The Human Mind: Exploring Happiness

As he often does, my friend Omer pointed me to some great new ideas, this time from the TED conference which I hope to attend some day!

I really enjoyed these two videos of Dan Gilbert, when he presented at TED in 2004 and 2005.  Both videos are really about happiness, Dan’s field of study, but the second gets into a really interesting discussion on how we estimate (and mis-estimate) value.  For example, why would you pay $25 for a Big Mac?

My favourite thing from this next lecture is how he illustrates errors the perception of odds:  Would you buy a single lottery ticket for $1 if the rest of the tickets (say 99) were all purchased by the same person?  Chances are you would say no.  But the odds are no different for you if all of those other tickets were owned by different people, and people play the lottery all the time.

You will also notice from that last lecture that there are many of the fundamentals of marketing illustrated in a fairly scientific way.  It will make you think twice the next time you buy that bottle of wine, or a Big Mac!


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