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By George Ainslie
Ainslie argues that our responses to the specter of our personal inconsistency confirm the elemental cloth of human tradition. He means that people are extra like populations of bargaining brokers than just like the hierarchical command constructions envisaged via cognitive psychologists. this angle is helping us comprehend loads that's difficult in human motion and interplay: from self-defeating behaviors to willfulness, from pathological over-control and self-deception to subtler different types of habit reminiscent of altruism, sadism, playing, and the "social construction" of trust.
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Figure 2B. Hyperbolic discount curves from two rewards of different sizes available at different times. The smaller reward is temporarily preferred for a period before it is available, as shown by the portion of its curve that projects above that from the later, larger reward. long they’ll be motivated not only to choose the later, larger reward but somehow to forestall the change of choice that occurs as D gets shorter. Like the pigeons that learned to peck the colored key to forestall the tempting, other-colored key, subjects might have learned ways to make up for this tendency.
As time passes (rightward along the horizontal axis), the motivational impact – the value – of her goals gets closer to its undiscounted size, which is depicted by the vertical line. ter coat cheaply every spring, for instance, because the distance to the next winter would depress Ms. H’s valuation of it more than Ms. E’s. Ms. E could then sell the coat back to Ms. H every fall when the approach of winter sent Ms. H’s valuation of it into a high spike. 9 Thus exponential curves seem not only rational, in the sense that they’re consistent, but also adaptive.
Utility theory says that reward is sought, and more is better than less. Period. It allows delayed reward to be devalued, of course; but this in itself doesn’t suggest why we seek at one 25 The Puzzle of Akrasia time the same reward we reject at another. There is still no reason to have a will or for that will to require effort. 3 SUMMARY The puzzle of self-defeating behavior has provoked two kinds of explanation, neither of which has been adequate. Cognitive theories have stayed close to introspective experiences of the will and its failure but have shrunk from systematic causal hypotheses, perhaps because they make a person seem too mechanical.
Breakdown of Will by George Ainslie