Assume you are buying a house and you have three choices: one of them is contemporary and the other two are colonials. All three cost the same; they are equally desirable and the only difference is that one of the colonials needs a new roof. Which one would you choose?
According to Dan Ariely, author of the book Predictably Irrational, most people will choose the colonial that doesn’t need any fixing. The reason being that human beings are wired to make decisions based on comparisons. In this case, we have data to compare the colonials, but not the contemporary, hence, the decision-making bias towards the colonial.
I tried a similar social experiment with my 2-year old son (the unsuspecting subject). I made eggs for him and then gave him a mid-size fork that was slightly larger than his normal baby (small) fork. He looked at the fork and said “no”. Well, I took out the papa fork (the big fork) and held both, the mid-size fork and the papa fork in front of him asked him to choose. In this scenario, he gladly accepted the mid-size fork (even though it was not his initial choice). Empirical evidence that proves Dan’s theory of relativity.
Now that I have an unsuspecting subject, more experiments to follow!