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Behavioural economics, irrationality and creativity

Decision Making

Rationality has to come into the world of creativity somewhere, if only for balance of what makes a good and sound idea.

For Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely, rationality is what sets his field apart from economics: or rather, the lack of an assumption that people are rational.

Author of The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, he has looked at creativity and its correlation to dishonesty. Being more creative, a better storyteller, helps us rationalise our own dishonesties and go on without harming our own self-view, he is quoted in this article.

Behavioural economics proffers that humans weigh up decisions and often make the same choices and the same mistakes again and again – irrationally. So where does that leave us when we are looking for ideas, searching for the less obvious way forward? How do we avoid being irrational rather than innovative or does it not matter if we are irrational?

Dan illustrates this on his blog, in answering a question from a reader on how soon entrepreneurs can get irrationally attached to their (not always good) ideas.

His own experience of irrationality – the hospital episode which sent him in search of different ways to handle and manage pain – tells the story.

“The range of treatments in the burn department, and particularly the daily bath made me face a variety of irrational behaviours that were immensely painful and persistent. Upon leaving the hospital I wanted to understand how to better deliver painful and unavoidable treatments to patients so I began conducting research in this area…I became engrossed with the idea that we repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives and that research could help change some of these patterns.”

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