Expected utility versus the changes in knowledge ahead
We present a decision theory appropriate for use in serious choices such as insurance. It extends standard decision theories like expected utility or cumulative prospect theory which are atemporal single stage theories. Instead it employs stages of knowledge ahead to track satisfactions and dissatisfactions. In the first stage of the risk, the uninsured face dissatisfactions of worries and planning difficulties (avoided by the insured), also perhaps positive satisfactions of thrills (missed out by the insured). In the second stage when the risk is past, the uninsured may face the dissatisfactions of ridicule and blame if they learn that they were unlucky. From experimental and questionnaire data, 80% of our subjects are influenced by such secondary satisfactions. Only five percent of our participants employ the usage of integrated quantitative aggregation rules for evaluating acts as assumed under expected utility theory.
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