Through fascinating case studies, anecdotes and research, Ariely’s newest book lays bare all of those little (and big) things that people do when no one is looking. Most of us think of ourselves as decent folk, but given the right set of circumstances, a truly honest person is one in a million.
In today’s guest blog post, Ariely presents a fascinating story about how Israeli judges’ moods affected their rulings—a scary look at just how little we know about what makes us behave the way we do:
One theory in decision making that we are beginning to understand better, Depletion Theory, holds that our ability to make any type of difficult decision is adversely affected by fatigue. In most of our day to day lives, being tired at the end of a long work day doesn’t lead to too many terrible decisions, maybe a candy bar here or there, or fast food when we should go for a salad. However, sometimes the consequences are more significant.
Consider the dramatic results of a recent study by Shai Danziger, Jonathan Levav, and Liora Avnim-Pesso, who investigated a large set of parole rulings of judges in Israeli courts. Their conclusion is striking. They discovered that judges systematically grant parole more frequently when they are most refreshed at the beginning of the day. After that, their decisions change and the likelihood of granting parole drops as the number of decisions they make goes up. But the effect is not the same across the whole day — after their lunch break they get some extra energy that rejuvenates them and their decisions look much more like the ones they made early in the day.
It seems that the cognitive burden of making these difficult moral decisions builds in a way that over time it becomes easier to simply accept the conservative, status quo decision not to grant parole.
A free sample excerpt from this book is available for download on the product page now!
NOOK owners: go to shop and search for “Dan Ariely” to download his thought-provoking bestsellers.
You must be a registered user to add a comment here. If you've already registered, please log in. If you haven't registered yet, please register and log in.