Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A.O.C.: Choosing with less of a focus on being right

Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups   

By Danielle Hall

In chapter 7 of The Art of Choosing, Sheena Iyengar discusses the long-term effects of making difficult decisions, especially when we must assign value to people we love or become accountable for more than just our own quality of life. Under such circumstances, she points to how we often seek sources of "authority and expertise to alleviate the burden of a difficult decision" (236). 

One thing that stood out in this reading was the "cake and death" concept, that is a clear desirable answer vs. a non-desirable one. Iyengar notes, however, that two seemingly different choices can be rooted in a similar "psychological process" (217).

What particular useful insight did you gain from Iyengar's discussion of choice in this chapter? What made that idea of issue particularly useful?


Nicholas M. said...

One thing that stood out to me in this reading was the effect of the different choosing experineces of both the American and French Parents. In each case, both parents had been through the death of an infant child.In France, the doctors made the decision to withdraw life-sustaning medical treatmenet of the infant, but in America, parents had to make the decision to withdraw treatement.

Both of the groups were grieving, but the French parents seemed to be coping better than the American parents. The American parents felt they had a direct role in the death of their infant because they were given a choice, whereas the French parents did not and thought the doctors made the right decision.

If the doctors make the decision to end treatment and explain why they made that decison, it would provide more closure for the parents, which explains why the French parents seemed to be coping better than the American parents.

Jamila M said...

One thing that stood out to me is, even though a decision may be difficult, a person feels more confident in their ability to make that decision when they are fully informed. I believe it is human nature to trust those with titles and few ask questions but as the common man became more educated they began to see how paternalism was irresponsible. Subsequently, decisions should be made by the families after being advised by the physician.

Brenda W. said...

One particular insight I gained from this chapter was how people handle making difficult choices. People, especially Americans, always want the freedom to make their own choices no matter what the situation is. But in certain cases, like Susan and Mitchell's, making the decision to take their daughter Barbara off life support left them feeling distraught and empty. Sometimes getting influence or direction from an expert could change your whole outlook on the situation. The French parents had a more positive view on the terrible situation because they felt it was meant to be. Since they did not make the decision, they had no guilt or no "what ifs". Being in a situation like that it is sometimes hard or even impossible to make the right decision. Advice or influence from experts can never hurt and I feel everybody can learn alot about how to handle difficult decisions from this chapter.

Yasmyn K. said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Chapter 7. My sister suffers from a degenerative disorder and my mom had to make a decision to allow my sister to undergo very extensive surgeries. Of course the thought of my big sister undergoing dangerous surgeries scared me and my family, but my mom (after many prayers) decided to go through with the surgeries. Even though my sister is still suffering from the hereditary disease, she is living a more "comfortable" life because of my mom's decision. Chapter 7 really hit close to home for me.

Tiara Y. said...

This chapter really stood out to me because decision making is something that is very important to me. I tend to over think things and if I make a decision that I begin to second guess , it raises my stress level. As mentioned in the chapter I think that good decision making is based on how knowledgable one is regarding the situation at hand . I personally make sure that I properly educate myself around the subject or object.