Cialdini hace una reflexión en el mejor estilo de la Modernidad Líquida: en aras de la eficiencia, debemos a veces sustraernos de la toma de decisiones bien informada, sofisticada, consumidora de tiempo y recursos, y emplear vías más automáticas, primitivas incluso (cuando compro pasta de dientes, por ejemplo); nuestro entorno es tan complejo, ambigüo, rápido y saturado de información que no nos queda otra vía. A veces, las consecuencias son funestas, claro:
Remember the FBI's infamously misguided assault on Branch Davidian Church headquarters in Waco, Texas? According to an analysis by U.S. Justice Department consultants, during theFBI's 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian's compound, the agency collected so much information that it had to ignore the vast majority of it. said Professor Robert Louden, one of the Justice Department's consultants, "The FBI had such an intelligence information overload that. .. they just fell back on past practice—and since they didn't have any experience with religion, they treated it like a standard barricade" ("Overload of Advice," 1993). The disastrous outcome was that, when the FBI finally attacked, more than 80 sect members died in an act of faith- and fear-fueled self-emulation.
Unlike the lower animals, whose cognitive powers have always been relatively deficient, we have created our own deficiency by constructing a radically more complex world.
The consequence of our new deficiency is the same as that of the animals' long-standing one: when making a decision, we will less frequently engage in a fully considered analysis of the total situation. In response to this "paralysis of analysis," we will revert increasingly to a focus on a single, usually reliable feature of the situation. When those single features are truly reliable, there is nothing inherently wrong with the shortcut approach of narrowed attention and automatic responding to a particular piece of information. The problem comes when something causes the normally trustworthy cues to counsel us poorly, to lead us to erroneous actions and wrongheaded decisions.