Essay on Decision Making

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Zach Johannes
Knowing Animal Minds
Extra Credit- Ellen Furlong
What animals reveal about human decision making

Ellen Furlong’s presentation was about the decision making process in animals and what factors affect it. Humans find it easier than animals to detect a difference in large numbers, which is known as the numeric size effect. Animals often use number to remember things, which is known as non-human logarithmic representation. Orangutans for example, use the skill of logarithmic representation to remember beneficial outcomes when in testing, in order to achieve praise. Another habit often carried out by animals is the idea of a linear model. If an animal benefits from a certain approach, the animal often continues to repeat the prior behavior in the future tests. Trail and error is a process used by not only humans, but animals too.

People today believe that the more money being made in a person’s career means the harder he or she works. Ellen Furlong disagrees with this theory because when money is being lost, a person actually works harder to turn the money loss around and minimize the losses. The same idea can be related to animals.

When an animal is testing, it has the drive succeed in the test and therefore achieve praise and reward. When the animal succeeds in the test, it becomes happy and continues to carry out testing. But when an animal fails a test, it become upset and therefore stressed and sometimes reacts violently for a short period. The animal tries to compensate for it’s past mistakes in hopes to get the next test trail correct.

Stress creates problems in both animals and human while they are being tested. For example, a basketball player may make a shot in practice, but not in a championship game. The factor is stress, with the idea of losing the important game in the back of his or her head. This concept is the same for animals because animals seek to succeed in whatever they do, just as humans

Ellen Furlong’s overall...
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