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Why process matters: A social cognition perspective on economic behavior

Author

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  • Crusius, Jan
  • van Horen, Femke
  • Mussweiler, Thomas

Abstract

Much research on economic behavior has been devoted to demonstrating deviations from standard economic theories. Such descriptive research has proven invaluable in showing that systematic violations of the norm occur frequently in human decision making. Here, we advocate a shift to a more process-focused research approach aimed at uncovering the why of economic behavior. We provide several examples highlighting that seemingly similar phenomena can be governed by very different psychological processes, that the same processes can have explanatory power in very different domains, and that the situational context is a crucial determinant of the mental processes governing behavior. In doing so, we advocate a social-cognitive perspective on economic behavior, aimed at revealing the psychological mechanisms that shape how people construe a particular situation. We hope that such a perspective can contribute to theoretical and empirical integration, novel predictions, and more precise strategies to change behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Crusius, Jan & van Horen, Femke & Mussweiler, Thomas, 2012. "Why process matters: A social cognition perspective on economic behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 677-685.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:3:p:677-685
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.09.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Posten, Ann-Christin & Ockenfels, Axel & Mussweiler, Thomas, 2014. "How activating cognitive content shapes trust: A subliminal priming study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 12-19.
    2. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Bizer, Kilian, 2013. "Anchoring: A valid explanation for biased forecasts when rational predictions are easily accessible and well incentivized?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 166, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Farrow, Katherine & Grolleau, Gilles & Ibanez, Lisette, 2017. "Social Norms and Pro-environmental Behavior: A Review of the Evidence," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 1-13.
    4. repec:eee:joepsy:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:74-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mira Fischer & Sebastian Lotz, 2014. "Is Soft Paternalism Ethically Legitimate? - The Relevance of Psychological Processes for the Assessment of Nudge-Based Policies," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 05-02, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    6. Dorrough, Angela R. & Leszczyńska, Monika & Barreto, Manuela & Glöckner, Andreas, 2016. "Revealing side effects of quota rules on group cooperation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 136-152.
    7. Luchini, Stéphane & Watson, Verity, 2013. "Uncertainty and framing in a valuation task," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 204-214.
    8. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till E., 2015. "Anchoring in social context," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 29-39.
    9. Lotz, Sebastian & Schlösser, Thomas & Cain, Daylian M. & Fetchenhauer, Detlef, 2013. "The (in)stability of social preferences: Using justice sensitivity to predict when altruism collapses," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 141-148.
    10. Angela Ambrosino, 2017. "The Role of Agents’ Propensity toward Conformity and Independence in the Process of Institutional Change," STOREPapers 1_2017, Associazione Italiana per la Storia dell'Economia Politica - StorEP.
    11. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    12. Lange, Jens & Krahé, Barbara, 2014. "The effects of information form and domain-specific knowledge on choice deferral," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 92-104.
    13. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "An experimental study on social anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 196, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social cognition; Psychological processes; Economic psychology; Behavioral economics;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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