Micromotives and Macrobehavior Short Essay - Answer Key

Thomas Schelling
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1. What experience got Schelling thinking about distribution?

Schelling started thinking about spatial distribution when he showed up for a talk and the first 12 rows of the theater were empty, but the rest of the theater was packed.

2. What kinds of subliminal factors does Schelling say affect people's decisions of where to sit?

In Schelling's analysis, people are afraid of sitting close to the front; they want to be able to leave quickly at the end of the performance, or they may sit in the back because they want to watch the other members of the audience.

3. How does Schelling say human systems differ from natural systems?

In nature, light simply disseminates from a source, and plants simply photosynthesize--but human beings make decisions, and their decisions are influenced by a wide range of factors, from instinctual and perceptual to subtle psychological motives.

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