Our TED Talk today was "Are We In Control of Our Decisions" by Dan Ariely. The purpose of the talk was for us to analyze how we make decisions and what may influence why we choose what we do. The overall trend that Ariely found was that the more complex a decision becomes, the more likely we are to search for the easiest route possible. It happens in all of us in all different situations.
Different wording on a form at the DMV can influence the statistics of organ donors. Many find what happens to their bodies after they die a nonissue, so the decision of becoming an organ donor is not something that often weighs on the mind. So when the DMV form says that you must check the box to join the organ donor program, most people will not check the box simply because we do not think about it. If the form says that those who do not check the box will join the organ donor program, people will still leave the box unchecked because they aren't going to go out of their way to decide against it. On a bigger scale, when doctors were asked about a hypothetical patient planning to have a hip replacement, they would postpone the surgery if they found that they had one more medicine they had not had the patient try. However, if they found that there were two or more medications untried, they were more likely to send the patient on for surgery. Adding more variables makes the choice harder to make. Something actually very simple could make a decision have a very different outcome.
When we were discussing the TED talk in my group, we instantly thought about how this applies to tragedies, especially Oedipus. If Laius and Jocasta were never told of the prophecy, they never would have left Oedipus to die. He would have been raised in their family and developed a parent-child bond with them. Oedipus killed Laius when his carriage was run off the road, completely unaware that it was his father that did so. Had he been raised by him, chances are he would have been in the carriage carrying Laius. I have no real need to mention why Jocasta would not have married Oedipus, as I think it's obvious enough.
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