Provide an example from your own experience where you acted in accordance with one or more of the patterns of
irrational or unethical decision making. Explain the egocentrism or sociocentrism, as well as any pathological tendencies
of mind, involved in your thought process. How could you have applied the keys to sound decision making to approach
the situation more rationally?
If you prefer not to discuss your own decision making experience, you may instead discuss someone you know, a
historical figure, or a fictional character.
There are instances where I have acted in accordance with one or more of irrational decision-making. During high school, I was an active basketball player with high dreams. I often participated in active sports and would be busy during weekends playing basketball. After sometime, I stopped attending the training sessions as required to the consternation of my coach. Despite my basketball coach insisting that, I was a good player and should think of pursuing basketball as not just a fun activity but as a career, I completely ignored his advice. This happened after I met a group of new friends who we started spending time together. As time went by, I completely ignored my love for sports and spent more time with my newfound friends. After some time, my basketball coach could not tolerate my absence from training. He politely requested me to hand over my uniform to which I obliged. I lost a great opportunity to be part of the school’s basketball team, an opportunity I regret even today.
Some degree of egocentrism was involved in my thought process. Egocentrism refers to the tendency of individuals to disregard other people’s opinions (Paul & Elder, 2013). Egocentrism also relates to the tendency of individuals to dismiss the needs of others, which may lead to negative actions. Individuals lack self-awareness of their own egocentric thoughts. Additionally, individuals cannot tell the degree to which their egocentrism affects their thinking or decision-making (Ahuna & Tinnesz, 2003). Judging by my though process, egocentrism is evident. After the coach pleaded with me to give some seriousness to the training sessions, I ignored his advice. I also felt that I knew what I actually wanted to do, and as such, quitting basketball was not a big issue to me. It is only later that I regretted quitting sports which was keeping me healthy and was something that I enjoyed. A key characteristic of egocentrism is being overconfident in one’s nonrational feelings and thoughts.
Sociocentrism is also evident in my thought process. According to Paul & Elder (2013), sociocentrism refers to unquestioned conformity to group rules. Human beings belong to different social groups, which in turn have different expectations or rules guiding the behavior of members. Group members often follow the established group norms with unreasonable conformity, failure to which they may be treated as outcasts or face other forms of punishment. Group members must behave in particular ways or risk punishment as prescribed by the group, which may involve being sidelined by other group members (Paul & Elder, 2013). Since I joined a new group of friends who did not participate in sports, there was pressure on me to quit sports and spend more time with them, including the activities they were often engaged during their free time. Sociocentrism confined my thoughts to a group-centered perspective that contributed to quitting sports over a group of new friends.
A number of pathological tendencies of the mind were involved my thought process. First, egocentric oversimplification was involved. This refers to the tendency to disregard the complexities in the real world while opting for easier notions (Elder & Paul, 2007). By quitting sports, I ignored the importance of sports to my health and the possibility of taking it as a career since I did not want change my values. Another pathological tendency involved is egocentric immediacy, which is a disposition to overgeneralize contiguous feelings (Elder & Paul, 2007). When I found new friends, I merely forgot about all other things as I had supposedly found “new meaning” in life. If I employed keys to sound decision-making, I there could be different results to this situation. The first step involves recognizing the problem or a difficult situation. The problem in this case was to opt between my friends and training. The second step is evaluation of the different alternatives to a problem. For example, I could see my friends after training. The third step is to logically examine the available alternatives, and lastly to pick the most favorable one.
Ahuna, K. H., & Tinnesz, C. G. (2003). Methods of inquiry: Applied critical thinking. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co.
Elder, L., Paul, R., & Foundation for Critical Thinking. (2007). The miniature guide to taking charge of the human mind: Thinking, feeling, wanting. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2013). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your professional and personal life. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.