Monday, March 23, 2009

Short Selling

I was thinking today about some follow-ups to my last post. One of the most interesting things about the “arbitrary coherence” concept is the arbitrary part. Not only can prices stick in the mind and affect what one is willing to pay or do, they stick nearly as well (maybe just as well) even when they are arbitrary. That’s a big part the point. Our minds are so oriented toward having anchor points to connect things to that we’ll anchor away even if the anchor is put down in a poor spot. The first price I see in the store for a new flat screen TV may set me in motion to evaluate all other TVs according to that first price. Of course, those prices could seem arbitrary to the shopper but they are very purposeful for the store. Smart stores are careful about what prices you see, and when, so they can herd you toward what they most want you to buy. That’s no dig on stores, they are just being smart. But choosers can be smart, also.

A practical point about relationships: People can have an artificially low sense of themselves because of how they have been treated or what they have experienced. How they were treated, by family growing up or by past loves, can have little to do with their own worth but it still may stick, at least for a time. The danger for anyone who has had difficult relationships in the past is selling themselves short in the future.