Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Researchers show human choice is not rational

See also

Researchers from the Modeling Animal Decisions team at the University of Bristol led by Professor John McNamara of Bristol's School of Mathematics have shown that human decision making that involves choice is not rational in research that was presented in the Jan. 14, 2014, edition of the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters.

The results of the study were based on a comparison of primate behavior in selecting food options and the similar behavior of people in selecting houses.

This is the first research that did not rely on the individual changing their minds about and option and the first that proves that two of the key principles of rationality, regularity and transitivity, are not necessarily a function of human choices nor are the two principles of rationality necessary for making the optimum choice for a given individual in a given situation.

Regularity can be considered equivalent to consistency. Transitivity is based on the idea that if a person has a choice of three items in which the third is preferable to the other two by direct comparison the person would rationally opt for the third choice.

Irrational behavior in humans can be attributed to an evolutionary inheritance of the same behavior in primates. Irrational behavior in humans is predicated on the optimal choice having some perceived advantage to the choice maker even if the perceived advantage is neither rational nor actually exists.

Advertisement

News

  • Israel, Hamas clash in Gaza
    Hamas claims to have captured an IDF soldier on the bloodiest day of the conflict
    Video
    Video
  • Missing bodies
    38 bodies have not been found from the MH17 debris field in eastern Ukraine
    World News
  • Peeping Toms in NSA?
    Has the NSA seen you naked? Edward Snowden says it's not unlikely
    NSA
  • Autism study
    The newest, largest study on autism suggests that it mostly has to do with genetics
    Science
  • McIlroy takes Open
    Rory McIlroy hangs onto the lead and wins the 2014 British Open
    Sports
  • $23 billion payout
    A jury sides with the widow of a smoker, tobacco company shells out $23 billion
    Headlines

Related Videos:

  • Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/O4KxesvbiMU?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Orbital Sciences rocket brings supplies and experiments to space station
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318477" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518318477&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Liftoff Apollo 11
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zGNryrsT7OI?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>