Choosing Knowledgeably v. Choosing By Default

Lamanna and Reidmann, the authors of the text, identify two forms of decision making, “choosing by default” and “choosing knowledgeably.” Unconscious decisions are defined as “choices made by default…ones that people make when they are not aware of all the alternatives or when they pursue the proverbial path of least resistance.

” Choosing knowledgeably, on the other hand, involves a cycle of decision making, which requires self-awareness, an awareness of consequences, social pressures, and a willingness to accept the consequences of a decision. For example, perhaps you were raised in a family system in which conflict is dealt with by shouting and talking over one another. Choosing knowledgeably would recognize shouting and talking over one another may escalate the conflict and subsequently, make a choice to communicate in a calm, constructive manner. Choosing by default would be to engage in the same pattern of yelling with little to no reflection, resulting in a shouting match.

This exercise will require you to both reflect upon your own experiences to help further identify experiences that illuminate what it means to choose knowledgeably or by default. In this three-part post, you will incorporate materials from Chapters 1, 2, and 3.


Click on this post and create a new thread by clicking on the “Reply” button located directly underneath these directions by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Jan 7, 2021. You can also access this Discussion Board by clicking on “Discussions.”

1. In the new thread, write of a personal experience in which you made a choice in a relationship that would be characterized as “choosing by default” and of an experience in which you “chose knowledgeably.” Examples of these decisions may be in choosing a partner, communication in a relationship (romantic or familial), etc. Identify the variables (factors) that helped you to determine which experiences have been shaped by decisions of default or knowledge. How does choosing knowledgeably prompt different decisions than choosing by default? Provide examples. Make sure to be academic, sociological, and think critically in your response.
2. In learning about your own experiences with relationships and families, write a reflection on which focuses on one of the following themes within your family: divorce, parenting, marriage, gender, work/family, family conflict/resilience. First, describe the issue you intend to focus upon. Next, choose one of the sociological theories from Chapter Two to analyze and describe your chosen theme. This part of the discussion will help to prepare you for your family biography.
3. Write a reflection on how gender functioned in your family as you were growing up. For example, how were you socialized into a gender role? How did gender roles, such as masculinity and femininity affect your parents and [if applicable] their relationship? Cite the textbook and use examples from the assigned TED talk to academically and sociologically frame your experiences.

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