walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

what a really good book about decision making ought to explain

(1) A given society is made up of age-cohorts which will tend to think and act a lot like each other, with some identifiable subgroups. A given age-cohort will _not_ behave like the cohort ahead of or behind it, with some identifiable trends across multiple age-cohorts.

Ex. Depending on what decade you were born in, your base attitude towards credit and savings will fall within certain parameters.

(2) People have a lot of difficulty learning something that does not fit into their pre-existing set of
ideas about how things work. They first resist perceiving it, then resist believing it, and ultimately drag their heels about acting on it.

Ex. Free marketers are constantly surprised that regulations (a) do anything (b) useful. Pro-regulatory types tend to be surprised when regulations have net negative effects.

(3) People would rather believe it's someone else's fault, and therefore someone else's responsibility to make a change/pay damages/etc.

Ex. Pretty easy to go after smokestacks. Pretty hard to go after SUVs. Virtually impossible to return to walking everywhere/subsistence farming.

(4) The detailed, nitty-gritty circumstances of a life predict most (but not all) of a person's opinions in contentious debate.

Ex. If you live on the first floor, the falling leaves are a PITA to sweep. If you live on the second floor, the leaves are pretty, no work, and stop people looking in your windows. You don't have a view, so you don't lose anything. If you live on the third or fourth floor, the leaves interfere with your view, and you want those fuckers cut down or at least massively trimmed _now_. If you live across the street, you don't have to sweep the leaves, you like that the trees contribute to the aesthetics of your neighborhood, and you're very resistant to cutting the trees down and possibly replacing them. If you're the city arborist, you want to have nothing to do with this dispute. If you're on the board, you're tempted to put copper nails in the trunks to kill them without blame attaching to you specifically, because you're tired of hearing your neighbors argue. BUT any given person in the building might take any given view, independent of which floor they are on, especially if you're flat out opposed to killing trees under any circumstances, or really upset about what the roots are doing to the sidewalk in terms of increased trip hazard.

(5) What information people have available defines the possible conclusions they can come to. People can seek out information if it occurs to them to do so. They can interpolate from what they know, if they are inclined to do so (know how and make a habit of doing so). They can take in information which is presented to them. A large group of people with a lot on their collective minds are the natural prey of people who control the information passively presented to the group. Similarly, a large group of people with a lot of time on their hands are really, really, really hard to lead down the garden path. The passage of time can go either way.

Ex. La Leche League's creation and successful reintroduction of breastfeeding in mainstream US society.

(6) The treatment a person experienced early in life tends to set their expectations as to how people can be/are/should be treated. They can choose to counter this effect on their speech and actions, but that early treatment will color their feelings and thoughts, and an unexpected situation may trigger that past programming.

Ex. Going home for Thanksgiving dinner.

(7) The relatively recent past seems like the Dark Ages. Anything more distant than that is inconceivable.

Ex. No one can seriously discuss/plan reducing our fossil fuel consumption to 1970s levels.

There's so much more. But these are the one's I'd like to see covered.

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