Why we think its OK to cheat and steal sometimes Dan Ariely
I want to talk to you today a little bit about predictable irrationality. And my interest in irrational behavior started many years ago in the . I was burned very badly. And if you spend a lot of time in , you’ll see a lot of types of irrationalities. And the one that particularly bothered me in the burn department.
Was the process by which the nurses took the bandage off me. Now, you must have all taken a BandAid off at some point, and you must have wondered what’s the right approach. Do you rip it off quickly short duration but high intensity or do you take your BandAid off slowly you take a long time, but each second is not as painful which one of those is the right approach? The nurses in my department thought that the right approach.
Was the ripping one, so they would grab hold and they would rip, and they would grab hold and they would rip. And because I had 70 percent of my body burned, it would take about an hour. And as you can imagine, I hated that moment of ripping with incredible intensity. And I would try to reason with them and say, quot;Why don’t we try something else? Why don’t we take it a little longer .
Maybe two hours instead of an hour and have less of this intensity?quot; And the nurses told me two things. They told me that they had the right model of the patient that they knew what was the right thing to do to minimize my pain and they also told me that the word patient doesn’t mean to make suggestions or to interfere or . This is not just in Hebrew, by the way. It’s in every language I’ve had experience with so far.
And, you know, there’s not much there wasn’t much I could do, and they kept on doing what they were doing. And about three years later, when I left the , I started studying at the university. And one of the most interesting lessons I learned was that there is an experimental method that if you have a question you can create a replica of this question in some abstract way, and you can try to examine this question,.
Maybe learn something about the world. So that’s what I did. I was still interested in this question of how do you take bandages off burn patients. So originally I didn’t have much money, so I went to a hardware store and I bought a carpenter’s vice. And I would bring people to the lab and I would put their finger in it, and I would crunch it a little bit.
(Laughter) And I would crunch it for long periods and short periods, and pain that went up and pain that went down, and with breaks and without breaks all kinds of versions of pain. And when I finished hurting people a little bit, I would ask them, so, how painful was this? Or, how painful was this? Or, if you had to choose between the last two, which one would you choose?.