Science magazine is the US of A’s top tier journal for disseminating human knowledge.
From some Australians, this article claims insights into human behavior that can “help conservation.” It would certainly be good if it were true. But I’m not even sure these insights are solid. One of my concerns is that these insights can help big brother manipulate us more easily.
In order of appearance in the article, they are:
- People have a strong tendency to avoid making difficult decisions, and as a result, they are prone to accepting whatever default option they are presented with—even when this option is not in their own, or society’s, best interest.
- People also have a cognitive bias that causes them to disproportionately weight initial information when making decisions.
- … there is a cognitive bias that causes people to perceive that losses hurt about twice as much as gains feel good, often referred to as loss aversion or prospect theory.
- The decoy effect is the phenomenon that people tend to change their preference between two options when presented with a third option that is meant to be inferior in some regard (a decoy).
- [We have an] … innate desire for prestige, reputation, conformity, and reciprocity … [so that our] … decisions and actions are shaped by perceptions (whether accurate or not) of what other people do and what they approve. For instance, some utilities reduced consumption by reporting comparisons between the usage rates of the customer, their neighbors, and the most efficient users.
- People also behave differently when they think they are being observed.
- [Finally,] … we are also influenced by the source of our information … [like] popular actors, athletes, or public figures.
(article – not paywalled: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6417/889.full)