How to Make Better Decisions

2008, Psychology  -   22 Comments
Ratings: 5.50/10from 34 users.

How to Make Better DecisionsWe are bad at making decisions. According to science, our decisions are based on oversimplification, laziness and prejudice.

And that’s assuming that we haven’t already been hijacked by our surroundings or led astray by our subconscious!

Featuring exclusive footage of experiments that show how our choices can be confounded by temperature, warped by post-rationalisation and even manipulated by the future, Horizon presents a guide to better decision making, and introduces you to Mathematician Garth Sundem, who is convinced that conclusions can best be reached using simple maths and a pencil! (Excerpt from

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22 Comments / User Reviews

  1. devlinwaugh

    i calculate everything,in my past (bad boy) i knew all women married or single cannot resist absolute excitement.I found no matter how dull sedentary they were or how extrovert they all responded to the same principle.I don't condone my actions but realized at an early age my actions affected all male and females in the same way.Now for a rely interesting fact i ate every sweet in the sweet shop and have been celibate for 10 years and still am.I payed my house off by the age of 22,i worked hard and did 3 jobs while i was in study.I am not good looking or wealthy the secret to what this documentary is trying to calculate is confidence.If you are confident you are 100% positive that is the correct decision,doubt is failure.I found most women and men found me attractive because i knew what i wanted, but not what i looked like my clothes or wealth.I do have children also happy,this docu is close but math cannot change peoples personality as they would have to act for there whole life and be something they are not.Basically in lay mans terms if you let your body and mind sync all can achieve anything.

  2. Godsclaws

    what a bad doco. How stupid is it to think you can get a woman based on mathematical percentages??????? They didnt factor in whether the women liked witty conversationlists, whether they were drunk, whether they had a bf already etc etc etc. not even finishing this doco....

  3. ObjectiveWesterner

    Didn't even finish watching this incredibly stupid documentary. A mathematical equation that relies on subjective self-ratings? How would we apply such an equation to choosing whether to paint your shed blue or red? Sub-standard stuff.

  4. Radient

    this documentary seems to also be broaching topic of how neural networks or what Hubbard referred to as "engrams" can effect a person's decision making ability. In regard to the "top gun" pilots, I have seen reports that they are instructed to not consume garlic no mor than 24 hours before a flight mission. The reason given is that garlic reduces speed of the neural systems. And that having optimum neural speed (speed from transport of sensory information from the sense organ to the brain), processing the sensory information and sending a response signal to the muscle groups that will manifest that response.

  5. Carl Frodge

    Every British documentary has great music. The odds of this are 9/10.

  6. Anton

    Wow, this documentary was not at all what I expected, in a disappointing way. I thought it would be covering more explanation and what really is going on in our brains. This just seems like they filmed som experiments and forgot to bring all the questions they were gonna research back on the desk.

  7. cezy

    a very nicely dumbed down version of the expected utility theory and its critiques: loss aversion, framing etc. if any of you is interested in furthering the knowledge, read kahneman and tversky or watch dan ariely on TED

    1. Omar Molina Pinto

      thanks man!

  8. Beast

    Ha ha People are not Logic machines and why would they want to be !

    Getting a date has little to do with logical factors ..

  9. chandler

    i liked this. decisions are influenced by mood, what happened just before, and possibly by warmth or cold.

  10. TipsyKipsy

    I rather enjoyed this one - it touched on a couple things I already knew... but there were quite a few things I enjoyed, particularly the hot drink/cold drink.

    Personally, I didn't find the math accurate in a mathematical sense so much as interesting to see how it affected people in a psychological sense. It did seem like a batch of arbitrary number crunching, but what it comes down to is how the 'results' affected people. Which I think is rather the fun part.

  11. akarui

    I noticed his equations do not even work for floating point numbers. When suggested a value of 7.5 he asked his subject to either pick 7 or 8

  12. Karen

    Does a warm handshake have more influence? How long is the priming period? If the conversation is long do the benefits disappear?

  13. Paul

    I agree with Clray. Mixing in precognition is just silly and there was wayyy too much cred given to our wacky math professor. His equations were such a sideshow. What a gimmick. A grade 3 student's conception of odds would yield the same thing. Am I better looking than her? Is she fairly drunk? (let's hope a grade 3 never asks this one...) Have any other guys hit on her? Looks like I have a chance. You don't need algebra for that one, folks. You don't even need grade 4.
    I'd also like to take a peek at the COMPLETE data for that hot/cold drink experiment. And what kind of experiment let's a confederate ask questions when he has an obvious bias? tsk tsk. The slightest difference in facial expression is all it would take to lean the interviewee in one direction or the next. It might not be the drink at all. It just might be the interviewer.
    By far the most fascinating part of the doc was the card trick/faces thing. Watching people justify a choice they did not make was really interesting. But the doc should have mentioned that this would only work when the faces are quite similar. If the question was 'which person is more attractive?' There is no way I'd confuse an ugly girl and a beautiful girl.
    what's crucial here is that the individuals are close enough in appearance that the differences between them are negligible, or that the interviewee's decision is whimsical and not based on anything substantial.

  14. me

    excellent. part 2 sometimes doesn't show image ?

  15. Mo

    there was one instant where they contradicted themselves. They said at the beginning that you need to make decisions without being emotional or without thinking before acting (the betting example or the shoes picking), and then at the end they tell us that intuition should be trusted (the pilots example) "where we can actually predict the near future"..that's what i hate about many documentaries like this where they lay out some great new idea at the beginning and grab your attention only to dismiss it (i dont know if it was intentional) towards the end..

  16. clray

    This vid mixes some legitimate ideas (prospect theory, priming) with bullshit ("math" guy's formulas, psychics). Overall, a rather mediocre documentary.

  17. Andre

    I didnt even watch past the six minute mark, 1st off the guy that says that he can get you a date doesn't wear a helmet on his bike, what kind of "good decision" making does he have,

    and second off, if your really smart and you want to pick up women you should look at documentaries about Pick Up Artists, for example the mystery method

  18. Artemis

    Very helpful information, only to start us to think about making decisions and how we stick to them later on.

    Each message in the movie provokes new questions and is a research subject of its own.

    For example, how much emotional center(amygdala) and reasoning center (frontal cortex) of the brain contribute to decision making and, to the quality of the outcome?

    Is precognition a form of premonition, such that, humans actually can see the near future as well as a few seconds ahead? When does a premonition turn into a vision that actually shapes it?

    And, yes, in how may different ways can we be manipulated by subliminal signals and messages? How much of our decisions are based on subconscious content and how much are really made consciously? I bet ya, for most of us, much basis of decision making resides in the subconscious. But, do we dare to study 'consciousness'? Or are we lost in scientific bigotry to take on brave subjects like that?

  19. Axel

    Amazing show. Great information. This certainly changed my perspective on making decisions

  20. Andy

    If you'd want to know what decision to make according to math, you'd almost need to know the position and velocity of EVERY atom in the universe, but that's impossible, since you can't know the position ANNNND the velocity of anything at the same time.