Academic Lecture Programme

The surprisingly illogical way we often take 'logical' decisions was laid bare in a talk this week by one of the UK's leading young economists.

Dr Marco Pellicia spoke on the many biases that we unconsciously apply in his lecture 'Economics and the Science of Decisions', the first of this year's Academic Lecture Programme.

"People are hugely influenced when they make a decision by issues such as framing" said Dr Pellicia, assistant professor at Bangor University Business School. "This means, for example, that if you say there is a 30% chance of dying from an operation then people will be less likely to undergo the procedure. If you say, however, that there is a 70% chance of surviving they will feel much more prepared to do it, even though the situation is exactly the same."

Dr Pellicia spoke about the many biases and rules that we apply when taking decisions that we never usually scrutinise. "The fact is that it can be very hard to find someone who makes a decision entirely logically as they are often influenced by factors that they do not realise."

Year 12 student Bethan Hughes said: "I really enjoyed the talk as it was part psychology and part social science and it applied to so many different situations, from how we spend our time and money to how we end up judging other people."