楼主#更多 发布于：2014-03-10 11:15
More Rational Resolutions
can 'goal factoring' help you keep your New Year's
resolution to hit the gym every day in 2014?
'Goal factoring, ' a method of designing better plans, is
one of the techniques taught by the Center for Applied Rationality, which hosts
three-day workshops that teach attendees how to use science-based approaches to
achieve goals. A November workshop in Ossining, N.Y., instructed 23 participants
on how thinking about one's future self as a different person can help
goal-setting and why building up an 'emotional library' of associations can
“目标构想”是应用理性学习中心(Center for Applied
CFAR, a Berkeley, Calif.-based nonprofit, is prominent in
the growing 'rationality movement, ' which explores the science of optimized
decision-making. In recent years, books about decision-making and probability
theory -- including 'Predictably Irrational' by Dan Ariely, who writes a regular
column for The Wall Street Journal, and 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' by Daniel
Kahneman -- have been best-sellers. Websites like Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong
serve as communities for those who believe the best way to be effective, whether
in changing eating habits or changing the world, is to actively look at the
lessons of science and hard data. The movement draws on some of the same
research as economists who argue that investors behave irrationally.
Wall Street Journal)定期撰写专栏的丹·阿雷利(Dan Ariely)所写的《可预见的非理性》(Predictably
Irrational)，以及丹尼尔·卡内曼(Daniel Kahneman)撰写的《思考，快与慢》(Thinking, Fast and
Very smart people often make irrational decisions, says
University of Toronto psychologist Keith Stanovich. This leads to, say,
physicians choosing less effective medical treatments or governments spending
millions on unneeded projects. In 2013, Dr. Stanovich received a $1 million
grant from the John Templeton Foundation to develop a rigorous 'rationality
quotient' test similar to an IQ test. Dr. Stanovich, who sits on CFAR's advisory
board, hopes to have such a test ready in two years. He hopes the test will
encourage people to learn to be more rational.
For individuals, the odd secret of rationality is its
reliance on emotions, proponents say. 'People are always really surprised at how
much time we spend at the workshops talking about our feelings, ' says CFAR
President Julia Galef, who has a statistics degree from Columbia University.
'Rationality isn't about getting rid of emotions, but analyzing them and taking
them into consideration when making decisions, ' she says.
Attendees, who each paid about $4, 000 to participate in
the Ossining workshop (meals and lodging included), learned a technique called
'pre-hindsight' that uses emotional cues to create more foolproof plans. It
works like this: Imagine that six months have passed, and you haven't achieved
the body of your dreams. How surprised are you? The less surprised you are, the
less likely it is you will succeed at your goal. Then think in detail about each
reason you wouldn't be surprised if June comes and the number on the scale
hasn't budged. Each reason -- whether 'I don't have time' or 'I don't like
running in the mornings' -- is a possible cause of failure. Using the surprise
level to anticipate these is crucial to creating a plan to address each weak
Similarly, goal factoring can help determine whether
shelling out $40 a month at the YMCA is the best way to get in shape. This
involves mapping out the motivations (health, stress relief, weight loss) behind
doing something (going to the gym), and questioning whether there is a more
effective way to achieve the same things. Goal factoring could lead a person to
realize that, given time and interests, an hour on the treadmill is unrealistic,
but a weekly soccer tournament with friends is doable.
Other lessons include 'structured procrastination.' The
idea is that if you're going to procrastinate, you might as well procrastinate
by doing something that works toward another goal -- for example, procrastinate
on starting a work project by watching a TED talk you've been meaning to catch
or starting a book you've wanted to read.
If it seems like the rationalists are overthinking the
decision-making process, consider the audience, Ms. Galef says. Most workshop
participants have been software engineers, entrepreneurs, students or
scientists. In one session, the instructor asked whether anyone present hadn't
written a computer program. No hands went up.
Can rationality exercises actually teach us to act more
rational day to day?
Psychologist Dr. Kahneman, who won a Nobel Prize in
economics for research into decision-making in 2002, says it is very difficult
to overcome our split-second irrational reactions. 'Much of it is automatic, '
he says. 'Preferences come to mind and emotions arise, and we're not aware that
we're making [decisions and assumptions] and therefore cannot control them.'
Organizations can generally make gains by adopting
rational procedures enforced from the top, but Dr. Kahneman is skeptical of how
much individuals can change.
Dr. Stanovich is more optimistic. It is true that
automatic biases can't be removed, he says, but people can train themselves to
slow down and question these biases, and learn other mechanisms -- even
something as simple as deliberately thinking of the effect of the opposite
decision -- that may counteract such biases.
Max Tegmark, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, says he 'already had a high level of rationalism' but found the CFAR
麻省理工学院(Massachusetts Institute of
'I had this huge to-do list with over a thousand things on
it, and I found I wasn't looking at it very often because whenever I did, I just
got this depressing feeling of being overwhelmed by my failure to accomplish
stuff, ' says Dr. Tegmark. After the March workshop in Berkeley, Calif., the
46-year-old developed an improved system for tackling emails by writing a
program that responds to routine emails with automated messages. He also got
better at staying on track with long-term projects. 'I learned that if I want
Max to do something in December, I should think about December Max as a
different person, ' he says. Instead of just putting a reminder to do something
in a few months, he'll plan ahead and send email reminders and incentives for
his 'future self.'
Another March attendee, Estonian computer programmer and
Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, says the workshop helped him improve his fitness
plan. After analyzing his actions, Mr. Tallinn, 41, realized that he was
avoiding exercise mostly because his routine was too long. He designed a shorter
routine with different exercises that he finds it easier to stick to. (Mr.
Tallinn is an investor in the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, which is
affiliated with CFAR.)
Intelligence Research Institute)的投资者。）
That individuals -- as well as markets and corporations --
don't always behave rationally is a tenet of behavioral economics.
Scholars of behavioral economics, including Dr. Kahneman,
have attempted to tease out the factors behind individuals' and investors'
shifting risk tolerances and decisions.
Behavioral economics, which has gained ground among
academic economists over the past several decades, departs from traditional
notions by assuming that individuals don't always behave rationally and act in
their own best interests. Thus we have market bubbles in which investors inflate
stocks or homes way above their rational value. （转载）