The Loh Down On Science

Decisions

Want to be sure you've made the right decision? Just MAKE one. You'll convince yourself it was correct.

Let's see--Hazelnut half-caff, or venti soy latte? Hazelnut half-caff, or venti soy--?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh, with the Loh Down on Science, saying. . . just pick one!

Either way, you're likely to congratulate yourself on your beverage choice afterwards, and rag on the item you didn't choose.

Psychologists have, in fact, long been interested in this kind of rationalizing. We tend to do it when holding several beliefs at odds with one another. It's sort of a. . . self-intervention that quiets our inner voices by encouraging them to agree.

To explore if youngsters and monkeys had this "inside voice," researchers from Yale had four-year-old kids pick between one of two stickers. The kids had already ranked them as "equally cool." They could keep the sticker they chose, and then were offered the reject again, paired with a different sticker.

The kids consistently said "thanks, but no thanks!" to the one they had rejected earlier--i.e. the now-designated loser sticker.

Monkeys, when offered choices of colored M&Ms, demonstrated a similar pattern.

Although I think we can all agree that the green M&Ms are TOTALLY the un-coolest. Research science says.


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