I asked one of my favorite thinkers — Rory Sutherland who always has interesting opinions — to reflect on Valentine’s Day.
Watch it to learn how London cabbies are a lot like the ideal boyfriend.
This is absolutely spot on. Many years ago my then boyfriend gave me a set of cheap flatware for Valentines Day – a nice present you might think but bereft of any romantic spirit. I mentioned this to my Father, who was a man of few words, and he said, ” if he is giving you this type of present during the first year of your relationship, you can be sure that he won’t be doing better after marriage. If romance is important to you, ditch him now.”
Sorry to disagree, but men who buy Valentine’s Day gifts have a motivation here that Sutherland totally ignores, and that is – currying the favor, maybe even the sexual favor, or their mates.
I’m Totally agree with your disagree. :)
The presents in Valentine’s Day by itself have not a clear significance.
They should have opposite meaning, thay should prove love as the same level they should prove only some pratical interest.
These sort of presents should prove admiration and respect for the loved woman but should also be considered as a required fee for a favour exchange, which it last term, should also mean that this guy has little consideration of his girl-friend.
Yes, Sutherland ignored the men’s side because his topic was the woman’s side. His point that short term high cost gifts with no self interest was again from the woman’s side. That the men do indeed have a interest is obvious. It’s not like they are giving gifts and attention to random women or anonymously.
When I was younger I brought my girlfriend a new washing machine for Valentines day. (It cost me more than a meal in a restaurant or flowers). I demonstrated to her my long term commitment. She dumped me soon after.
I was half joking with my post :)
However when you think about it – it’s interesting why a lady might feel that a washing machine is not perhaps an appropriate present for valentines. :)
Experiences, not things, are always much better to give. (a) they demonstrate committment. (b) she only gets to “keep” them if she keeps you.
That is sad, but good for you to find out before you booked the wedding hall.
Sutherland here buys into the feminization of Valentine’s day. http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/02/12/the-feminization-of-love/
I can say I don’t like tacky “romantic” things. I don’t like jewelery, crowded restaurants, flowers or made up consumerist holidays. Neither does my husband.
Reblogged this on peakmemory and commented:
I am re-blogging this because Rory Sutherland does a pretty good job describing “The Knowledge” a subject of great interest to memory researchers. It’s also kind of amusing.
I understand that the 2 years taxi driver training was not part of your central argument, but it was very flawed nonetheless. How do you know if 2 years is the correct amount of time spend on training ? It could be 6 months or 4 years. This is just some random number that a bureaucrat came up with. In a free society what would happen is that people will have options between taxi companies which maintain 1 year training standard, 2 years training and so on. The market will eventually sort out how much training / commitment taxi drivers should have.
It wasn’t a bureaucrat – it was, I think, Queen Victoria’s husband, the very German Prince Albert who proposed the scheme: it is a very teutonic notion that every job requires extensive training and qualifications. It is, of course, possible that training and apprenticeships in many cases work not so much through what you learn, but by winnowing out all who are not serious about the job.
I would not claim that it could not be simplified or shortened now: all I was saying was that an up-front commitment of some kind should remain. London cabs are expensive, but they are pretty good. There are many occasions on which people welcome the existence of a high-trust, high-cost option.
Sutherland wasn’t defending or recommending 2 years, nor was he saying it was optimal, nor was he addressing government mandates vs. free market. His only point was about giving us a quick example of a “commitment device”.
However, since you want to change the subject,
1. He didn’t even say it was necessarily 2 years. He said “You have to spend several years of training ,,, where you are expected in those two years.to memorize …” The average time is 34 months, so I suppose if he really cared to be accurate he could have said “…where you are expected in those two years and 10 months on average to memorize …”
2. The extent that bureaucrats are involved is hardly the point. London’s been licensing their black cabs like this since 1865. Londoners are not shy about changing what they dislike.
3. Sure, a free market gives the people more options, including that drivers and their cars wouldn’t even need to register as a business.
a. You are implying that more options are always better. He specifically counters this by saying a higher commitment makes the driver “reluctant … to ripping off an American tourist three pounds and fifty…” as compared to relatively low commitments from easy licensing. Having lots of prices and trust levels to compare isn’t fun for me at all. It’s pure hell. Call me cognitively lazy if you want. Although accurate, it doesn’t change how I hate the few taxi flea markets I’ve experienced.
b. He further states “… that the usual assumptions of neo-classical economics that perfect information and perfect trust never exist in the real world.” I travel a lot, and I don’t have the time to research cabs in every city. The cost of research has to be deducted from the potential savings. Even if I did try to research cab services, I’m far from getting accurate picture of my options. In fact, it could benefit the cabs to misinform me.
c. As a world traveler, I can say anecdotally that I generally have better experiences in more regulated taxi areas than in Laissez-faire areas. I relax more and enjoy the ride more, and the drivers seem to reflect the same attitude.
d. For the record, it galls me to report my experience because my political beliefs predict the opposite. Dan would be pleased if he reads this because I realize more each day that I’m not predictably rational.
I’m guessing you don’t live in London. It’s unlikely that 2 years is a number plucked out of the air. There is plenty of experience to decide how long such a huge body of info would take to master. Your point seems to ignore the issue raised- ability to trust a stranger to take you home and not rape/attack you. There are also unlicensed mini cabs operating in London who rely on sat NAV and the police are concerned enough about the risk to run an awareness campaign against using them.
you could also liken Valentine’s Day to New Years Eve from an economic standpoint – anyway I am a romantic and every day we should express our love and intention to our partners – not just on a random date that sits nicely between New Years Day and Easter.
Commitment tends to be regarded as a superior form of love, yet, the case of doing unpleasant acts (flowers, dinner) for one’s girlfriend may be seen as a form of self-justification, thus providing oneself with constant proofs that the relationship, better said, one’s choice is (still) of worth. Maybe commitment comes packed with proneness to succumbing to sunk cost fallacy more often than it happens in the romantic stage of love.
In support of Annabel Lee, I’d just like to add that in my estimation, on a planet that consisted entirely of men, men would likely experience an uptick in interest in flowers. I would perhaps be not as dramatic as the interest that some women now show in flowers, but after all, flowers are nice, and there are already some men that love them.
My father, for example, grew roses.
In general, commitment devices are important to couples, but it’s a two-way street these days. The likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy is much, much lower, and so a show of commitment before having sex is … less important. But for a longer-term partnership, it’s very important. cf. the research of John Gottman, who says that couples need to be able to influence each other.
You know, you get her flowers, and she goes to football games. That sort of thing.
If Mr. Sutherland is not an adjunct professor, he should be…I would enjoy hearing more from him. He seems to have a good understanding of human psychology, but that is a trait of taxi drivers, too, which is another qualification for the job, I would think. Just as Cosmetologists and Hairdressers, and some ministers are natural born soul confessors and are irresistable to talk to,, experienced cab driver is irrestistable to listen to. (Just a tip for Valentine’s Day…spray a bit of “Beautiful” fragrance (Estee Lauder) in the cab…a female luxury Hummer limo driver in Florida did that, and we talked about weddings all the way home!
Professor I really need help and considering you taught a good lesson on opting in and out I thought you might have a good idea how to handle this predicament. I have dealt with the same bank for the past 35 years it has gone through several takeovers and was recently in the news for money laundering. My problem was years ago I rolled over an IRA . recently they contacted me and told me to move it as they no longer dealt with such instruments. The issue is when I rolled it over they (not I ) opted me into what they call a premiere category. Once I moved the IRA I no longer qualified for this plateau,but now they fault me $50 per month and each time i call they correct it but even though i have asked to be put into another category they agree but they persist in keeping me in the premiere category. Of course folks have suggested I just take my money and get out, but I pay bills, receive my SS check and dividends and after all 35 year without one bounced check! Is this fair?
HELP PLEASE d. Stevenson
This makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Thank you for this video! I actually used this psychology on my husband this year who was being unforgivably grumpy about the whole Valentine ritual. I good naturedly told him that he had to work for it (being a good date) and I would let him know if he passed or not. He laughed and really tried harder and actually enjoyed it this year. Most men love a challenge and competition fuels their passion. They all secretly want to slay the dragon, bring back the spoils, and win the fair maiden’s hand. Does Mr. Ariely agree?
Not all women respond this way Mr.Sutherland.
Jenny, I don’t understand. I’m sorry if I sounded that way. You don’t know my husband like I do. He was a past champion kickboxer and excelled at sports, and lives to prove himself. If he were born in the past, he would have been a some sort of gladiator, knight or a barbarian. I am often secondary. So I must position myself to be in his world.
Every relationship is different.
Rory’s Valentine Day comment was the perfect filip for you to send. Thanks, Dan,, and Mozel Tov on your anniversary
Personally, I much prefer getting a hand written poem, an original song, or some other creative expression of caring. I’d rather choose my own jewelry and flowers since, unless it has been specified at some point, it is very likely that the gift won’t reflect the taste of the receiver. That is an awkward moment since, to maintain the aura of romance, the woman would have to pretend to be thrilled.
And that’s not good.
Excellent happy analytical vision regarding detail and can anticipate problems before they will occur.
It’s time to have some pranks with your friends.
What’s up everybody, here every one is sharing these know-how, thus it’s good to read
this blog, and I used to visit this web site everyday.
I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!
Hi, I’m Dan Ariely. I do research in behavioral economics and try to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you.
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