Thursday, August 5, 2010

Daily Practice 217/365

Title: "At the boundary between purity and evil"
(click image to view larger)
I've just begun reading a book titled "Switch", about making changes when changing is hard. One of the interesting things I've learned so far is that the analytical part of a person's decision making process is hampered when there are too many choices. Examples given in the book include a marketing comparison that was done on jams - when 6 different jams were offered for free testing, more consumers purchased one or more jams than a group of consumers offered 24 different jams to test. Another stunning example was a hypothetical case presented to doctors: a person with an arthritic hip has been referred for whom none of the pain drugs available have been effective. The doctor learns from the pharmacy that there is still one drug that hasn't been tried - does the doctor recommend trying the drug, or schedule a painful hip replacement? The vast majority of doctors choose to try the one untried drug first. What happens when doctors are presented with the same scenario, except that the pharmacy reports there are two drugs that haven't been tried? Against all expectations, the vast majority of doctors recommend surgery instead of trying either of the drugs!

This information explains why I have no trouble following my daily practice, but I often never get out with a camera for a more extensive session on the weekend. For the daily practice, I have only once choice - must make an image each day. But for a more extended session, I have too many choices - what subject matter, which of my many cameras to use, which film to use, etc etc. A clear, direct plan for these weekends is needed to overcome this decision paralysis. I think "Switch" is going to have a very positive influence on my art making.

1 comment:

J. M. Golding said...

What an intriguing discovery! (And scary about the medical decision making).