Tag Archives: decisions


yesterday we went car shopping. after driving the sixth test car, in which we were quite interested, the salesperson made us a very tempting offer. we did the rational thing and retired for a family powwow to a nearby fast food place. after briefly going through the pros and cons of another car that was quite attractive, the decision to accept the offer came fast and unanimous.

then we finalized the deal, and the question of warranty insurance came up. my husband left the decision up to me. it had gotten dark outside, i was getting tired from a day of car shopping, and suddenly that decision, which was much less important, and involved much less money, suddenly began to wear on me. after 30 minutes of back and forth, we finally came to a decision on that one, too.

afterwards we went to an east indian restaurant. i hadn’t been to one for a while and chose to eat a bit more than i had planned.

(hold on, i’m going somewhere with this :))

before i went to bed, i realized that i hadn’t done any exercise yet. what to do, what to do? go for a

the fool, a tarot card

image by ark in time on flickr

walk, use the stationary bike, or dance downstairs in my studio? argh! i hadn’t been outside enough and the stationary bike would be really easy, and my studio is beautiful! then i decided to just quickly draw a tarot card and drew the fool. pretty clear image: the fool is on a hike. so i went for a walk.

what i found really interesting was that each step underscored what we know about decision making:

the first step, when we decided to buy the car, was very much carried out along the lines of rational decision making. we gathered all the information, didn’t get swayed by cute arguments (“it has heated seats and adjustable cup holders!”) and didn’t act without reflection.

and then decision fatigue started to set in. i started getting tired, my glucose level went down, and things started to slow down.

by the time i reached the east indian restaurant and one of my favourites, palak paneer (spicy spinach with fresh cheese curds), was particularly well cooked, ego depletion was in full force – all my rational “muscle” was used up, and my food choice was made by that little gremlin inside of me jumping up and down, slobbering with anticipation of devouring yet another tasty morsel.

it was the last situation that i found perhaps the most interesting. typically i consider myself a happy and vigorous decision maker (note to self: ask family how delusional i am with that assessment.) and yet, here i was like a deer in the headlight – quick, tell me with way to go! it looks like indecision is not as well researched as decision . but there was another level to it: i knew at some level that i did not want to choose any of the options. but because a) i want to see myself as someone who engages in at least moderate exercise and b) the option of not doing anything was VERY tempting, i could not add that forth option. instead i head to tell myself that “i don’t know what to do.” i knew EXACTLY what i wanted to do, which was nothing! having removed my favourite option, the next best thing i came up with is to shift the burden of decision to someone/something else. i wonder how often that happens?

by the way, the walk was lovely. the moon, still almost full, poured a magical light over the neighbourhood full of sparkling christmas lights.

blogathon: psychology on stumbleupon

canadian mental health association

this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=d2252. you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps.

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the two social media sites i like the most are twitter and stumbleupon. i just realized that it’s relatively easy to post excerpts from my stumbleupon site. here are some internet gems i’ve found recently that i tagged “psychology”

why play a losing game? study uncovers why low-income people buy lottery tickets
“some poor people see playing the lottery as their best opportunity for improving their financial situations, albeit wrongly so,”

lord of the dark side
a great story about my good friends, resistance and procrastination

we are a gentle, road rage people – at making chutney
a new study shows that a penchant for bumper stickers, no matter how peaceful and progressive, indicates a tendency to road rage.

gifted, talented, addicted
a well-researched article on the connection between addiction and creativity. among others, a little foray into how coca-cola came about and what happened to its inventor.

humor, sex and verbal jousting
a very thoughtful look at humour and gender differences

educational psychology interactive: internet resources
great list of links re education, psychology and research

a drug treatment for chronic pain and erasing its memory
the reason why chronic pain is chronic appears to be linked to its persistent memory in the prefrontal cortex.

faces give away giveaways – psych profs amazing claim

“we may be subtly aware of other people’s attitudes to sex,” says dr lynda boothroyd of durham uni, lead author of the groundbreaking slapper-spotting research. “what is far more interesting is that despite the subtlety of the explicit awareness… there is a very strong tendency for women to be attracted to… men who are less interested in casual sex.”

new thoughts on language acquisition: toddlers as data miners
… studying a ground-breaking theory that young children are able to learn large groups of words rapidly by data-mining.”