IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Context, conflict, weights, and identities: some psychological aspects of decision making

  • Eldar Shafir
Registered author(s):

    Experimental psychology provides a drastically different picture of human abilities, motives, and behavior from that which predominates economic analyses. Individual preferences are normatively assumed to be well-ordered and consistent, but descriptively shown to be inconsistent and malleable. Not having at their disposal clear and reliable procedures for assigning values to options, people need to construct their preferences in the context of decision, which is rife with, among other things, conflict, emotion, contextual influences, and shifts in perspective and attention. Like many other traits and behaviors, preference inconsistency is the outcome not of distracted shortcuts or avoidable errors, but of fundamental aspects of mental life that are central to how people process information. Thus, it may help to think of individual decision makers not as faulty economic agents, but as fundamentally different creatures.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its journal Conference Series ; [Proceedings].

    Volume (Year): 48 (2003)
    Issue (Month): Jun ()

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbcp:y:2003:i:jun:n:48:x:5
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02210
    Phone: 617-973-3397
    Fax: 617-973-4221
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Email:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Loewenstein, George & Adler, Daniel, 1995. "A Bias in the Prediction of Tastes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 929-37, July.
    2. Haltiwanger, John & Waldman, Michael, 1985. "Rational Expectations and the Limits of Rationality: An Analysis of Heterogeneity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 326-40, June.
    3. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
    4. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
    5. Isen, Alice M. & Geva, Nehemia, 1987. "The influence of positive affect on acceptable level of risk: The person with a large canoe has a large worry," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 145-154, April.
    6. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S251-78, October.
    7. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
    8. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
    9. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
    10. Russell, Thomas & Thaler, Richard, 1985. "The Relevance of Quasi Rationality in Competitive Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1071-82, December.
    11. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    12. Shafir, Eldar & Diamond, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1997. "Money Illusion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 341-74, May.
    13. Hsee, Christopher K & Kunreuther, Howard C, 2000. " The Affection Effect in Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 141-59, March.
    14. Baron, Jonathan & Beattie, Jane & Hershey, John C., 1988. "Heuristics and biases in diagnostic reasoning : II. Congruence, information, and certainty," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 88-110, August.
    15. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
    16. Schelling, Thomas C, 1984. "Self-Command in Practice, in Policy, and in a Theory of Rational Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 1-11, May.
    17. Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
    18. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-20, September.
    19. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-84, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedbcp:y:2003:i:jun:n:48:x:5. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Spozio)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.