Societal Hierarchy Influences Choice Architecture

We’ve heard of the phrase “ignorance is bliss”, I’d say it is…for the most part. We “choose” to not understand certain things fully because we have trust in our subject matter experts. But when we do we give up the driver’s seat, hoping their judgement will be the best one for us. We forget that incentives are at play and that it may alter the decision making process.

The reason why I have the word choose in quotes is because choice can be altered by many psychological tools – belief, courage, confidence and trust in oneself. All of which we get from a sound support system, sense of community, education and everything in that realm. When you are confident/ have belief in your abilities you allow yourself to seek information, study concepts in depth and ultimately challenge them.

Our environment shapes our belief system and our belief system whether it is positive or negative shapes our actions and vice versa, concept also known as self – fulfilling prophecy. Now if the environment of an individual is deprived, so will their belief system and ultimately negatively affecting their ability to seek information and acting on it. This causes asymmetry of information and lack of sound decision making.

A good example of this is high costs of goods and services of equivalent and sometimes worse quality in poor neighborhoods. Economically deprived communities are more likely to be “food deserts”, with only convenience stores available, which have higher prices than regular grocery stores and a higher proportion of unhealthy food. Besides limiting consumer options, such communities face pretty low funding in education as well. Lack of sound support system and consumer options doesn’t nurture confidence and belief to explore and seek new information. For certain groups ignorance is not a choice, it’s the default option..which isn’t a blissful experience.

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