Myth #29: People are rational

Written by UX Myths - - Aggregated on Wednesday January 5, 2011
Tags: myth, web, psychology, rationality, emotional, irrational, design, ux, usability

People don’t make purely rational decisions based on careful analysis of cost and expected utility, despite what classical economics taught us. Research findings confirm that our decisions are driven more by our emotions than logical and conscious thinking.

However, our irrationality is predictable. Good designers, therefore, can learn about human decision making and go beyond usability to create products that effectively influence our behavior.

Neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer argues that people are irrational because our logic is slow and our rational brain is still new and very limited in capacity. It is, as he puts it, “a computer operating system that was rushed to market.” The emotional brain, on the other hand, is really powerful and makes good decisions. That’s why most decisions are made on the emotional level.

8 experiments to prove our irrationality from the books Predictably Irrational and How We Decide:

Further readings on our irrational behavior:

Resources every designer should read:

Zoltán Gócza


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