Rationality and Rational Choice

The rational choice theory is a popular economic principle that explains why consumers prefer prudent and logical decisions among all others. The behavior of the entire society is determined by the behavior of every individual, and rational choice theorists claim that their study predicts the consumer behavior and makes the pattern of consumer choices. According to the rational choice theory, people are most likely to make well-considered decisions based on rational calculations that bring them the highest benefit in the result. But the theory looks rather idealistic because our decisions very often are irrational and triggered by emotions rather than the rational calculations.
In fact, all people are motivated to make rational choices at least sometimes. Sometimes we allow ourselves to act on a whim and choose impulsively. If pressed for money, we try to maximize the result within the budget we have at hand and make well-considered choices. At such times, our decisions are indeed rational and calculated. But it is rather an exception to the tendency. There is a field of behavioral economics promoting the idea that individuals often make irrational decisions. In such system, people are moved by their emotions and external factors. They make people choose what is not in their best interest, but it also does not mean that an irrational decision equals an impulsive decision.
The rational choice theory makes perfect sense and it is easy to understand, but still, we cannot apply it to the real life at all times. Politics and marketing experts usually appeal to emotions if they want people to make a certain choice. Strong emotions like happiness, fear, or indignation usually take over the human ability to make considerate decisions.

Impact of stereotyping

Social stereotypes are dangerous because people follow them. An African American student who is a superb basketball player cannot be good at math or other academics. A pretty girl who takes care of her looks cannot be smart because she seems to spend all the time on beauty routine. The saddest thing is that people affected by stereotypes are the first to believe in them. They do not attempt to break the shell of social belief that is not supported by any evidence. Stereotyping is just the way we classify strangers judging on the little facts we know.
Stereotypes affect the American society in many ways, but the biggest problem is that they change our own perception of who we are. We do not strive to learn more if we feel incapable of doing tests but can successfully play sports. It looks like we are not designed for academics, which is certainly untrue. A human is supposed to learn different skills over the life. There is no scientific study that proves it is impossible to be smart, athletic, beautiful, black, female etc. at a time. But many people still think that there is no point developing digital awareness or analytical thinking if they are not a “nerd” type of person. Besides, many people find it comfortable to fit stereotypes. Pretty girls, for example, do not go in for engineering because it is not what society expects from them.
Though stereotypes hardly bring any benefits, they are essential for us to classify people. It would be unbearable not to build any expectations or suggestions about the new acquaintance before we get to know the person better. Stereotyping is an essential part of social perception, whether we like it or not.