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We tend to invest heavily in our beliefs about the world and about ourselves.

The Decision (TV program) - Wikipedia

The more time and energy we invest in our beliefs —think money, effort, or pain — the more sunk costs we accumulate. The greater the sunk costs, the harder it becomes to change our mind. Whether or not we are actually right, we have strong convictions to believe that we are. Think about the last time you assembled a shelf.


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The first true defense to the commitment bias is developing an awareness about how it weighs in on our decision-making, and about the harm a certain rigidity in our decisions can cause us. Psychology professor and author Robert Cialdini suggests two approaches to recognizing when these biases are influencing our decision making.

Pre-commitment devices can be used to stave off procrastination and temptation in order to achieve goals. For example, if someone publicly commit to their intentions like going to the gym three times a week so they become more likely to follow through on their plans. The goal-setting platform created by behavioral economists at Yale University and draws on the principle of loss aversion.

For example, if a user wants to lose weight, the decision to not go to the gym may be coupled with the fear of loss see loss aversion —a cash penalty in the case of non-compliance. Smarter students received better opportunities which shaped them to be better students. This concept is notable in the field of finance.

LeBron James and his advisers reflect on The Decision - More Than An Athlete - ESPN+

Investors will often hold a position such as keeping a stock longer than would be advantageous, simply because they already committed to the investment. Pre-commitment strategies involve blocking out some of our future choices, in the knowledge that we will not have the willpower to resist them later.

Many tools are available which can help students make small commitments to reduce procrastination and increase their chances at attaining their academic goals. In the area personal finance, ample research has found that people sometimes purposefully choose not to access potentially helpful information, even when it is free and readily available, or ignore such information, even when it has been directly provided to them.

This corresponds to what Golman et al. Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. Hugill, Johhny. The Decision Lab. In Kessler, Eric H ed. Encyclopedia of Management Theory. Petrova, Petia K. Shakhina, Natalia. Staw, Barry M.

Step 2: Gather Information for Weighing Your Options

What is Extrinsic Incentive Bias? The extrinsic incentives bias is an attributional bias which indicates that people are more likely What is Affect Heuristic The affect heuristic is a mental shortcut used when making automatic decisions, whereby we rely heavily What is Anchoring Bias? Why people support their past ideas, even when presented with evidence that they're wrong? What is the Commitment Bias?

Decision-making process

Description The Decision Lab The Decision Lab is a think tank focused on creating positive impact in the public and private sectors by applying behavioral science. We are on a mission to democratize behavioral science. The Decision Lab The Decision Lab is a think tank focused on creating positive impact in the public and private sectors by applying behavioral science. How to Confront the Commitment Bias The first true defense to the commitment bias is developing an awareness about how it weighs in on our decision-making, and about the harm a certain rigidity in our decisions can cause us.

Once we have declared a decision, to be sure that we reach a quality decision, we need to get six elements right.

The Decision

We represent these elements as links in a chain because a decision is only as strong as the weakest link. If each element is strong, the decision is of high quality. If an element is seriously weak, the decision is no better than this element. Every one of the six elements is necessary to reach a quality decision: helpful frame, creative alternatives, useful information, clear values, sound reasoning, and commitment to follow through.

Thus, we can use the chain as a checklist in gauging the quality of a decision as we making it. I have identified what I truly want.

What to Read Next

I have generated a good set of alternatives. I have gathered the relevant information needed. I have evaluated the alternatives in light of the information to find the one that gets me the most of what I truly want. And I am committed to follow through on my choice. For more information about good decision making, download our booklet. Elements of the Decision Chain.


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