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Why do we make irrational decisions and how can we stop?

You know those moments when you reflect back on an action or decision your made in the past and can’t fathom what motivated you to do something so silly? Me too. Every day. These are called irrational decisions and are inherent to being a human, so don’t worry, you’re not alone.

However, it might seem as if we’re the only creatures on planet Earth that make irrational decisions. Which isn’t entirely true. Animals do stupid stuff all the time but the key difference is that we have a reasoning ability to feel bad about it.

You never see a Lemur push his mate off a tree branch and then sit for a while muttering to himself: “Why did I do that? What was the point? Now he’s mad at me; I’m mad at myself. This whole exchange has been a complete disaster from the off”. 

In a new video from Ted-Ed, Sara Garofalo goes deep into the psychological behind irrational decisions. Here are a few things that we learned from this informative and entertaining collection of moving pictures (video).

  • Gameshow producers are amongst the most depraved and sadistic people in the world.
  • Loss Aversion is our tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains even if these two things mean exactly the same thing.
  • The negative impact in our brains is about twice as strong as the joy and happiness we get from winning.
  • Heuristics is problem-solving based on previous experiences and intuition over careful analysis. This can lead to irrational decisions.
  • Conjunction fallacies are where our brain tricks us into picking options based on surface analysis rather than logic.
  • The Anchoring Effect is the reason shops will always sell products for X amount and 99p.


This and much much more can be learned from watching this great video so what are you doing reading this spiel? Scroll up and get learning!