We mediators play midwife to decision making. We patiently assist in an arduous and sometimes painful process while parties labor, struggling to make the right choices in difficult circumstances. We strive to ensure that those who weigh those choices are able to reach rational decisions based on accurate and complete information.
But just how rational are the decisions that people make, whether at the mediation table or anywhere else? How much control do any of us really exert over those choices?
A new book has some surprising answers and explains why it is that we are more susceptible than we realize to the vagaries of our own minds and vulnerable to the forces of emotions and social norms. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, written by Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and a visiting professor at Duke University.
As much fun as the book (and of course more interactive) is the Predictably Irrational web site. Don’t miss the Demonstrations page with cool optical illusions and games you can test yourself with.
Diane Levin, J.D., is a mediator, dispute resolution trainer, negotiation coach, writer, and lawyer based in Marblehead, Massachusetts, who has instructed people from around the world in the art of talking it out. Since 1995 she has helped clients resolve disputes involving tort, employment, business, estate, family, and real property issues, and serves on numerous mediation panels, including the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Training and coaching are an enduring passion -- she has taught thousands of people to resolve conflict, negotiate better, or become mediators -- from Croatian judges to Fortune 500 executives.
A geek at heart, Levin consults on web design and social media to professionals. She blogs about ADR at the intersection of law, science, and popular culture at the award-winning MediationChannel.com, regarded as one of the world's top ADR blogs. She also tracks and catalogues ADR blogs world-wide at ADRblogs.com, where she has created a community for bloggers writing about constructive ways to resolve disputes.
web site: http://dianelevin.com