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Sequential Perception and Bounded Rationality

  • Lévy-Garboua Louis

    (Université Paris I)

Rational individuals who perceive information sequentially are confronted to cognitive dissonance and dynamic uncertainty in a way that sets a natural limit to the ex post efficiency of their choices. From the normative perspective which ignores this dynamic uncertainty, their rationality seems limited. Sequential perception is assumed in a model of Bayesian revision of the contingent preference in a repeated choice. This model predicts both the cognitive dissonance phenomenon studied by Festinger (1957) and the formation of stable habits. It also shows how an ordinary man can be rational with bounded informational and computational abilities and, for the same reasons, give a disproportionate weight to impressions without any normative value in his own choices and judgments. Sequential perception and cognitive consistency offer a credible alternative to the cognitive bias paradigm for predicting anomalies in choice and game behavior.Des individus logiques percevant l’information de manière séquentielle sont soumis à une dissonance cognitive et une incertitude dynamique qui limitent naturellement l’efficacité ex post de leurs choix. Du point de vue normatif, qui ignore cette incertitude dynamique, leur rationalité apparaît limitée. L’hypothèse de perception séquentielle est introduite dans un modèle de révision bayésienne de la préférence contingente lors d’un choix répété. Ce modèle prédit à la fois le phénomène de dissonance cognitive étudié par Festinger (1957) et la formation d’une habitude stable. Il montre aussi comment un homme ordinaire peut être rationnel sans disposer de capacités d’information et de calcul démesurées et, pour les mêmes raisons, subir l’influence disproportionnée d’impressions dénuées de valeur normative dans les choix ou les jugements qu’il porte. La perception séquentielle et la cohérence cognitive offrent une alternative crédible au paradigme des biais cognitifs pour expliquer tous les comportements humains qui réfutent la théorie normative des choix et des jeux.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

Volume (Year): 14 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-17

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:14:y:2004:i:1:n:3
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