote:E.g. Going to a event that requires smart dress, you want to make a good impression, there is a slog to get there and it's muddy and wet outside. Do you wear your smart shoes to get there, wear boots for the whole evening or do you wear boots there and change into shoes? Why?

This one's a no brainer for me. If it requires smart dress and I want to make a good impression then I take my smart shoes in a bag and change into them when I get there.

Two big decisions made in the last year:

I decided to replace my car (a Renault Clio), which I'd brought new 11 years previously. It was in good nick but I knew that the older it got the more I'd be spending on repair. But a bigger factor was that I was fed up with not having powered steering or electric windows and a number of other luxuries that my husband's car had. I just didn't enjoy driving it any more. A third factor was that I had the money and could afford to buy another new car outright. If I'd had to faff around finding a finance deal, I probably would've chosen to run the car into the ground before finding a new one.

I initially decided to buy a new car in February before the tax/MOT needed renewing. But then I found I couldn't decide which car to buy. There was just too much information about too many cars to absorb in the few weeks I had available so I decided to just get the MOT done and paid for six months road tax, resolving to have a decision made by the end of August. I then didn't think about the issue much until July but by that time, by some unconscious process I didn't understand, I had mentally eliminated the vast majority of possible cars and focussed on just two (Yaris and Micra) that really attracted me and then it was the price that pushed me in favour of the Micra.

Then it came to choosing a colour. To get the best possible deal the car would have to be either rust or lilac and have a 1.2 engine. I was sent to look at a row of these cars and choose. I hated both colours. Then I saw a black one with a 1.4 engine - bigger than I needed and this was reflected in a higher price - but there was no doubt in my mind that the black one was the one I had to have. I've not regretted it for a moment and, whenever I see one of those ghastly rust or lilac Micras, I thank my stars that I'm not driving around in one of them. (Apologies to anyone who actually chose one of their own free will but you need your eyes testing).

The other big decision I - or rather we - made last year was for my husband to chuck in his well paid job and for us both to leave his house and move 400 miles away to the house I own in London and to look for new jobs there.

Reasons: the only thing keeping us in Glasgow was Alan's job, which he had been unhappy in for a long time. A major reason for our being in Scotland was our involvement in the local humanist organisation but this had come to an end and we had washed our hands of it. This isn't to say that there weren't some good things about Glasgow - there were a few, including my volunteer work and our good social life - but these were outweighed by the horrible things, which included where we lived (a modern housing estate with unfriendly neighbours), the weather and the distance from my children and from Alan's mother, who lives in the Midlands. We would have happily moved to any city that was closer to our family members but where there was a reasonable prospect of finding work but London is the place I have a house so that decision was made for us. No regrets so far.

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Alan H
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Re: Decison time...

#7 Postby Alan H » February 6th, 2009, 2:50 pm

Maria wrote:It was in good nick...
:laughter:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Maria Mac
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Re: Decison time...

#8 Postby Maria Mac » February 6th, 2009, 3:03 pm

Alan H wrote:
Maria wrote:It was in good nick...
:laughter:


:cross: I meant mechanically. Having a bit of rust, a leaky sunroof, wipers that didn't park and missing handle for the window-winder didn't bother me that much.

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Alan C.
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Re: Decison time...

#9 Postby Alan C. » February 6th, 2009, 4:30 pm

:pointlaugh:
I'm more impulsive than most folk, I decided to change my car last March, a four year old Citroen C3, I didn't want to have to start forking out for brakes, exhaust, tyres etc.
I took it up to the garage where I'd bought it to see about a trade in, and John (the garage owner) said "I've got a blue one somebody ordered and gave back word on" I would have liked another silver one, but I just thought ........Yeh OK I can live with blue, and I won't have to wait for one to be delivered, so now I have a blue Citroen C3 :smile:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.


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