Decision-making

I've been keeping track of the various wedding/marriage related books I've read in the right sidebar, but I wanted to recommend a not specifically related to weddings book that I think would be helpful in the wedding planning process: How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. Here's what I wrote in my Goodreads review:
This was an excellent, accessible popular science book where the author actually knows what he's talking about (Tara Parker-Pope's For Better, I'm looking at you). The progression of the book made sense, examining the strengths and weaknesses of emotional and rational decision-making each in turn. The different points were illustrated with several real-world examples and tied to research studies, and the conclusions at the end were presented in a useful manner.

It's basically this kind of stuff that made me interested in psychology and neuroscience in the first place in school, in terms of trying to figure out why other people do what they do, since that often mystifies me from the outside. Of course, I eventually realized that I was utterly bored by actually having do the research that is summarized in a sentence or two here, and instead, I just liked learning about the conclusions and trying to apply them to real life.

If you enjoy thinking about thinking, you should read this book.
This is related to wedding planning in that I'm discovering lately that wedding planning could be characterized as a seemingly endless list of decisions to be made. I've gotten to the point where sometimes I'll just say, "eh, I don't have an opinion on this currently."

Anyway, what the book says about how you weigh different pieces of information to come to a logical conclusion, versus sleeping on something for a few days and letting it work itself out in the back of your mind, I think that thinking about those different ways of making decisions could help people planning big life events like weddings.

Also, somewhat related is this post from the world's tallest female econo-blogger, Megan McArdle, on the phenomenon of cold feet:
People's memories change--as Lori Gottlieb points out in Marry Him, scientists who interviewed couples in their first year of marriage, and then again seven years later, found that the happy couples had retroactively rewritten their meeting story to be more positive (love at first sight!) while the people who were having trouble, or divorced, now spoke about their meeting in much less positive terms.  This isn't necessarily fabrication; it's just that we pick and choose what we recall, and those who are happy will selectively recall the best parts, while those who are unhappy will accentuate the negative.

I've been at various weddings where bride or groom freaked out beforehand, and the degree of the freak out was not necessarily related to the happiness of the relationship.  You should be thinking hard about the decision to love someone and care for them no matter what happens...But of course if things go wrong, you'll naturally look back and think, "I wish I'd taken counsel of my fears!"
Robin wrote a similar post about getting cold feet but not thinking that that really has all that strong a connection to wanting to get married. I agree with both these smart ladies and will add in that just even though cold feet is a common deus ex machina in romantic comedies, that doesn't mean it's actually true in real life.

1 comments:

weddingness said...

I am intrigued by your comment about For Better. I started it this week and already I am rather annoyed by it, so we'll see how that works out.

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