Today on NPR (audio archive will be available after 6 PM) there was a short interview with an economist who stated that “going for it” on 4th & 1 yard to go in a football game is the rational thing to do. And yet most fans know that coaches generally refuse to “go for it,” even if it is “4th & inches”! Why? The economist stated “…we are quite perplexed, because we know that people tend to maximize their benefit….” This is a clear application of rational choice theory and its short-comings, the economist notes that coaches are probably carrying over decision making patterns from other areas of life without reflecting upon it. I believe that rational choice theory has a big role to play in social science, but it tends to put the emphasis on human rationality and choice, neglecting that our evolutionary background probably has a strong effect on our reactions to any given situation. Our software can react dynamically to many situations, but we also have many pre-built modules that simply initialize whenever a familiar context is recognized.