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Is too much information a good thing?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Bumped into the article in Psychology Today. Not a skiing related but, boy, why did it remind me Epicski discussions?

 

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/glue/201212/why-too-much-data-disables-your-decision-making

 

176cm or 178cm? 1deg or 0.75deg? 99mm underfoot or 102mm? Yellow wax or Yellow with Red? Scrape or not? How many times and exactly when?

 

"When data is missing, we overestimate its value. Our mind assumes that since we are expending resource locating information, it must be useful."

 

Found it amusing.

post #2 of 12

I thought about reading it, but you didn't mention in your post how long it was, so I wasn't sure if I had sufficient time to read it.

You also didn't mention the author or the article, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to devote time (of an unknown amount) to something that may or may not be credible...depending on who wrote it.

I also don't know when the study was done or how it was done.

Honestly, I just think the link title is too vague, and it would help to know more about it before committing to reading the actual article.

 

I'll think about it while awaiting that additional info, though, and maybe I'll change my mind and gamble on the limited data you've provided.

We'll see.....

post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

I thought about reading it, but you didn't mention in your post how long it was, so I wasn't sure if I had sufficient time to read it.

You also didn't mention the author or the article, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to devote time (of an unknown amount) to something that may or may not be credible...depending on who wrote it.

I also don't know when the study was done or how it was done.

Honestly, I just think the link title is too vague, and it would help to know more about it before committing to reading the actual article.

 

I'll think about it while awaiting that additional info, though, and maybe I'll change my mind and gamble on the limited data you've provided.

We'll see.....


Lol.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

I thought about reading it, but you didn't mention in your post how long it was, so I wasn't sure if I had sufficient time to read it.

You also didn't mention the author or the article, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to devote time (of an unknown amount) to something that may or may not be credible...depending on who wrote it.

I also don't know when the study was done or how it was done.

Honestly, I just think the link title is too vague, and it would help to know more about it before committing to reading the actual article.

 

I'll think about it while awaiting that additional info, though, and maybe I'll change my mind and gamble on the limited data you've provided.

We'll see.....


Well, good points. I could not find the edit button to edit the original post, so here it is:

 

The article is by Ron Friedman, Ph.D. About a page long. Credibility ranking is up to your own research.

 

With that said, why would I care about time of random people on the internet wink.gif.

 

Cheers!

post #5 of 12

I read the article. While I can't comment on the similarity to Epic Ski discussions (I'm too new) there WAS a large discrepancy between the two test groups. Then again, the authors even stated how clever the information was presented to the second group. Almost like the second group was designed to fail.

 

I'll assume since you enjoyed the article enough to post it, that you agree with the assessment, that at least some folk are addicted to any and all information (whether pertinent or not) before making a decision, and that the decision they make may actually be faulty on some level.

 

I had come to believe that information cravers continually studied a topic or purchase out of a fear of making (in theirs or others minds) a bad or less than optimal decision. In business especially, this shows a lack of confidence and becomes a crippling liability.

 

My father reprimanded me at a young age when the conditions warranted by saying "Make a decision!" "A man who can not make a decision isn't worth a sh*t." "If you make a bad decision, you'll learn from it."

 

I used to be indecisive ... now I'm not so sure.

Thanks for posting. 

post #6 of 12

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by JSLincks View Post

My father reprimanded me at a young age when the conditions warranted by saying "Make a decision!" "A man who can not make a decision isn't worth a sh*t." "If you make a bad decision, you'll learn from it."

 

Your father was right.  And even worse is the person who demands that others tell them what to buy.

post #7 of 12

Amen brother. Isn't it amazing how many people skiing in a group can not decide which trail to go down?

What? For fear of being rejected? Well hold on ... I'm a bit toasted. Let me revisit this thread in the morning.

Also getting off track from OP thread ...

post #8 of 12

I think the craving for MORE and MORE info before making a decision is a variety of perfectionism.

 

Some people, upon making a choice that doesn't work out, will torment themselves with thoughts of what could have been, and self reproach, and other varieties of 'if i'd only' or 'what if?' thinking.

 

There's anxiety about making the wrong decision. Then there's the obsessive and compulsive search for absolutely every shred of info before deciding, which is a reaction to the anxiety. 

post #9 of 12

Take a look at Jonah Lehrer's "How We Decide", particularly chapter 5 titled "Choking on thought."

More details and more information rarely, if ever, leads to a better decision.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfr View Post


With that said, why would I care about time of random people on the internet wink.gif.

 

Cheers!

 

Exactly!

 

First, figure out what's important, not what's available.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrtime View Post

 

More details and more information rarely, if ever, leads to a better decision.

 

I totally disagree.

 

There're relevant information and irrelevant information. When relevant information/detail is missing, the decision would be random. In such cases, having more detail or more information would make for BETTER decision.

 

It's only when the addition information/detail is irrelevant, as in the example the size of the default, that it doesn't help the decision.

 

While it's interesting to know 1/2 of group 2 made the WRONG decision by hyper-focus on irrelevant information (size of default), still 21% of them made the right decision. So there're some subset of the population who are NOT swayed by "too much" information! So the key is not to hide the additional information but learn how to weight available information to avoid being swayed by irrelevant ones.

 

Information is just that, information. It's up to us to make use of it. By "making use", I mean including ignoring useless "information" and tossing it into the trash at the first chance!

post #11 of 12

I certainly think too much information can paralyze people which is one reason good salesmen keep it simple stupid BUT that doesn`t mean that the extra info is useless or taking longer to decide is a bad thing.

 

I think the study referred to in the article is flawed in terms of what they say is trying to be proved- by saying the guy might owe 25 K, they are making the 5 K seem like a relatively small figure...I didn`t read the actual study, but why is it immediately obvious that someone who hasn`t paid a 5 K charge card balance for 3 months should be immediately turned down for a mortgage when they have good credit history and a stable well paying job?  Sure, if they were told that loans should be denied to anyone late on their CC, then failing to reject was WRONG, but the way the article states things all the study seems to prove is that people can be influence by the context of the presentation of information- i.e. a 5 K debt doesn`t seem too bad when it was possible that the person may have had a 25 K debt.  

 

I am not a mortgage loan officer, but my understanding is that when people have equity in their home, it is the first loan they will pay and the last loan they will default on.  If the guy was making a substantial down payment on a fairly priced home in a stable housing market, this might be a very safe loan to make.  Unless we know what the typical outcome is to a loan made to someone with a good stable job and good credit history who hasn`t paid a 5 K cc debt in 3 months, then it is hard to know if the "RIGHT" decision is to approve or deny the loan.  

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlogiston View Post

 Then there's the obsessive and compulsive search for absolutely every shred of info before deciding, which is a reaction to the anxiety. 

 

When you train an entire generation to first look for info on the Interwebz instead of making a trial decision on their own and seeing how it works out,  I don't think any anxiety is required. 

 

We are becoming a species which mines its own midden heaps instead of one which discovers new resources. 

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