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Irrational Thinking

Date: 05-31-08
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Ori Brafman, Rom Brafman, James Chiles, Alejandro Rojas

Lecturer Ori Brafman and his brother, psychologist Dr. Rom Brafman discussed their new book Sway, which looks at why people make irrational choices. "The way that we defined it," Rom said about irrational thinking, "is that it's about doing something that you know was the wrong decision afterwards."

One of the key motivators behind irrational thinking is the concept of "loss aversion." Ori explained, "we feel the pain of a loss so strongly, that we go to really extreme means to avoid that loss." He described this effect in the story of Jacob van Zanten, an airline captain who was concerned about a delay effecting his reputation for punctual flights. His haste to get the plane flying again ended up causing the largest airline disaster in history. According to Rom, this shift to irrational thinking is not automatic, rather a gradual change as fear of loss mounts, "a lot of times, people are just not aware of where they're going."

Additionally, perception is a factor that can contribute to irrational thought. "Once you attribute a value to something, either good or bad, that diagnosis sticks," said Ori. This was conveyed in the story of two anthropologists searching for the proverbial "missing link." Eugene Dubois, a relative unknown in the scientific world, discovered a prehistoric hominid species, but was dismissed by his peers. Charles Dawson, who was part of the established community, fashioned a hoax and claimed that he'd found the elusive connection between man and ape. Since he was well known and respected by his peers, no one bothered to check the validity of his purported findings.

Alien Video Reaction

During the first hour, MUFON spokesperson Alejandro Rojas, reacted to Stan Romanek's purported alien video. Rojas, who had been one of the speakers at the press conference which featured the video, explained that MUFON's role in the event was just to support Jeff Peckman and his ballot initiative for an "Extraterrestrial Commission." He expressed dismay at how the film was unveiled, saying "the way it was released was awful. It was a terrible idea." He also stressed that MUFON does not have a stance on the validity of the Romanek case.

Chinese Flood Evacuation

Appearing briefly at the start of the first hour, researcher James Chiles talked about the massive flood evacuation in China.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Saturday May 31, 2008

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