So Abi-Maria Gomes, the woman that for the last couple weeks, everyone assumed would be sitting in the final three come next Wednesday’s finale gets the boot. For some reason, a majority of the remaining players thought it was in their best interest to eliminate one person every single one of them could beat.
It’s a bit hard to figure, friends. Truly hard to figure.
With very few days remaining until the end, it makes no sense to me why Spencer, Jeremy and Tasha wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to get rid of a real threat. Of course, we heard them discussing how none of these other folks – besides Kimmi? – were real threats. So I don’t know.
How do we explain a move like this? I’m really not sure … at all. Why don’t we look toward, then, the theory of planned behavior? It seems to me, when things don’t work out the way that makes the most sense, it’s always best to explore people’s beliefs. You can usually figure out behavior that way.
Introduced to academia by University of Massachusetts professor of psychology Icek Aizen back in 1985, theory of planned behavior, in its simplest form, connects beliefs to behavior. It basically says there are two parts to enacting behavior: intent and control. We intend to do some things, but we don’t have control all the time. Then there are the perceptions of control we have. For everything possible, we perceive the difficulty or ease with which we can accomplish something. The theory calls this perceived behavioral control.
What does this all mean? Well, Aizen’s theory posits that intuitively we have beliefs of how likely we are to accomplish something and these beliefs shape our behavior. For example, when I was a kid I wanted to play professional baseball. But early on I knew this wasn’t in the cards. So even though I wanted to be the next Wade Boggs more than anything, I didn’t try too hard because I knew it wasn’t happening.
How we feel about a behavior also affects us. So, for example, if I like to do something and someone asks me to do it, I’m more likely to do it. Simple, right? In essence, the theory is one of the more complicated, if not the most complicated, one we’ve looked at this season because there are so many variables or parts to the theory. But, in reality, all we need to completely understand is that the theory of planned behavior argues that our beliefs, and societal norms, affect our behavior more than almost anything else.
So what does this have to do with the Abi vote-off? Well, the only reason I can think of for these four people to eliminate Abi comes down to that chat in the woods between Jeremy, Spencer and Tasha. While talking, they mentioned being voted in by the fans and not wanting to disappoint them by bringing a goat to the end.
I don’t know about you, but having kept her around for this long, I would consider it a good move to drag Abi to the end. That’s the play of a winner, of a great player. It wouldn’t impact my feelings about the other two final tribal contestants at all. But maybe the contestants believe otherwise?
And this brings us back to the theory. The four people who eliminated Abi not only believed it would be best to eliminate a goat because of societal norms, but they also perceived it as an easy vote. Deep down, they remembered Kelley pulling out an idol, so they thought she would be harder to vote off. That’s perceived behavioral control.
When looking at this move, it’s truly hard to understand. But we’re not out on the island. I can’t help but think there are a lot of perceptions impacting the players that we just don’t know about. And these perceptions, these beliefs, are clearly impacting behavior and forcing players, in my mind, to act in ways that are in opposition to the optimal ones, at least to me.
Enough with the theory of planned behavior, though. Let’s talk about who each remaining player needs to sit next to win this thing. Sound good? Well, I don’t know how you answered that question so, um, I’m just going to do it whether you like it or not. Sorry.
It’s all over but the finale now. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been this excited for a finale in a while. I’ll talk about where I think this season stands in terms of quality next week, but here’s to a great ending, OK?
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He’s seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he’ll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.