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  1. 6/4/2018 CONTENT TAOIST PHILOSOPHY AND DECISION MAKING: INTERPRETING THE PHENOMENON MAXIMIZATION PARADOX OF Role of Belief 1 Introduction 4 Taoist Philosophy 2 5 Experiments Maximization Paradox Discussion and Conclusion 3 6 Li Hong Luan Mo Department of Psychology TsinghuaUniversity, Beijing, China 1. INTRODUCTION PHY? WHY TAOIST PHILOSO Perennial philosophy We make decisions everyday, and we always want to make right decisions and avoid wrong decisions, such as choosing a good job, and selecting a A+B+ C mind Psychology good major. Then, what a right decision is, for example, what is a good A+B+C+D+E Spirit mysticism job?And what is a good major? A+B life Biology We may think that there is the best answer for each of these questions. However, it does not, based on Taoist philosophy. A+B+C+D Soul theology A matter physics 1

  2. 6/4/2018 1. INTRODUCTION 2. TAOIST PHILOSOPHY Taoist philosophy is a great philosophy in China, which is also an There is not an absolute right or wrong decision from the whole influentialphilosophy in the world.This philosophy was originally perspectives, though there is if we only look things at one or two aspects in a short period. proposed by Lao Zi (571-500BC). Tao Te Ching consists of 5000 words in 81 chapters. However, it is not easy for us to understand the truth. Taoist philosophy not only describes the truth but also explains the reason of why there is not the absolute right or wrong decision. CHANGE THREE WORDS TO INTRODUCE TAOIST PHILOSOPHY Change Lao Zi said: “rain cannot last forthe whole morning, and winds cannot last forthe whole day”. (飘⻛不终朝,骤雨不终日) Dialectical Non-interference (无为) This is the evidence of natural change. All things change, nothing is eternal but change. 2

  3. 6/4/2018 EAST SUNRISE WEST RAIN HEAVEN AND EARTH CHANGE, AND SO DO PEOPLE When we were born, we have 14 billion brain cells. The reducing speed of the brain cell is a hundred thousand a day after18 years old. ENLIGHTENING TO DECISION-MAKING LIFE TRACK Since nothing is eternal but change, there is not the absolute right or wrong decision. Cell division born Fertilized egg Today, it is a good job, tomorrow it might be not; today, it is a good major, tomorrow it might be not. 18 years Time has changed, and everything has changed.When it comes, embrace it; 14 billion Brain cell A hundred thousand and when it leaves, let it go. 40 years Hard to see clearly Before death Hard to remember Hard to hear clearly 60 years 70 years 3

  4. 6/4/2018 DIALECTICAL ONLY WANT ONE FISH Have you ever wondered why life comes in opposites? Why everything you value is one of a pairof opposites? Why all decisions are between opposites? Why all desires are based on opposites? What is the reason? Is the opposite the natural principle or man-made? If right or wrong isjustdifferentaspects of one thing, how do we determine which one is right or wrong? HOW DO WE DETERMINE WHICH FISH WE WANT? WHICH ONE IS GOOD? Lao Zi said: “When people know beauty as beauty, there arises ugliness”. (天下皆知美之为美斯恶已) Lao Zi also said: “When people know good as good, there arises evil”. (皆知善之为善斯不善已) 4

  5. 6/4/2018 ENLIGHTENING TO DECISION-MAKING ENLIGHTENING TO DECISION-MAKING Forseeking to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, we have forgotten entirely that the positive is defined only in terms of the The root of the whole difficultyis our tendency to view the opposites as negative.The opposites might indeed be as different as day and night, totally set apart and divorced from one another. and the essential point is that without night we would not even be able to The point is the line distinguishes the opposites as well as joins them. recognize day. To destroy the negative is, at the same time, to destroy all possibilities of enjoying the positive. concave convex NON-INTERFERENCE ENLIGHTENING TO DECISION-MAKING Follow natural principle Lao Zi said: “The 天之道,利⽽不害 Since nothing is absolute but relative, there is not the pure right decision. rm. Tao of heaven blesses, but does not ha Do not contend against natural principle From one side it is good, from the other side it might be not; from one side, “The way of people ⼈之道,为⽽不争 it is bad, from the otherside it might be not. is to do what he can but do not contend.” Everything is dialectical, and everythinghas two sides. “Tao never does, yet 道常无为⽽无不为 through it everything is done.” Everything is settled in nature 5

  6. 6/4/2018 ENLIGHTENING TO DECISION-MAKING UNIVERSALITY OF TAOIST PHILOSOPHY “Heaven spreads a boundlessnet, and none could escape through its meshes.” Do what you can and leave the rest to God’s will. 天网恢恢,疏⽽不失 3. MAXIMIZATION PARADOX MAXIMIZER AND SATISFICER Schwartz et al. (2002) divided people into maximizers and satisficers based About half a century ago, Simon (1955, 1956, 1957) introduced an on Simon’s classic theory, and found that the decision process is quite important distinction between maximizing and satisficing.To maximize different between these two kinds of decision makers. is to seek the best and requires an exhaustive search of all possibilities. To satisfice is to seek ‘‘good enough,’’searching until encountering the first acceptable one. 6

  7. 6/4/2018 MAXIMIZERS ARE LESS HAPPY DESCRIPTION OF THE PHENOMENON Shortly afterSchwartz et al. (2002), various studies found that maximizers Maximizers invest more time when making decisions, explore more options, are less happy and less optimistic than satisficers. The result of the and compare more choices, but they feel more negative about what they Maximization Scale was consistently positively correlated with regret have chosen. and negatively correlated with happiness. This phenomenon is described as maximization paradox. THEORETICAL INTERPRETATIONS THEORETICAL INTERPRETATIONS Dar-Nimrod et al. (2009) described the maximization paradox as a pattern Polman (2010) argued that the maximization paradox occurs because whereby maximizers tend to sacrifice resources to attain additional maximizers not only maximize the likelihood of realizing a positive options, which ultimately reduces theirsatisfaction. outcome, but, in so doing, also maximize theirlikelihood of realizing a negative outcome. 7

  8. 6/4/2018 THEORETICAL INTERPRETATIONS INSUFFICIENT INTERPRETATIONS Iyenagrand colleagues (2006) argued that compare with satisficers, We believe that these researchers provide part but insufficient maximizers incursearch costs, and opportunity costs.As a result, no interpretationsof the maximization paradox. matter how well they do, maximizers feel worse than satisficers. They do not answer the fundamental question of why maximizers and satisficers do differently? HOW WOULD LAO ZI VIEW THE MAXIMIZATION PARADOX? HOW LAO ZI WOULD VIEW THE MAXIMIZATION PARADOX? According to Taoist philosophy, only when one distinguishes beauty does According to Taoist philosophy, when people do not distinguish things as one create the ugliness. Only when one distinguishes good does one valuable, they remain focused on the oneness of all things and do not create evil. Then, why maximizers and satisficers seek differently? become confused in the material world. The gist is that maximizers and satisficers possess the different beliefs in whetherthere is an objective best. 8

  9. 6/4/2018 4. ROLE OF BELIEF IN DECISION-MAKING WHAT WE ARE CONCERNED? We are concerned with the fundamental reason of why maximizers consistently attempt to maximize theirchances and invest heavily, but Imagine that if you do believe in an objective satisficers do not. best, then, what would happen? Otherwise, if you do not believe in an objective best, what would happen? IMPORTANT GAP IN MAXIMIZATION LITERATURE DECISIONS CANNOT BE MADE WITHOUT BELIEFS This omission is striking because decisions cannot be made without decision However, in so far literature,few research focus on how “belief” influences makers’beliefs; they eitherbelieve that the best is objective or that the maximization tendency.We attempt to furtherclarify the maximization best is subjective. paradox by introducing “belief” that the best is eitherobjective or subjective.This work addresses an important gap in maximization literature. 9

  10. 6/4/2018 BELIEF IN OBJECTIVE BEST VERSUS OBJECTIVE BEST OUR BASIC ASSUMPTION If people believe that the best is objective regardless of theirown preference, We assume that the belief that there is an objective best motivates then they have a belief in an objective best.Abelief in an objective best maximizers to expend considerable efforts to identify it. differs from the objective best per se. OUR RESEARCH QUESTION HYPOTHESIS 1 We hypothesize that the maximization paradox appears for maximizers Whether belief in an objective best plays an important role in connecting because they believe that the best is objective, and the belief mediates the maximizing to the maximization paradox (i.e., expending more effort but relationship between a maximizing tendency and the maximization feeling more regret)? paradox. 10

  11. 6/4/2018 HYPOTHESIS 2 HYPOTHESIS 3 We also hypothesize that belief in an objective best leads to the We furtherhypothesize that the presence of a dominant option eliminates maximization paradox for randomly chosen decision makers. the effect of belief in an objective best on the maximization paradox. 5. EXPERIMENTS EXPERIMENT 1 In this experiment, participantswere asked to select the best course from 10 given courses, and then they indicated their belief in an objective best Experiment 1 and theirregret about theirselections.Aftera 10-min distraction, they were asked to complete the Maximization Scale. Experiment 2A & 2B Experiment 3 11

  12. 6/4/2018 MEDIATING EFFECT OF BELIEF RESULTS Table 1. DecisionTime, Belief in an Objective Best, and Regret of Maximizers and Satisficers Maximizers Satisficers t(108) p d M 95%CI M 95%CI Decision time 104.17 76.85 (67.33,86.71) 2.844 0.54 0.004 (90.17, 120.81) Regret 3.39 2.80 0.038 (3.00, 3.77) (2.41, 3.20) 2.098 0.39 4.41, 5.11) 4.77 0.005 Belief in an objective best 3.76, 4.39) 2.844 0.53 4.07 Figure 2A. The statistics above the horizontalarrow indicate the direct effect of maximizing tendencyon decision time, not accountingfor belief in an objective best as the mediator.The statistics below the horizontalarrow indicate the indirecteffect of maximizing tendencyon decision time, with belief in an objective best includedas the mediator. EXPERIMENT 2A & 2B MEDIATING EFFECT OF BELIEF In this experiment, we examined whetherthe manipulated belief in an objective best leads to longerdecision time and more regret. In experiment 2A, participants were asked to complete an objective or subjective manipulation and then to choose the best picture among five. Figure 2B. The statistics above the horizontalarrow indicate the direct effect of maximizing tendencyon regret, not accountingfor belief in an objective best as the mediator.The statistics below the horizontalarrow indicate the indirecteffect of maximizing tendencyon regret, with belief in an objective best includedas the mediator. 12

  13. 6/4/2018 EXPERIMENT 2A & 2B EXAMPLE In experiment 2B, we replicated the procedure conducted in experiment 2A, but changed the materials of the decision task from 5 to 30 pictures. RESULTS DISCUSSION Experiments 2Aand 2B show that the effect of belief in an objective best is Table 2. Effects of Belief on DecisionTime and Regret (Results of Experiment 2A& 2B) robust across assortment size. Maximizers Satisficers t p d M 95%CI M 95%CI 56.53 44.24 0.013 Decision time 2A (48.81, 65.71) (39.46, 50.01) 2.56 0.48 (2.04, 2.70) (1.54, 2.11) 2.42 0.45 0.017 2.36 1.85 Regret 187.42 139.52 0.038 153.24, 227.43) 118.72,162.77) 2.10 0.41 2B Decision time (2.38, 3.26) 1.81, 2.51) 2.43 0.46 2.81 2.15 0.017 Regret 13

  14. 6/4/2018 EXPERIMENT 3 RESULTS In Experiment 3, we attempt to examine whetherthe presence of a A B C D E 1.00 0.01 0.07 dominant option serves as a moderator between belief in an objective 0.90 PERCENTAGE OF CHOSEN FOR EACH CHOICE 0.80 0.25 best and the maximization paradox. 0.70 0.60 0.21 0.50 0.99 0.40 0.27 0.30 0.20 0.10 0.19 0.00 no-dominant-option one-dominant-option Fig. 3 Proportionsfor each choice under the no-dominant-optionconditionand one-dominant –option condition. RESULTS RESULTS A2 (Belief: Objective versus Subjective) ×2 (Presence of a Dominant Option:Y es versus Similarly,anANOV Aof regretalso revealedan interactionbetweenthe presence No)ANOV Aof decision timerevealed an interaction between the presence of a η2 of the dominantoption and belief (F(1,131) = 4.50, p = 0.036, = 0.03).As η2 dominant option and belief (F (1,131) = 5.14, p = 0.025, = 0.04).As predicted, a belief expected, participants with beliefs in an objective best felt more regretfulin the absence of a dominantoption (Mobjective= 2.79,Msubjective= 2.06, p = 0.007) than in the presenceof a dominantoption (Mobjective= 1.2,Msubjective = 1.27, p > 0.25). in an objective best led to a longerdecision timeonly when there was no dominant = 74.88 seconds,M choice (no-dominant-optioncondition: M = 57.45 objective subjective = 23.11 seconds,M seconds, p = 0.024; one-dominant-optioncondition: M objective subjective = 30.06 seconds, p > 0.25). 14

  15. 6/4/2018 Belief in a Subjective Best Belief in an Objective Best Belief in a Subjective Best Belief in an Objective Best 3.5 101 91 3 81 2.5 71 DECISION TIME 2 61 REGRET 51 1.5 41 1 31 21 0.5 11 0 1 no-dominant-option one-dominant-option no-dominant-option one-dominant-option Fig. 4b Regret with belief and the presence of a dominant option as independentvariables.The error bars represent 95% confidence intervals. Fig. 4a Decision time with belief and the presence of a dominant option as independent variables. Decision time was displayed in seconds.The error bars represent 95% confidence intervals. 6. DISCUSSIONAND CONCLUSION MAIN FINDINGS Experiment 1 demonstrates that belief in an objective best serves as the fundamental We explore the role of belief in an objective best in the maximization paradox. mechanism that connects maximizingand the maximization paradox. Experiments 2Aand 2B show that randomly chosen decision makers spend more timeon the decision-making Across three experiments, controlled laboratory settings were used with three process and feel more regret about the decision outcome once they believe that the best is different scenarios. objective. Experiment 3 demonstrates that belief in an objective best leads to maximization paradox only when the objective attributes created ambiguous trade-offs across choice Substantial and robust influences of belief in an objective best on the decision options but not in situations in which a clearly dominant option exists. process and subjective feelings were found. 15

  16. 6/4/2018 ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATIONS ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATIONS Second, Dar-Nimrod et al. (2009) described the maximization paradox as a First, Polman (2010) interpreted the paradox as maximizing both positive pattern whereby maximizers tend to sacrifice resources to attain more and negative outcomes. Our experiments fixed the number of choices options, which ultimately reduces theirsatisfaction. In our experiment, and found that participants felt more regret as long as we manipulated regardless of whetherindividualswere maximizers or satisficers, once theirbelief in objective best, even if they were not allowed to search for they held a belief in an objective best, they felt more regretful.The gist is more options.Thus, maximizing positive and negative outcomes may not that satisficers also felt more regret when they held a belief in an be the essential reason for maximization paradox. objective best. Thus, suggesting that believing in an objective best is the underlyingreason of regret. ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATIONS BELIEF THE PARADOX Third, Iyengaret al. (2006) argued that maximizers invest heavily, which incurs more costs. Hence, maximizers feel worse than satisficers no Through the three experiments, we demonstrate that it is the belief rather matter how well they do.As our understanding, maximizers feel worse than the objective best, leads to maximization paradox.Abelief in an not only because of the cost but also because they cannot identify which objective best motivates maximizers to identify it, for which they expend one worth it. considerable effort but they do not really know where it is. That is the reason why they feel regret regardless of theirdecisions. 16

  17. 6/4/2018 CONCLUSION: WHERE IS TAO? TAOIST PHILOSOPHY AND DECISION MAKING Tao is abstract, empty and formless, but it can be embodied in concrete Tao says nothing is eternal but change, so there is not the things, so its use is inexhaustible for it is deep, bottomless, endless, absolute right or wrong decision. boundless, whence come all concrete things. Tao says nothing is absolute but relative, so there is not the pure In one word, we cannot see Tao, but Tao is everywhere, which governs the universe,and our life. best decision. Tao says only when does not interfere can all things develop freely, so just follow theTao. Do yourbest and leave the rest to God’s will. If you want to find a job, do yourbest in the process, but leave the result to God’will. REFERENCE: Mo Luan & Hong Li (2017). Maximization Paradox: Result of Believing in an Objective Best . Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(5), 652-661. Mo Luan & Hong Li (2017). Good enough—compromise between desirability and feasibility:An alternative perspective on satisficing. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 70: 110-116. 17