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Notes Towards Day 9: The Paradox of Choice

Anne Dalke's picture

Notes Towards Day 9

I. Start by taking three surveys from The Paradox of Choice:
*are you a maximizer or a satisficer? (p.80)
*the regret scale (p.87)
*the subjective happiness scale (p. 196)
can we chart the correlations?

II. practice for your next two papers
for Friday:
3-pp. research paper reporting on current studies done on your health choice:
how are most college students handling the choice you are confronting?
how best to present the information you find?
find three web sources; look @ HOW they present the info (causes? correlations?
text? table? how do you fit in the statistics? why are you located where you are?

B. week after: you will come up w/ 5 questions, to ask 15 people,
& (instead of writing a paper)
present your information in graph or table form on-line & to us in class

C. Revisiting "Risk Charts: Putting Cancer in Context"
without context (=10-year-chance of dying from various causes, side-by-side)
impossible to gauge magnitude of a disease risk for any individual

D. brainstorm: what topic you will research,
how you will search for info, how evaluate it?

E. What did you learn about health, from writing last week's papers?
what has been the primary CONTEXT for your decisions?
is "all health mental health"?

III. two examples (what are their implied research agendas...?)

IV. At the same time we're asking you to research these choices...
we are troubling the very concept of choosing: what does it mean to choose?
(continue reading The Paradox of Choice, Part IV, "What We Can Do," pp. 221-236. for Thursday)

also (re: Pollan), note cartoon on p. 216:
"They never should have allowed us to be free-range"

postings re: "allowing for serendipity" in our lives
(talk about the forum-->no real conversation? not reading one another's postings?
just meeting the deadline, not talking or thinking aloud as thoughts arise...?)

talking points:
p. 3: cost to choice overload
5: pay less attention to others' choices
p. 14f: shopping for knowledge: browsing classes, free to choose, no shared intellectual experiences
18: 93% of teenage girls say shopping is their favorite activity
23: filtering extraneous information basic function of consciousness:
increasingly: time-consuming foraging behavior
29: more choices, more responsibility
39: religious institutions as markets for tranquility ("supermarket Quakerism")
41f: choosing identity
44: cumulative effect of added choices causes added stress
48: experienced, vs. expected, vs. remembered utility
49: peak-end rule (discrepancy between logic and memory)
57: gathering information: the availability heuristic
60: multi-individual information assessment (but: shared second-hand information)
62: anchoring, framing
67: creative accounting re: own psychological balance sheets
69: risk averse re: potential gains; risk seeking re: potential losses
75: choosing vs. picking