Hey there, fellow F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans and curious minds! Ever noticed how our beloved Chandler Bing, with his witty sarcasm and awkward charm, is practically a walking textbook of behavioural science? No? Well, buckle up, because I'm about to take you on a tour through the world of behavioural science, guided by none other than Mr. Bing himself!
Chandler's Commitment Conundrum
First up, we have our good ol' friend, commitment bias. This is all about sticking to your guns, even when they're pointed the wrong way. Remember when Chandler was stuck in a job he hated? Yeah, he kept justifying it instead of hunting for a new one (a man in denial). That's commitment bias - when you're so attached to your past choices that you can't see how miserable you are now.
The Fear of Loss: Janice Janice Janice
Ah, loss aversion. It's the mental equivalent of keeping that old, worn out shirt because, well, it's yours and you don’t want to lose it. And, Chandler is practically loss aversion’s poster boy (*Laughs in Janice* Aaaaahahahahaha). Take his on-again, off-again romance with Janice – it's a classic case. He clings to her not out of undying love, but because losing her (however annoying she might be) is not fun. The 'I'd-rather-have-Janice-than-nothing' philosophy.
All Aboard the Bandwagon!
Social proof, anyone? It's when you look around, see what everyone else is doing, and think, "Well, if they're doing it, it must be cool!" Chandler falls for this all the time. Remember when Chandler was convinced to grow a moustache while Joey smokes a cigar after seeing how cool they thought Richard was? LOL.
Instant Gratification, Courtesy of Mr. Bing
Instant gratification is all about wanting the good stuff, and wanting it now. Chandler lights up a cigarette faster than you can say "nicotine patch," completely tossing the future up in smoke (see what I did there?). Would he even pass the Marshmallow test?
Seeing What You Wanna See
The last one, Confirmation bias is like having blinders on and only seeing what fits your preconceived notion. Chandler's world is full of these moments – If he thinks he's not boyfriend material, no amount of consoling will convince him otherwise. This is illustrated so well in the episode where their annoying neighbour Heckles dies. Chandler starts noticing that he’s very similar to Heckles and is therefore likely to end up all alone too. He over and again tries to find similarities between them rather than see what’s different, falling prey to Confirmation bias.
So there you go, a short behavioural science lesson featuring Chandler Bing, sitcom style. Who knew that binge-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. could double as a crash course in behavioural science? It not all about the laughs—it's a case study on why we do the weird and wonderful things we do.
Now, if only we could figure out what Chandler's actual job was... Any guesses?
This article was contributed by Junofy Anto Rozarina in memory of Mathew Perry, marking his recent demise.
Junofy is a renowned Behavioural Scientist who serves as the CEO of Beyond Nudge, a global behavioural science consultancy company. She is also the founder and CEO of India Behavioural Economics Network (IBEN) and sits on expert boards of various organisations. She’s a seasoned practitioner, researcher and public speaker with a strong passion for deciphering the intricacies of human cognition and decision-making processes. Over the years, she has worked with several organisations including Google, Swiggy, UNICEF and UNDP, and has delivered lectures at forums, universities and organisations around the globe.