A large part of the neuroeconomic research field is the study of human irrationality. It can be argued that our propensity for irrationality leads to many of the problems of our modern society (but I won’t go into the details at this present time). Now I will present I personal example for your amusement.
At the recent large neuroscience conference (SFN: Nov 15-19, 2008) I was offered a new post-doc position with a 50% pay increase! The new post-doc offered a great opportunity to further examine novel neuroprotective treatments in a great and clinically relevant model, that has near unlimited opportunities for me.
I turned down the job – which is in itself highly irrational – for the obvious difference in pay, but also my current position is only funded for the next 6 months – not to mention the additional factor of the current worldwide economic conditions. What I did next though really makes me question this whole rational human thing (at least at a personal level). I then turned and made a counter offer to the principal investigator I would work for him free on part of the problem.
Now that is some negotiating strategy, going from a 50% pay increase to offering to work free for him.
How irrational, not to mention stupid is that? This is all despite my additional scientific interest of studying human irrationality (so in theory I am not ignorant of this human pension for irrationality). Maybe I should have my head scanned - I think I might know what it will find
Additionally, there are no rational reasons particularly keeping me at my current location and post-doc position.
So what I am suggesting is in your own day to day choices maybe step back once in awhile to check how rationale some of your choices are (hopefully they won’t be as irrational as my one personal example I am sharing).