Are you contemplating a big decision, leaving that job or relationship, changing your field, moving to another state or country, changing political affiliation, or whatever it is? If so, and if you are finding it really hard to decide – that your decision could go either way – then ‘Freakonomics Experiments’ wants to be by your side as you take the next step.
‘Freakonomics Experiments’ is a website created by the authors of the popular ‘Freakonomics’ books, Stephen Dubner and Martin Levitt. It is intended for people who are struggling with a major decision, and who are finding it difficult to choose either way. In essence, ‘Freakonomics Experiments’ provides a simple service, that of a coin toss, yay or nay. But there’s more: they are interested in what happens afterwards: through a series of follow up emails and surveys, they want to know what happened down the line in the long term, and they want to be there months and years down the line to ask whether or not you are happy – or not – with the decision that you made.
The idea behind the website is based on two things:
1- A decision that could go either way, that is not obvious and has a lot of uncertainty around it, and that, in a very real sense, might be decided by flipping a coin. The ‘Freakonomics Experiments’ website will help by flipping the coin for you.
2- More important than flipping a coin is the notion that both the Freakonomics team and researchers from the University of Chicago will go along the journey with you. In other words, that someone will ask questions about your life’s journey at periodic times (in the form of follow up email surveys), and also in the sense that in the long term someone may learn from your experience and that of others like you.
The people behind ‘Freakonomics Experiments’ hope to learn a number of things, such as: when, if ever, would someone make life changing decisions based on a 50/50 coin flip. And of these, how many people would end up seeing this change in a favorable vs. unfavorable light, as well as other questions like this.
There’s a very nice Freakonomics podcast you can hear that explains more, entitled ‘Would you let a coin toss decide your future?’. I highly recommend it.
Go to the ‘Freakonoimcs Experiments’ website to check it out.