Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stress-testing Perak

Many of us may have observed, purely from the viewpoint of human behaviour and psychology, that brinksmanship and gamesmanship comes from stress or pressure.

What we take to be machismo or hubristic behaviour may actually be due to stress.

For example, it has long been known in financial markets that people are so reluctant to lose money that they will take big risks to avoid it.

If you give the average person a 90% chance of winning a little money or a 10% chance of winning a lot, he will most likely take the option that offers him at least a little bit of cash.

But offer him a 90% chance of losing a little money or a 10% chance of losing a lot, and he will opt for the latter.

A recent study by Anthony Porcelli and Mauricio Delgado, psychologists at Rutgers University in New Jersey finds that stress exacerbates this.

The psychologists found that exposure to stress led participants to choose riskier decisions when trying to decide between taking a minor loss or a major one. The reverse proved true with gains.

One potential explanation for the effect might be that the human brain has two ways of looking at the world, an analytical one and an intuitive one. The analytical one is more easily disrupted by outside stimuli, such as stress. The intuitive one cuts to the bottom line when times are tough.

That said, we will have to ask about the levels of stress that the principal actors in the Perak constitutional crisis must be undergoing.

That level of sustained stress cannot be good for any of the principal actors.

The true leaders on both sides of the divide need to institute a "cooling-off" period to avert too much emotional outpouring that threatens to drown out reason.

For every tit there has been a tat. So, no one's the wiser.

One thing is for sure. Whoever that genius was that wanted a tactic of party-hopping must surely realise now that it opened a stupid Pandora's Box of constitutional nonsense that only re-confirms that it is possible for power-hungry and greedy politicians to crave for short-term glory with absolutely callous disregard of the ultimate victims of their actions - the constitution and, the rakyat.

1 comment:

walla said...


This blogger constantly pulls out interesting ideas.

Just to add a question for deeper minds to ponder and perhaps help elucidate.

Could all the problems and contentions be caused by the collision between personal frailties and the institutionalization of ideals which those frailties, in their antithetical forms, try to protect?

The future of this country will be predicated on brand royalty not band loyalty. By that, one can take it that the rakyat will find more satisfactory values or aesthetic royalties from championing principles until they become brands in the minds, not by championing, as has been happening all this while, personages and personalities around whom the notion of tribalism or band (some will say, banditry) will be build to create unsustainable, in fact unreasonable, blind loyalty.

It's hot, i'm bored and the keyboard's cookin'.