Monday, April 16, 2012

Think About Searching, #15

When we go into Find & Learn mode, we can at times hesitate or even back away from an effort.  This is because we have already may know something about topic and, as we explore, we see that the initial information conflicts with our knowledge.  This concept in behavioral economics is called “consumer lock-in.”  Applied to the use of credit cards, it shows that we are eager to take an offer with 0 percent interest for the first 12 months.  But after 12 months, when the rate goes up to 23%, our balance is too high to pay off, so we stay with the credit card.  This idea of lock-in predicts that we are less likely to search for (and change) to another option once we made our initial decision.  In the area of information attitudes, if we spent time to form the initial decision, then we are less likely to investigate another better option.  Lock-in was presented in a fascinating way to marriage in Jay Meg’s recent article in the New York Times ("The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage." New York Times 15 Apr. 2012: 4).  My caution to you – be aware of this dynamic in your searching.  If the final answer is worth the effort – discard your initial assumptions and dive ahead!  

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