Decision Fatigue


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I've been reading up on this over the weekend and thought I would post a few things up.

Wall Street Maven Weblog » Blog Archive » Decision Fatigue and What Traders Should Know about the Science of Making Decisions

Now I've recognised it, I can address the issue. It's certainly something I've suffered on a frequent basis.

Is it decision fatigue or information overload? I would suggest that it is very easy to overload your charts with indicators and research all sorts of data which just max the brain out. Keep it nice and simple -- no overload, no fatigue.


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That piece about Parole boards is fascinating ......and not surprising

when I Interview I am always trying to be very aware of being balanced and Fair...because a 9.30am interview on a wednesday is going to feel a lot more different to a 4.30pm interview on a Friday !



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While I believe the phenomenon is quite reasonable, I think there is a hidden implication here which has not been demonstrated so clearly, particularly in the case of the parole officers.

The parole officers are more likely to give parole to an inmate in the morning than later on in the day. Fine. I can believe so. Buy why is the implication that the decision in the afternoon is worse? Perhaps none of the inmates should have been given parole, and the decision in the morning was the wrong one, and the decisions became better over the course of the day as the morning effect wore off.

I know there are other examples, but you have to be careful about these hidden suggestions which have no real foundation, and the causes they attribute to various effects. Perhaps people are just super happy in the morning and more likely to give positive answers, and it has nothing to with lots of decisions fatiguing the brain.


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I agree with your reasoning Shakone, however the notion of right or wrong may be misleading.
My understanding of the article was that people when fuelled up were more likely to put in the effort to assess the information upon which a decision is made, not that the decision was right or wrong.
The other article where they used car-options, the article pointed out that people started to accept "default" options, ie, not thinking as much, and essentially putting off making a decision, or accepting the status quo.

If the default for the prisoners was to let them go, rather than keep them in, perhaps the judges, once exhausted, may have decided to accept or defer thinking by accepting the "default" option.
Not quite the same as making the right or wrong decisions, more a case of thinking more in the early stages, then accepting easier or non-decisions later in the day.
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Senior member
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Yes agreed Trendie. I know the article doesn't explicitly state it is better or right, but it seems to be a hidden implication. I do believe in the effect, but I often believe there are good and bad to these things. For example you mention the effort being used to assess the information. Well there was a recent TED talk in which the speaker discussed how we often make better decisions using less information than more, or that our first impressions are often the same as our final impressions. This still requires effort to go over 'some' info, but it can indicate decisions are possibly better with less info, or even instinctive in some cases, and making the effort to go over every detail might not help you. In fact perhaps the elss info the less decision fatigue.

It's an interesting field in many ways. I'm intrigued by some of these theories and books about how we think, and other ways to think and when we should use logic and when to use instinct. There are some good books out there on these nowadays.

Thanks for the articles YouAreNotFree, interesting in any case.


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Interesting articles. Thank you for sharing, YouAreNotFree.

Our brain is really powerful, but it needs substantial rest. Decision fatigue can always set in and we should guard against it.
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