Great, great paper on the influence of psychological states of uncertainty on people’s decision making (“Uncertainty Increases the Reliance on Affect in Decisions”, Faraji-Rad, A.; & Pham, M. T. (2017), Journal of Consumer Research, 44 (1): 1-21). In a nutshell: Under uncertainty, people rely on affect/emotions. Relevant for social marketers and/or behavioral designers dealing with issues such as climate change and health prevention.
Everyone properly trained in the system dynamics method quickly perceive the wisdom in this illustrative article published in the Harvard Business Review (Linear thinking in a nonlinear world).
I reproduced below one of the figures that illustrate the article. The insight conveyed by the figure is usually absent even in the best papers and books that deal with important concepts like satisfaction and attitude. In the example, behavior does not reflect in a linear fashion the concern with the environment. On the contrary, in the specific case extreme positive concern is responsible for the most relevant behaviors.
Behavior change specialists may benefit their programs if they give special attention to the people behind extreme positive ratings given on attitudinal surveys. Those people tend to be champions of causes and early innovators. Given adequate conditions, they will propagate behavior change and social causes. They will also perform word-of-mouth, converting new people in the process.
The HBR piece illustrates the risks of adopting the naturally occurring linear thinking in dealing with a myriad of complex problems posed by modern world. Climate change is the prime example. It risks reaching a tipping point — the point of no return — in a few decades, but we still act as if the underlying phenomena were linear and reversible.
I decided two months ago to participate in a street run only to put myself into action mode again. The last time I participated in one of such runs was about 9 years ago.
The trick worked: it broke the strong inertia that used to overcome my best intentions every time I thought of exercising again. I was worried about not finishing the run. Two months later I am on full exercise mode and have shed half of the pounds I wanted to. But the day came for the street run (today)… And it was cold and to add insult to injury I had a very bad night of sleep.
Remembering the sunk cost fallacy (thank you, behavioral economics!) I skipped the run. The sunk cost fallacy is the tendency to stick to previous commitments of time or money independently of current prospects of costs and benefits. Rationally, no one should stick to those commitment if, under current conditions, one would not decide in favor of performing the action (think with me: would you run in my conditions if you had not payed before for it?) .
However, what is important is this single point: The decoy worked.
Behavioral economics seems to have reached that point where, according to Thomas Kuhn’s theory, paradigms face puzzles they can’t explain and anomalies start to pile up. Attacks come from evolutionary psychologists and thinkers from other fields. I think the main point for social marketers is a criticism that has been croppinp up in such attacks: that real social problems demand much more than simple nudges. It is easier to push for more efficient vehicles, but what about the more efficient tax on carbon? (This is a point made by the great BE George Loewenstein who claims that BE is not a substitute for mainstrem economics). This is why I became a fan of systems modelling. To create social change we must identify the real leverage points of change. BE solutions often obfuscates them.
Essa é uma lista de 58 vieses que nos acometem nas pequenas e grandes decisões que tomamos, na forma como funcionamos no cotidiano. A lista nem está completa, faltam alguns vieses importantes. O mais impressionante disso tudo é que nós não percebemos que somos sujeitos a ele (o que, por si só é um viés, o bias blind spot).
Vieses cognitivos são o ganha-pão da economia comportamental, ramo do conhecimento que nasceu da psicologia e que gerou um prêmio Nobel (de economia) a seus fundadores.
Vieses cognitivos afligem a gestão das organizações de forma poderosa e imperceptível. As consequências costumam ser sérias. Apenas recentemente a Administração passou a prestar atenção nisso. Porém, ainda contam-se nos dedos as soluções gerencias (“reparos cognitivos”) para lidar com eles.
Não se espantem se perceberem que os erros se repetem na gestão das organizações que nos afetam. Não apenas se repetem, como se repetem da mesma maneira, isto é, são sistemáticos. É importante prestarmos atenção a influências sistêmicas e situacionais. O problema raramente são as pessoas.
We look to reality to confirm our beliefs. It is automatic, you cannot control it. We navigate the world looking for patterns that match our expectations and beliefs. Worse: We treat the disconfirming information in a way similar to how witches were “judged” during the incredible witch-craze that took place a few centuries ago (and represents one of several stains in mankind’s history.) Women accused of being witches often were subjected to what was known as the “cold water test”: they were thrown into a lake, for instance. If they floated, this was the “proof” they were witches and death by burning or hanging was their destiny. If somehow they did not float, they were considered innocent, but often they drowned and died anyway*. So a similar process occurs when we face some information that we don’t like or that disconfirms our mental models: We make sure (automatically) it will face a biased evaluation that eventually will kill it. There is plenty of scientific evidence showing this process in action. This is one of the human paradoxes we have to live with.
* Trevor-Roper, H. R. (1968). The European Witch-Craze of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries and Other Essays.
Você, como 99,9% dos seres humanos, sofre procrastinando seus projetos? Que tal experimentar as dicas a seguir, baseadas em conhecimento científico sólido? São 10 dicas práticas e muito boas. Clique aqui (PsyBlog).
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” Upton Sinclair, escritor, falando de um fenômeno que viria a ser conhecido na literatura de psicologia social como viés de confirmação, self-serving bias ou my side bias, dependendo do caso. O fenômeno é mais poderoso na medida em que essa influência ocorre basicamente de forma automática e não consciente.