We tend to think that if we only had more information, we’d make better decisions. The world, however, doesn’t always work that way. Paradoxically, More information often means that we make worse decisions.
当你想做一个好的决定n, your first action is most likely to collect more information. If you know more about the situation, you can make better judgments. Right?
Not always. Paradoxically, more information can lead us to make worse decisions.
One of the reasons we make worse decisions with more information is that we pursue information that appears relevant but isn’t. The harder the information is to find—that is, the more work we have to do to find it and the more exclusive is it—the more psychology tells us that we’ll put too much value on that information. In part, this happens because of our bias toward commitment and consistency; we’ve spent time and effort seeking out that information, so mentally, we feel obliged to use it. This nudges us toward decisions we otherwise wouldn’t have made.
And yet, another reason we love irrelevant information is thatwe really lack fundamental understanding。
If we don’t understand something, we won’t have a firm grasp of the fundamental variables that govern the situation and how they interact, so we’ll look for new variables. When you’re not sure how to weigh one attribute compared with another, you end up searching for a reason.
Often this mountain of new information — even if easily obtainable – is largely irrelevant to the situation. The problem is we don’t know it is irrelevant.
“结果是，异常不知所欲的特殊感觉。幸运的是，需要描述是太熟悉的，因为要描述它是不可能的。只要它持续，在关注之前的各种物体时，我们都谈到了故意;最后，原来的建议是占上风，使运动发生，或者被其敌人彻底淬火，我们据说我们决定，或者使我们的自愿法定有利于一个或另一方面。同时，增强和抑制思想被称为决定所带来的原因或动机。“— William James
Decisions are hard to make. In part, this is because of conflict and uncertainty. We are uncertain of the consequences of our actions and have difficulty making tradeoffs between attributes. Just as knowledge can make decision making easier, a lack of knowledge compounds the problem.
When faced with two choices of equal alternatives, Slovic (1975, 1990) suggests we make choices based on what’s easy to explain and justify. Sounds logical, right, why flip a coin when I can come up with a reason.
Sometimes we weigh the pros and cons. Subconsciously, when deciding for something, we focus on the pros, and when we decide against something, we focus on the reasons for rejection. This has the added advantage of giving us a good story to tell but causes problems when there are no striking positive or negative aspects to help make the decision.
When we can’t find a compelling reason to do something or avoid something, we are left in a state of conflict. So we search for more information.
“Seeking new alternatives usually requires additional time and effort and may involve the risk of losing the previously available options.”— Amos Tversky and Shafir
The implications of my cobbled together theory seem worth considering.
If our current choices don’t give us a convincing reason to opt for a choice, we’ll likely seek out additional information (rather than questioning our understanding). When we do seek out additional information, we’re really just looking for a compelling rationale for choosing one alternative over another.
我们越多，寻找新的理由来做出决策，我们来自理解。我们看起来越难，我们越多。我们发现的越多，我们就越会错过 - 重量我们找到的东西。我们的重量越多，我们就越有可能做出糟糕的决定。
So the next time you find yourself seeking out hard-to-find esoteric information to give yourself an edge in that important decision, think hard about whether you understand the fundamentals of the situation. The more esoteric information you seek the further you move from the likely variables that will govern the outcomes of the situation.