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Decision Making 6: Wrapping Up. I. Wrap up reason-based choice II. Happiness III. Review/Q&A. Reason-Based Choice: Review. The search for reasons to justify a decision can lead to systematic biases: 1) Preference Reversals 2) Choosing vs. Rejecting 3) Seeking Options

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Decision Making 6:

Wrapping Up

I. Wrap up reason-based choice

II. Happiness

III. Review/Q&A

Session 12


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Reason-Based Choice: Review

The search for reasons to justify a decision can lead to systematic biases:

1) Preference Reversals

2) Choosing vs. Rejecting

3) Seeking Options

4) Adding Options

5) Disjunction Effect

6) Non-valued Features

Session 12


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Happiness: Sources

The good news: 93% of people rate themselves “somewhat happy” to “extremely happy”

Researchers conceive of “happiness” as subjective well-being = cognitive (satisfaction) + affective (joy/happiness)

Session 12


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Happiness: Sources

Satisfaction is difficult to predict from objective variables such as income.

* Detroit housewives

* Between countries

This may be due to our tendency to rapidly adapt to changes

* lottery winners & accident victims (Brickman)

Sources of joy(Argyl, 1988/1992)

* social contacts/close relationships

* sexual activity

* success/achievement

* physical activity/exercise

* nature, reading, music

* food & drink

Session 12


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Happiness is Contructed

Judgments of happiness and satisfaction are, to a large extent, constructed on the spot.

1) our transitory mood affects these judgments

* weather

* present circumstances

2) very recent events/judgments influence judgments

* How often do you normally go out on a date? (Schwartz et al)

* social comparison (Fox & Kahneman)

* ruminating about other times & places

Session 12


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Predicting & Remembering Happiness

Prediction : most decisions require us to anticipate future utility (e.g., of consuming ice cream, taking particular job).

1) we are not very good at this task!

2) we tend to overweight changes

* are Californians happier? (Kahneman & Schkade)

Retrospection : we consume memories, and use this information to help guide prediction for future decisions.

1) Peak + change at end dominate

* ice baths, film clips, colonoscopies

2) Regrets color our experience

* silver medalists; short term vs. long-term

Session 12


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Strategies for a Happier Life

1) Consider your personal sources of joy, arrange your life to include more of them.

2) Cultivate a happy attitude:

a) Don’t make self-defeating comparisons (Lyubomirsky)

b) Don’t wallow in what you have lost (Keltner)

3) Learn to anticipate adaptation (Schkade)

4) Become a skilled consumer (Scitovsky)

* invest in learning (e.g., wine, jazz)

* more pleasures, fewer comforts

5) Just do it! (or else you will regret your inaction in the long run)

Session 12


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What should you take away from this course?

Alfred North Whitehead on teaching:

“Whatever be the detail with which you cram your students, the chance of their meeting in after-life exactly that detail is almost infinitesimal; and if they do meet it, they will probably have forgotten what you taught them about it….”

“The really useful training yields a comprehension of a few general principles with a thorough grounding in the way they apply to a variety of concrete details….”

“In subsequent practice the students will have forgotten your particular details; but they will remember by an unconscious common sense how to apply principles to immediate circumstances.”

Session 12


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