Can “Bad” Choices Make “Good” Results?
Have you ever made a bad choice and it turned into a good result, or, a good choice and it turned into a bad result?
Human beings have an infinite number of choices to make on a daily basis. Choices of what to wear in the morning, choices of whether to clean the desk at work, choices of what to eat for lunch, choices of whether to take a bus or cab, choices of whether to give a coin to the street child that approaches you, choices of whether to tell your work-mates how your weekend went, choices of whether to get angry at the nagging work-mates, choices of whether to post on social media.
Some choices are made consciously while others are not premeditated.
Whether the result of the choice turns out to be bad or good is significantly independent of whether the choice was made consciously or unconsciously but largely depends on how the choice is framed.
To illustrate how language and framing of the choice affects choice, consider the hypothetical scenarios below:
A. Imagine that you are a physician working in an African village, and 600 people have come down with a life-threatening disease. Two possible treatments exist:
1) If you choose treatment W, you will save exactly 200 people.
2) If you choose treatment X, there is a one-third chance that you will save all 600 people, and a two-thirds chance that you will save no one.
Which treatment do you choose, W or X?
B. Imagine that you are a physician working in an African village, and 600 people have come down with a life-threatening disease. Two possible treatments exist:
1) If you choose treatment Y, exactly 400 people will die.
2) If you choose treatment Z, there is a one-third chance that no one will die, and a two-thirds chance that everyone will die.
Which treatment do you choose, Y or Z?
Whereas choices 1 and 2 in scenario A are mathematically and respectively the same as choices 1 and 2 in scenario B, most people choose 1 in Scenario A and end up choosing 2 in scenario B because these choices have been framed in appealing language.
This uncontrollable attraction towards framing and appealing context is a reliable explanation as to why one can make a bad choice and it turns out to make good results or make a good choice and it turns out to make bad results.
Uganda’s Change From “A Pearl” To “A Small”.
Researchers from University of California, Berkeley, in the USA, have been convinced by their findings that, for Uganda to boost its tourism, it should embrace the brand name “Small Africa” instead of the current “Pearl of Africa”.
They suggest that the current brand name is “too wide” and doesn’t communicate why tourists should visit Uganda.
Whereas this observation could be valid, the proposed remedy is not only invalid but also more ineffectual.
Given the innate human bias towards appealing language, I have demonstrated up there, the name “Small Africa” is not only a broad day light mockery of Uganda but is also poised to demean Uganda thereby sabotaging tourism there, further.
The Oxford dictionary describes, “a pearl” as something of great worth and describes “small” as something insignificant, not great in amount, strength or power, or not fully developed.
A tourist psychologically expects more worthiness in a Pearl of Africa than in Small Africa.
So, to change its brand name from “Pearl of Africa” To “Small Africa”, is not only a counter-intuitive move but also a self-destructive one.