We all face big choices from time to time. Which college to choose? Should I break up with my girlfriend? Should I quit my job? Should I dye my hair blond?
Sometimes the decisions are easy and obvious. Other times, no matter how much you think about it, no clear answer emerges. Your life might be very different depending on what path you take, but you just can’t tell which choice will leave you better off.
If you find yourself in that kind of bind, we are launching a new website today, www.FreakonomicsExperiments.com, that just might be your savior.
At that website, you tell us what your problem is, or pick from a large menu of problems we’ve pre-loaded. We then take you through a questionnaire that might help you think differently about your problem and resolve your dilemma. If you are still stumped after the questionnaire, we will solve the problem for you in the most sensible way we can think of.
We’ll flip a coin. Heads you take one action; tails you take the other.
If you really can’t decide between two actions, a coin toss is as good as any other solution. Not only will it give you the answer. It will help our research. By flipping the coin and following the coin’s advice, you will become a critical member of the Freakonomics research team. We’ll send you a follow-up survey to learn how things turned out, and you will (with complete anonymity, of course), become a data point in our experiment to understand the outcomes of important decisions. Believe it or not, we are completely serious about this.
And if advancing science isn’t enough reward to entice you to participate, we will even throw in a little Freakonomics swag at the completion of the study.
But, your participation only helps us if you are really so tied up in knots that you are willing to do what the coin tells you. If not, contribute to science by sending all your indecisive friends in our direction!