There are five behavioral traps. Those five behavioral traps are: time delay, investment, deterioration, ignorance and collective. We fall into some of these traps easily and on a daily bases, while some of us find that they are also easily avoided. The trap that you fall into really only depends on you. I would like to define and give an example of each of the behavioral traps, before I discuss which I think is the easiest to fall for and the easiest to avoid. Time delay is momentary gratification that clashes with long term consequences (short term vs. long term). An example is finding it hard to diet or exercise regularly (Plous, 1993). The ignorance trap is the negative behavior which are not understood or seen at the outset. An example would be: People, who smoked in the 19th Century, they didn’t realize that smoking led to lung cancer and if the information would have been available, many would never have begun to smoke in the first place (Plous, 1993). The collective trap involves more than one party. The example for this one is rush hour traffic. Here everyone prefers to drive at the same time, taking their own self interest into play and letting everyone suffer (Plous, 1993). The investment trap occurs when prior expenditures of time, money or other resources lead people to make choices they normally wouldn’t make. An example would be investing money on something to help out the community only to find out at 90% done that another company is doing the same thing but theirs is better, debating on whether to finish the other 10% or not (Plous, 1993). Deterioration trap is similar to the investment trap but the cost and affect occur over time. An example for this trap is a heroin addict. You do it to get that great feeling but then your body becomes tolerant to the drug and you then up the dose to get that same great feeling, and then you’d rather take the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms. So what started as a pleasurable...
References: Plous, S. (1993). The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making. McGraw-Hill: New York, NY.
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