Decisiveness In School
Processing information and finalizing difficult decisions
To practice Decisiveness, I will:
- consider multiple options
- not look back once I’ve decided
- follow through on decisions
- use principles as the basis for decisions
- make good decisions despite peer pressure
– Bill Croskey
I’m reminded of a family dinner held in a restaurant a few years back. My nephew declared that he wanted to wait until everyone else had ordered because he did not want to order an entree that someone else had already chosen. He said that defeated the purpose of going out to eat. It got me thinking about peer pressure and some research I had seen.
Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, along with Jonathan Levav, did an interesting piece of research on the influence of peer pressure on how patrons order in a bar or restaurant. To test for the influence of peer pressure, “group context,“ on individual decisions in a natural setting, they collected lunch order slips from a popular Chinese restaurant in Durham, North Carolina. Lunch orders were of uniform size and price, and, unlike the usual custom in Chinese restaurants, were served as individual portions and not shared. They found that when the diners were asked to order “privately” (on paper), they selected different food items than when they ordered in front of other diners, their peers. The group context had a strong and significant influence on individual decision-making and how varied their choices were. And peers influenced their satisfaction with their choice. This also showed up in studies they did with beer and wine. (What do you mean, “Where do I sign up?”) Of course, what was being chosen was impacted by the food item, taste, diner’s previous experience, and other factors. But the take away from it, for Ariely and his colleagues, is that we are influenced in our choices by the peer group we belong to. This is probably not news, but it is reassuring to have some proof.