474 thinking, fast & slow 2013 upPresentation Transcript
Peffley, Political Psychology, PS 474
Israeli-American psychologist. With Amos Tversky and others, established a cognitive basis for behavioral decision theory, with a focus on common human errors using heuristics and biases, developed prospect theory, a more realistic alternative theory of decision-making than rational choice, based on reality and psychology. Awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his work in prospect theory. Used in many fields, including political science and law.
S1 and S2 Heuristics Prospect theory, framing and loss aversion
First, people are generally rational, and their thinking is normally sound. Second, emotions such as fear, affection, and hatred explain most of the occasions on which people depart from rationality.
What are the characteristics of System 1 & System 2 thinking? Dual processing models that go by different labels harken back to distinctions made by Descartes, Pascal, Hume, even Freud. System 1: Intuitive System 2: Deliberative Operate simultaneously: These two systems of thinking are not really two separate personalities but operate simultaneously. System 2’s role is to sometimes override System 1 thinking. Adaptive, imperfect. They are adaptive and have evolved to produce satisfactory (not optimal) judgments and decisions, that are also systematically flawed and error-prone. Big problem: At best we may recognize these limitations in others, but not ourselves.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SYSTEM 1? CHARACTERISTICS OF SYSTEM 2? Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, Slow, effortful, infrequent, deliberative, stereotypic, subconscious calculating, conscious Receives impressions, intuitions, intentions and Runs rapidly & automatically, outside feelings from S1. If S2 endorses them, they will be conscious awareness. converted into beliefs and actions. Purpose: continuously generates Unlike S1, S2 can follow rules, compare objects on suggestions for S2: impressions, several attributes, and make deliberate choices intuitions, intentions, and feelings between options. When is S2 mobilized? Can detect simple relations and can S2 is mobilized when a question arises for which S1 integrate information about one thing, does not offer an answer. but cannot deal with multiple distinct topics at once S2 is also in charge of impulse control. Because S2 is effortful, Cannot use statistical information We are often aware of it. Is it typically rational and hard-working? No: it operates according to the law of least effort, gravitating to the least demanding course of action to reach one’s goals. S2 requires attention and is disrupted when attention is drawn away.
A bat and ball cost $1.10. The bat costs one dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? Not only is S2 lazy, but it is also often wrong. Using S2 can be unpleasant because the nervous system (employed by S2) consumes more glucose than most other parts of the body. It is this ego depletion and discomfort experienced by S2 that leads us to be so cognitively lazy. How much does the ball cost? S2, given the responsibility of calculation, erroneously responds (10 cents), including more than 50% at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton. Correct answer: 5 cents. Law of Least Effort. If you answered 10 cents, your S2 endorsed an intuitive answer it could have checked with a little effort. If S2 was an actor, it would think (erroneously) that it was the star of the show.
Old school: Discrete memory stored in bins is harder to use and retrieve. New school: Associative networks organize connections between different nodes (beliefs, attitudes, emotions, behavioral intentions). “I am a Democrat” “Bush supports the war in Iraq,” “I don’t like Bush” “I support abortion rights,” “the war in Iraq makes me angry,” Darker lines indicate stronger linkages, activated more often and more accessible. A node moves into working memory either by exposure to the object OR because it is closely linked to an object of thought: milliseconds. Spreading activation: many nodes activated instantlyJane Q. Public’s mental representation ofthe political world, 2006.
After spending a day exploring beautiful sights in a crowded streets of New York, Jane discovered that her wallet was missing. In a recall test, the word “pickpocket” was more strongly associated with the story than the word “sights.” Why?
Reassemble scrambled sentences containing the following words: Florida, forgetful, bald, gray, wrinkled This is really an associative network effect Hold a pencil horizontally between your teeth (versus vertically, like a cigar) and read a comic strip When S2 is mobilized we feel strain
More limitations of S2: Attention
We have only a certain amount of attention to allocate. We can do multiple things at once if they are very easy, but not more than one thing at a time that requires effortful attention.
http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/videos.html We think we are seeing the world the same as everyone else does, but two people looking at exactly the same world can be seeing two different things at the same time. How valuable is eyewitness testimony? Kahneman Intense focusing can make people effectively blind! We can be blind to the obvious and we are blind to our blindness!
In view of what we know about S1 and S2 thinking, Downs’ rational choice theory: very unrealistic Simon: bounded rationality leads to satisficing & heuristics. Kahneman & Tversky: which heuristics and how do they lead to errors and irrationalities? Kahneman & Tversky: Prospect theory vs. rational choice theory.
Once we formulate a quick judgment, we ignore any other information, and very seldom search for it. Because S2 is lazy, it will endorse many of the intuitive beliefs generated by S1. Benefits: we can think fast, and make sense of partial information in a complex world. Costs: biases & errors of judgment and choice Our brains are wired for survival not for Which Line is Longer? analysis. “When people believe a conclusion is true, they are also very likely to believe arguments that appear to support it, even when these arguments are unsound. The conclusion comes first and the arguments follow.”
Question substitution: If a satisfactory answer to a hard question is not found quickly, S1 will find a related question that is easier and will answer it. Def: heuristic: a simple procedure that helps find adequate, though often imperfect, answers to difficult questions. Example 1: ▪ Target question: How popular will the president be six months from now? ▪ Heuristic question: How popular is the president right now? Example 2: ▪ Target question: This woman is running for the primary. How far will she go in politics? ▪ Heuristic question: Does this woman look like a political winner? Example 3: ▪ Target question: How much would I contribute to save an endangered species? ▪ Heuristic question: How much emotion do I feel when I think of dying dolphins? Example 4: ▪ All political target questions ▪ Heuristic question: What’s in it for my party?
Def: shortcuts that help people make sense of a complicated world quickly and with very little information. AVAILABILITY HEURISTIC ANCHORING HEURISTIC REPRESENTATIVENESS HEURISTIC ORDERING HEURISTIC AFFECT HEURISTIC
The tendency to make judgments about the probability of an event based on how easy it is to bring instances of the event to mind—i.e., how accessible it is. Name 6 instances in which you behaved assertively ▪ Evaluate how assertive you are. Name 12 instances in which you behaved assertively ▪ Evaluate how assertive you are. Does listing more instances lead people to think of themselves as more assertive? No! This is an S1 error!
By definition, _ N _ includes all ING words, plus many others! But ING words come to mind more easily (more accessible).
Why do we make this mistake? We tend to have wildly inflated estimates of violent crime because it’s far easier to remember incidents of violent crime Three-strikes and you’re out laws in CA At the age of twelve, Polly Klaas was kidnapped at knife point from her mothers home during a slumber party on October 1, 1993. She was later strangled. Richard Allen Davis was convicted of her murder in 1996 and sentenced to death. In the wake of the murder, politicians in California and other U.S. states supported three strikes laws, and Californias Three Strikes act was signed into law. Today, CA is still struggling with prison overcrowding and budget problems after sentencing scores of individuals to life in prison for a relatively minor 3rd offense.
Certain policy decisions should be left to experts—not to the public or to their elected officials—because only the experts can have a realistic appraisal of the relative likelihood of certain events happening. Risk regulation and government intervention to reduce risks should be guided by rational weighing of costs Harvard Law School and benefits. Nuclear safety? Terrorism? Gun safety? Climate change? Death penalty?
Dramatic, memorable events are more available than dull ones, but probably less likely to occur.
When making numeric estimates, people commonly rely on the initial value available to them as an anchor. 1. Federal Judges responding to a lengthy vignette: ▪ Imagine that you are presiding over an automobile accident case in which the parties have agreed to a bench trial. The plaintiff is a 31-year-old male schoolteacher and the defendant is a large package-delivery service. The plaintiff was sideswiped by a truck driven erratically by one of the defendant‘s drivers. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff broke three ribs and severely injured his right arm. He spent a week in the hospital, and missed six weeks of work. The injuries to his right arm were so severe as to require amputation. (He was right-handed.) ▪ Anchor condition: A random half the judges learned that the plaintiff‘s lawyer had demanded $10 million—the “anchor.” ▪ Anchor condition: Offered $2.2 mill. ▪ Control condition: Offered $.8 mill. 2. First think of the last 2 digits of your SSN. Then bid on a bottle of wine. ▪ People with higher SSNs bid higher for the wine! 3. False consensus or failing to take the perspective of the other. ▪ People anchor on their own viewpoint! People do use S2 but in insufficient amounts.
Imagine that the U.S. is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian disease, which is expected to kill 600 people. Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed. Assume the exact scientific estimate of the consequences of the programs are as follows. Choice 1, A vs. B: In a group of 600 people, ▪ Program A: 200 people will be saved. ▪ Program B: There is a one-third probability that 600 people will be saved, and a two-thirds probability that no people will be saved. ▪ 72 % of participants preferred Program A over B. Choice 2, C vs. D : In a group of 600 people, ▪ Program C: 400 people will die. ▪ Program D: There is a one-third probability that nobody will die, and a two-third probability that 600 people will die. ▪ 78 % preferred program D over C.
If you do the math, the options are equivalent in terms of lives saved and lost and all rational decision makers should choose the options at equal rates. But! The 2 options with certainty (A & C) sway people’s decisions because they bring to mind a different reference point. A = definitely save 200 lives. (a good outcome that’s a sure thing makes people risk averse. It’s called a gain frame.) C = 400 people definitely die. (a bad outcome that’s a sure thing makes people more risk seeking. It’s called a loss frame.) Real world framing examples: In real life, doctors and their patients changed their choice about whether to undergo radiation or chemotherapy for their real-life cancer based on shifts in the framing of options of mortality and survival rates. The abortion debate labeling reflects loss aversion: ▪ Abortion opponents are “pro-life” ▪ Abortion supporters are “pro-choice”
Dollar amount, Everything is Relative: The Rational choice values associated with likelihood judgments and outcome values are not the same for everyone across all situations. Personal reference point: To know how people evaluate an outcome, we have to know where they stand. People are loss averse: regardless of the monetary value, losing > gaining by at least a factor of 2. ▪ Bad is stronger than good! Hypothetical value function: ▪ The endowment effect losses are steeper and cause more pain than the joy created by gains.
How we frame equivalent options should not influence our judgment, but it does! 75% lean or 25% fat ground beef? 90% employment or 10% unemployment?
If citizens’ choices can be changed by framing, their choices can be manipulated. Opponents of policy changes emphasize future losses. Health care, social security privatization Later focus on framing as a strategy of persuasion ▪ People view the prospect of future losses (i.e., losing money with private accounts) as more likely than future gains (i.e., gaining money). ▪ If presented with competing arguments about future loss, is it better to offer a direct rebuttal or re-frame (shift the focus of the debate)?
Do heuristics work in the hawkish or dovish direction? Loss aversion? Consideration of dovish arguments require more S2 thinking?