For the well-versed in behavioural science, Melbourne Cup is poetry in motion

For the well-versed in behavioural science, Melbourne Cup is poetry in motion

 

The race that stops a nation,

Racing’s biggest day,

The cup that’s run in Melbourne,

Puts behaviour on display.

 

Hundred dollar fascinators,

New suits for the gents,

All for horses running laps,

How can this make sense?

 

Starting with the fashion,

A fortune on our frocks,

Heels end up in handbags,

Perhaps next time wear Crocs?

 

Social norms surround us,

Shaping what we do,

If everyone backs the favourite,

Then we think that we should too.

 

Confirmation Bias

While punting at the track,

Info to affirm our choice,

Of what we’d planned to back.

 

Cup Sweep random selection,

Endows that horse to you,

From that point on you will not trade,

Lest something you would rue.

 

And as the horse you didn’t back,

Later passes by the gate,

“Knew it all along” you think,

We all do in Hindsight, mate!

 

Bri Williams runs People Patterns, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues.

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