Keeping your doors open

Go and participate in this experiment.

Then read this.

Then someone try to convince my mom. 


10 Responses to Keeping your doors open

  1. lbsmom says:

    Participated in the experiment—check. Read the article afterwards—check. My score did go up when I had fewer options, but so what? By sticking with the same door, I learned how to get more points, but what fun was that? I may never win at Monopoly, but I will have as many properties as possible all over the board!

  2. laurabethnielsen says:

    but mom, the goal is to win. and the point is that opening doors (or doing what it takes to keep them open) is costly. Just like closing doors is

  3. nobamakoolaid says:

    Yes, its true. We sometimes spend resources just to hold on to what we don’t really need. I switched the same number of times (3) on both sets and actually scored more on the first. Is there a moral? Shit, I don’t know. But I think I have to side with mom, here. Neither one was much fun, so what the hell was the point. Now being a slum lord like mom, that sounds like fun. Sometimes we get satisfaction from simply knowing we have options. While those options may have a cost, if it is less than the benefit gained from keeping the options, why not? Personal utility is just that – personal. I am very aware that they tend to have smart Economists at MIT and Yale, but I remain unconvinced.

  4. lbsmom says:

    Thank you, nobamakoolaid (what is that name about?). I know we should keep our eyes on the prize, noses to the grindstone, etc. But I prefer another overused one–take time to smell the roses especially on less-traveled roads. And I don’t have the heart or stomach to be a slum lord in real life.

  5. foodgirl says:

    I, just like lbsmom, had a higher score the second time around, when it said I should have spent more time opening costly doors — hmm, I wonder what that says about me.

  6. laurabethnielsen says:

    OK so everyone here is different from people in the aggregate (we knew we were high quality) but the point is that expending resources keeping options open is not always efficient!

    Obamakoolaid is right, they are personal preferences, but in the context of this game/experiment, it costs you more than allowing a loss of otpions. If those points, which are meaningless anyway (in the real experiment you got money based on your score) are less important than a digital image of a door on your computer screen, then yes, you are making the good choice.

    If you grew up in my house, you heard a lot about “keeping your doors open”. Can’t blame a girl for fighting back when social science is on her side though it is interesting that you all take my mom’s side right away. . . . hmmmmmm

  7. nobamakoolaid says:

    It is also interesting that sociologists are often at odds with and quick to dismiss economic theory. However, when a theory emerges that supports one particular sociological theory, it is embraced and given high marks for credibility – all in fun, LB.
    BTW, lbsmom, I know you wouldn’t really be a slum lord; you simply exercise your capitalistic demons around the Monopoly board. And the name? It means that I refuse to drink what he is serving. Remember Jim Jones? I’m not suggesting they are the same, but so far it is still a bunch of lofty promises with no real plan or track record. I’m still holding out hope for Hillary.

  8. laurabethnielsen says:

    This dude is a psychologist though, koolaid. Though yes, I am quick to dismiss economic theory when it doe snot include a way to consider exactly what you argued for above, koolaid – personal (even if irrational) choices. What I don’t like is the idea that everyone thinks “rational” means the same thing. we all fall for sunk costs, disappearing doors, and other seemingly “irrational” lures for interesting and varied psychological reasons (like preserving the existence of a digital door that cannot help you win). You have seen the test where they auction off a twenty dollar bill, right? we talked abotu it in class. I have heard about that $20 going for thousands of dollars.

  9. dspett says:

    I got a lower score the second time around. What does this mean?

  10. catpitch50 says:

    “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” -Tim Eliot

    I took the test, scored higher the second time, and switched doors four times the first round. However, my reasoning for switching doors was not quite as simple as just wanting to keep my options open. I switched doors because I was not assured that the point payoff from one door would not plummet as soon as the other two doors had vanished. In other words, the only reason I switched doors the first time around was to avoid being cornered into receiving minimal amounts of points per click when only one door was left. I’m not so sure this rationale would be construed as just keeping my options open or even the avoidance of the emotional pain that comes with closing a door. In my mind, at least, it seemed perfectly reasonable to sacrifice a few clicks to make sure I would receive a decent level of points per click. Of course, knowing now that the point allocation would not plummet when only one door remained, I would be irrational to switch doors throughout.

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