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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - What You Do, And What It Means

6 Pages

Course Code
PSYC 215
Michael Sullivan

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Chapter 4 ChoicesActionsThe Self in ControlWhat You Do and What It MeansSkinnerian behaviourism an approach that emphasized learning from reward and punishment as the main cause of behaviour and that dominated psychology in the 1950s and 1960so Failed to provide a satisfactory account of human behaviour precisely because of its failure to deal with meaningHuman behaviour often guided by ideas which is to say that it depends on meaningCulture network of meaning and human beings who live in culture act based on meaning that is what makes them different from other animals Meaning depends on language and is therefore learned only through culture Thinking enables people to make use of meaning o Basic uses of thought perform actions mentally before doing them physicallyo Just imagining a good outcome isnt as effective as imagining yourself doing all the hard work to produce the success Making choices o Two steps of choosing1 Whittling the full range of choices down to a limited fewdone quicklyRisk potentially good choice will be rejected without careful consideration2 Careful comparison of the highlighted optionMental costbenefit analysis for each optionPeople often less than fully rational and their decisions are subject to biases errors and other influences o Error management theory the idea that both men and women seek to minimize the most costly type of error but that mens and womens goals and hence worst errors differ o Influences on choiceMajor patters that guide peoples choices1 Risk aversion people more affected by possible losses than by possible gainso Rational bets ones that conform to what expert statistical risk appraisal would dictate o People were often rational but when irrational their irrational behaviour geared toward avoiding losses more often than pursuing gains2 Temporal discounting greater weight give into the present over the future3 Certainty effect greater weight given to definite outcomes than to probabilities o People tend to put undue weight on things that are certain4 Keeping options open some people prefer to postpone hard decisions and keep options open as long as possibleWhy people dont choose o Status quo bias the preference to keep things the way they are rather than change o Omission bias the tendency to take whatever course of action doesnt require you to do anything default option o Anticipated regret people avoid making choices and taking action they fear they will regret later People anticipate less regret over doing nothing than over doing something Greater risk of regret if you decide to change than if you stand pato Some decisions become too difficult Too many optionspeople dont choose anythingOther researchers say oppositetoo few options people dont choose anythingNEED MORE RESEARCH ON THIS o 2 reasons for failing to make a selection from a group of options1 None of the options seems good enoughMore and more options it is less and less plausible that none is good enough 2 Hard to tell which one is besto ReactanceReactance theory the idea that people are distressed by loss of freedom or options and seek to reclaim or reassert themReactancenegative feelings people have when their freedom is reduced 3 main consequences 1 Makes you want the forbidden option more andor makes it seem more attractive 2 May make you take steps to try and reclaim the lost optiono reasserting your freedom3 May feel or act aggressively toward the person who has restricted your freedom
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