Decision Research and Prospects of Modi Sarkar

The speeches of the PM Modi during this election have created a lot of bad taste. People think that the language of his political speeches does not suit the stature of a PM. Some say that it is the fear of loss that is pushing the PM to stoop that low. Now that elections are almost done and dusted. It may be best to try and understand these political speeches which seem have crossed the lines that mark them as nothing less than hate speech. Several people are outraged and offended by them. Certainly, the speeches of the PM do not address the reason of the people. It appears that they are directed to unreason of our people. Perhaps , behavioral Psychology might bring light about the manner in which they are strategically constructed and are not simply uttered on the spur and heat of the moment.

The work of nobel laurate in Economic Sciences, Daniel Kahneman might be of great help to critically scrutinize those nasty jabs of PM Modi. His work on decision research may assist us. decision research studies how we make our decisions. PM Modi like other politicians is working to influence our decision to vote in his favor. We humans are good intuitive grammarians. We as children effortlessly and even mindlessly conform to the rules of our mother tongue although we have no idea of those rules. Our conscious mind is less involved in this matter. Decision research also looks at how we make some decision without much reflection. PM Modi seem to be trying to reach out to this side of our decision making. Decision making evolves making judgement. Judgements need us to think. But we seem to be thinking fast in some cases and thinking slow in other cases. All judgements require information. We do not need entire information. The kind of information that is available becomes cognitive bias and triggers the way we take decision.

Kahneman teaches that we have to modes of thinking. One is intuitive and quick. We respond quicky through this mode of thinking. Thus, for instance, if we are asked the result of addition 2+2 , we shall immediately without much thought will answer as 4. But if we are asked what is the result of an operation like 13×52 , we will require effort and will take our time. The former is an instance of fast thinking and the later is an instance of slow thinking. While we are driving, we are processing information and make our decision. When we apply sudden breaks, we are in fast thinking mode. It would be nice in politics as well as business, if we adopt a slow thinking mode. When we go to buy something or wish to vote someone to power, we often are drawn to make decisions that are responses generated by being on a fast lane of thinking. This is why we need the wisdom of decision research to understand how political parties as well as market manipulate us to make decisions that are almost mindless.

PM Modi has often made startling claims. During the 2014 election, he presented himself as Pradhan Sevak called by Mother Ganga. At the electoral husting in 2019 , he presented himself as a Chovkidar in the context of terror threats to our country. In 2024 after the building of the Ram Temple, he is presenting himself as Bhagvan. His declaration that he is non-Biological may have some people go bananas or go laughing. Yet there appears to be design to this progressive positioning of PM Modi. This positioning of PM Modi is certainly directed to our decision making based on the fast thinking mode. It is craftily designed to appeal to our sense of authority. Most of us are trained to respect authority effortlessly right from our childhood. This is why by positioning PM Modi as non-biological or avtar of Lord Vishnu, an effort to socially engineer the voting decision on the side of PM Modi and the ruling BJP is on.

The slogan Abki baar 400 par is again not simply vain bombastic talk as some may like to understand. It is a psychological tool. It is called anchoring. Anchoring is a cognitive bias that makes a pre-given information like 400 seats become a reference point for the rest of our thinking. Thus, when PM Modi is giving 400 as a bench mark for this election, it immediately engages are fast thinking mode. Depending on our cognitive bias, we then respond joyfully, angrily or sadly. Thus, goal of 400, then, becomes anchoring point that influences all our thinking. This, then, influences the way we respond to other discourses that our thrown at us. Thus, we pushed into the fast mode of thinking that does not involve any critical reflection. We ,then , begin to see everything within the horizon of 400 seats bench mark.

The vilification of Muslims and the fear of taking away even the mangal sutr as well as the counter-claims of the opposition are only viewed within the cognitive bias set by the figure 400. The anchoring effect is used in marketing. Often a price tag like Rs. 399 hides the fact that it Rs. 400. Somehow we see it through the first figure 3 and see it as 300. Thus, even when someone says that the opposition will get 300 seats in the current elections, we think that it is not possible. Our cognitive bias is already set and we see everything without thinking or reflecting. It seems that BJP has craftily employed decision research to socially engineer our voting habit. This why it is profoundly challenging to check our decision making and make effort to enter the slow mode of thinking so that we do not make hasty decision.

As the elections are almost ending. It appears that the people of India have resisted the fast lane thinking and choosing the slow mode of thinking. ‘Bohut hui mhaigai ki mar, is bar Modi ki har’ seems to be working. Perhaps, the existential concerns of food, health, shelter, and jobs, as well as the fear of loss of reservations may have put a reverse bench mark to the figure 400. The prospect of 400 induces a fear. It opens the possibilities of a new constitution and with it loss of reservations. This fear seems to have played to neutralize the 400 bench mark induced cognitive bias and has introduced a new bias of the loss of reservations. This is why the elections are said to be turning against the ruling BJP.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao