Never Trust Your Judgment During Sex

Question - Why is it dangerous to make decisions in the heat of the moment?

Dan Ariely:     I don’t know if sexual arousal is the worst time because there’s a lot of things we’re not going to focus on at that moment. But clearly at the heat of the moment is an awful time. And you know the trust game; we have another version of it called the trust game with revenge. So imagine that you’re player A, you send the money to player B and player B took the money and went home. And I would say ‘Look, player A I’m sorry you lost all your money but here, I’ll tell you what; I know how to find player B. If you’ll give me money, for every dollar you give me I’ll find player B and take two dollars away from him. You give me one dollar, I’ll take two from him, you give me three I’ll take six, ten and twenty and so on.’ You can lose more money to get the other guy suffer more. Would you do it, right?

Anybody who ever had a breakup or divorce or so would tell you that the feeling of revenge is incredibly powerful, right. That at the moment that we feel this we’re willing to lose a lot for ourselves to make the other party suffer even more. And it’s an incredibly devastating  instinct. But this is what we have. So every time that emotions rule they can get the best out of us and get us to make lots of bad decisions; selling everything in the stock market, shooting emails, annoyed emails to your boss, fighting with spouses, lots of terrible things.

Recorded on: July 29, 2009

Making decisions while sexually aroused isn’t worth the risk, says Duke economist Dan Ariely.