# PSYA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 23: Rationality, Venn Diagram

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Published on 26 Nov 2015
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PSYA01Lecture#23Thought
FreeWillandRationality
● Weoftenfeelasthoughthechoiceswemakeinlifearerationale
● Theyaretheresultofmentalcalculationsrelatedtothecostsandbenefitsofperforming
certainactions
● Thenotionthatwemakechoicesbymaximizingbenefitsandminimizingcostsiscalled
RationalChoiceTheory
● Thisnotionhasstrongtiestoethics,religion,andlaw
● Webelievethatsomechoicesare“wrong”andpunishthosewhomakethem…
● Althoughwemaysometimes(occasionally?)makechoicesinthisway,mostofthe
psychologicalevidencesuggestsourchoicesareoftenfarlessrationalthanwemight
liketothink
ShortcutstoRationality
● Theproblemis,truefulloutrationalthoughtishard(especiallywhenprobabilitiesare
involved!)
● Itinvolvestheconsiderationofmanyfactorsandhowtheymightinteracttodetermine
theimpactofcertainchoices
● Therefore,weuseshortcutsorheuristics
● Examples:
○ ComicThisiswhypeopleshouldlearnstatistics(Availability)
■ Panel1:Guysaying“Iwillnotflyinaplane!Theyaren’tsafefrom
terrorists!”
■ Panel2:Guyissayingthiswhiledrivingacarandspeakingonthephone
○ Venndiagram(Conjunction)
■ Circle1:Banktellers
■ Middle:Feministbanktellers
■ Circle2:Feminists
■ Lindais31yearsold;single,outspokenandverybright.InCollegeshe
majoredinPhilosophy.Asastudentshewasdeeplyconcernedwith
issuesofdiscriminationandsocialjustice,andsheparticipatedin
antinucleardemonstrations.Whichofthefollowingismorelikely(a)
Lindaisabankteller,or(b)Lindaisabanktellerandafeminist
Moral
● Truerationalthoughtishard,anditdoesn’tseemnaturalforhumans
● Oftenourdecisionsarenotbasedonrationalthought
● Whenwearerequiredtothinkrationally,whenwemustsolveproblemsforexample,we
relyheavilyonshortcutsandcontexttohelpus
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