Horizon: How you really make decisions

Horizon: How you really make decisions review

Published by jamdog on 24th February, 2014.

 Horizon: How you really make decisions review
BBC Two

Horizon disgraced themselves recently with Swallowed by a Stink Hole and have been understandably keeping a low profile ever since. Now the made-up science brand tackles decision-making and How You Really Make Decisions is significantly less shite so high-fives all round. It’s about the cognitive biases human beings are subject to. Professor Danny Kahneman identifies the two different ways we think as two systems. System one: fast, unconscious, intuitive; system two: slow, conscious, rational. We like to think we’re like Mister Spock or Saga from the Bridge – hardheaded rational decision-makers weighing up the pros and cons with brutal SS efficiency arriving at the optimal results for the advancement of US. Well Professor Kahneman is here to tell is that if we think that then we’re as full of shit as Amanda Knox when she says “this is the best truth that I have been able to think”.

We’re as full of shit as Amanda Knox when she says “this is the best truth that I have been able to think”.

Take a look at cab drivers, he says. They make more money on rainy days but work longer on sunny days. I mean, what’s all that about? Research shows “humans” care more about preventing losses than achieving gains. What kind of counterintuitive savagery is that? These are no random quirks but predictable biases and Professor Candyman won a Nobel Prize for this shit so he’s not just some dopey sap talking about bung holes.

Research psychologist Christopher Chabris has done work on the cognitive bias known as inattentional blindness (essentially tunnel vision for wankers) and cites the Kenny Conley case where a Boston cop got thrown in the can when jurors didn’t believe he missed a police beatdown. Chabris viciously assaults some actors in front of some joggers to prove his point that people don’t always notice something when they are focusing on something else (his book The Invisible Gorilla goes into more detail on this kind of thing).

Is there a solution? They visit some rhesus monkeys to find out. They look into the evolutionary origins of the biases and find out that our hairy cousins are just like us. Researchers give them monkey money and they make the same stupid mistakes we do. Furthermore, this means we won’t change as it’s too hardwired into our monkey brains. All we can do is reform our legal, political, financial and cultural institutions to make allowances for our intrinsic ineptitude.

Yeah, because that’ll happen. Jesus Christ, we’re screwed.  Still getting over that fucking bung hole thing.

The verdict: The Candyman can.

Marks out of 10: 7

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One response to “Horizon: How you really make decisions review”

  1. papa says:

    I thought the show was ok at best. I usually love Horizon but this show was lacking in interesting information. As someone who studies the effects of hypnosis I knew all of the ‘big revelations’ the show demonstrated and I thought it was common knowledge to most. An average show, and God know why Professor Candyman received a Nobel prize for something that is common knowledge to hypnotists