Wednesday, January 23, 2013

AOC: The Art & Science of Making Choices

Haley Scholars Spring 2013 Reading Groups

In the opening of chapter of her book The Art of Choosing, Sheena Iyengar clarifies and expounds on the idea of making choices. "When we speak of choice," she writes, "what we mean is the ability to exercise control over ourselves and our environment. In order to chose, we must first perceive that control is possible."

According to Iyengar, who has done quite a bit of research on how and why people make certain choices, the ability to and perception of choices are often culturally situated and at times it appears biologically influenced.

Iyengar really covers a lot of ground, providing a variety of examples as she sets up the overall topic of choosing. I was fascinated by her description of "how much choice animals technically had was far less important than how much choice they felt they had." The idea that perceptions of choices matter a great deal intrigued me.

But what about you--what's one concept raised in the first chapter that drew your interest? In brief, explain why that concept or example was notable or intriguing to you.


Maya Estell said...

Maya Estell

Section three of chapter one entitled “choice on the mind” was the most interesting section and drew my interest most. This section explained how your brain is the biggest accessory involved in the process of choice making. I thought it very interesting that the author broke down the process of choice making and how it works inside of the brain. It discussed the location of this process and the parts such as the striatum and the prefrontal cortex. A lot of the information explained why we make the choices that we do when we are young, teenagers and adults. I thought that this is was very interesting because it is important to understand what role the brain plays in decision making before we go into dissecting it as a topic.

Jacqueline C said...

In the fourth section of Chapter One titled, "The Panther in the Gilded Cage," I was fascinated by it. It talked about how the need for control is "a powerful motivator."I strongly agree with this because when people or even animals feel out of control, they feel very helpless and weak,which is a feeling that we try to hide or not have at all.

breon anderson said...

One of the main things that drew my attetion in chapter one was the first page and how it talks about how people make of situations when together in groups. This interested for one reason is because it is true taht people do that the only question i still had is why we do it. Why talk about sad stories when in all reality we would never want to face those choices in are life so why bring them up in a joking matter.

Wole Abraham said...

Section three seemed to be the most interesting section to me. The brain is so important in the process of choosing.In the book it talks about how desiring to choose is something we are born with and it happens so naturally. The way the book expressed how the brain functions I really liked. This is vital to know because we make decisions daily.

Jenee' B. said...

I thought the second section, "Of Rats and Men", was very interesting. I agreed that feeling like you have some control definitely influences the choices you make. If one never succeeds they may learn to be helpless and they learn to simply give up when faced with a challenge. However, if they instead reach success and associate that with some amount of control they feel they possess, they probably will not give up in a difficult situation.

Mariah B. said...

The section that stuck out the most to me was "Of Rats and Men." This is because this is not only true for animals, but for humans as well. Just like some of the rats, some people give up without putting up a fight because they think they won't be able to do something. Instead of trying, they just decided to die. Some people feel like they don't have control over a situation so they feel like they just have to deal with it. For instance, some people that don't live in the best neighborhood or don't go to the best school feel like they don't have an equal chance to go to the best college or become something big in the future. They don't try as hard because they feel like it won't happen anyway.