Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pain and Cheating

These are two entirely separate topics which are both covered in an excellent talk by Dan Ariely on TED (which I found through this post on Geary Behavioral Economics).

Some teaser questions answered in the video:

  • Which is better, intense pain for a shorter period, or less intense pain for longer? Short answer: less intense pain over a longer period, ideally with some breaks in between painful intervals. There’s probably a lesson to be learned on investment and loan losses…
  • Given an opportunity to cheat, how many people do it, to what extent, and under what conditions? Short answer: many people cheat a little, especially if they perceive peers doing it. I think Ariely’s answers definitely apply to mortgage fraud…

I can read faster than I can listen, so I don’t have much patience for learning by video. However, TED has some terrific material, and this talk is a great example.