Haley Scholar Reading Groups
By Danielle Hall
As we’ve been reading each chapter of A.O.C. we have had many opportunities to contemplate and discuss the complex processes involved in making decisions. However, I found chapter 5 “I, Robot?” particularly interesting because Iyengar identified in several essays, the ways in which our choices are often “manipulated” by external factors beyond our control. Some of the noted examples from the chapter were the “Ballet Slippers” vs. “Adore-A-Ball” nail polish samples in “Neutral Observer,” color and trend predictions of fashion designers and retailers in “You Say Chicken, I Say Egg,” and bottled water vs. tap in “There Is A Difference.”
In each scenario, I was able to see myself and my decisions…like the occasions I’ve gone to the nail shop and found it difficult to select a neutral color in the “cotton candy” family or even going grocery shopping, I am often very particular about what “brand” of bottled water I purchase, even though I know there's probably not much difference. At this thought, I could not help but apply this theory to education and intellectual growth at SIUE.
In many instances, education marketability is competitive and very much like fashion “wearability.” If academic life is viewed as a trend, we may be able to identify some people who place values on how much they spend on their education or where they attend school (i.e. Harvard, WashU). If we acknowledge that such factors exist and are inevitably linked to the options we have and choices we make, what are some of the values that brought you to SIUE and how can we as scholars create an intellectual network of shared values here at SIUE as a model to market our growth and capabilities?