Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dan Ariely: Why we think it's OK to cheat and steal (sometimes)

Dan Ariely: Why we think it's OK to cheat and steal (sometimes) is a TED talk by Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely.  He speaks broadly about irrationality, but I found the most interesting part of the talk to be the introduction about pain.  

Dan was badly burned and spent a lot of time in burn wards. Much like band-aids, except wrapped all over your body, body bandages can be ripped slowly or quickly, starting from various parts of the body. There is no consensus on how to do it best. 

Dan's nurses thought faster was better. Dan felt otherwise, but could not convince them from their gut feelings, and had no research to back it up.  Once he got well, he embarked on some semi-sadistic scientific study about pain.  He found that since the mind doesn't really take duration into account, ripping slower is actually better. Taking breaks to recuperate is best. Also, starting from high-nerve density areas such as the face, and moving on to less innervated parts such as the back, lead to a sense of improvement. 

He went back to tell his former nurses and they related how hard it is to go back on their gut feelings. But now you know, there is research. So feel free to tell all your health-field friends to rip it slow. (That's what she said, pada-chk!) 

Oh yeah, then Dan moves on to tell us that we are predictably irrational, and we all tend to cheat by a little bit, or something like that. Enjoy!

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