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‘‘Just forget it.’’ Memory distortions as bounded rationality

  • Bruno Frey

    ()

Distortions in memory impose important bounds on rationality but have been largely disregarded in economics. While it is possible to learn, it is more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to unlearn. This retention effect lowers individual utility directly or via reduced productivity, and adds costs to principal-agent relationships. The imprinting effect states that the more one tries to forget a piece of information the more vivid it stays in memory, leading to a paradoxical outcome. The effects are based on, and are supported by, psychological experiments, and it is shown that they are relevant in many economic situations and beyond.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11299-005-0004-9
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Article provided by Springer & Fondazione Rosselli in its journal Mind & Society.

Volume (Year): 4 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (06)
Pages: 13-25

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Handle: RePEc:spr:minsoc:v:4:y:2005:i:1:p:13-25
DOI: 10.1007/s11299-005-0004-9
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  1. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz, 2003. "Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy," CESifo Working Paper Series 959, CESifo Group Munich.
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  3. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gächter, 2003. "Living in Two Neighborhoods – Social Interactions in the LAB," CESifo Working Paper Series 954, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Hens, Thorsten & Mayer, Janós & Pilgrim, Beate, 2004. "Existence of Sunspot Equilibria and Uniqueness of Spot Market Equilibria: The Case of Intrinsically Complete Markets," Discussion Papers 2004/15, Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics.
  5. Aleksander Berentsen & Guillaume Rocheteau, . "On the Friedman Rule in Search Models with Divisible Money," IEW - Working Papers 155, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Fehr, Ernst & Henrich, Joseph, 2003. "Is Strong Reciprocity a Maladaptation? On the Evolutionary Foundations of Human Altruism," IZA Discussion Papers 712, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. C. Lanier Benkard, 2000. "Learning and Forgetting: The Dynamics of Aircraft Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  8. Bruno S. Frey & Margit Osterloh, 2004. "Yes, Managers Should Be Paid Like Bureaucrats," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-03, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  9. Falk, Armin & Kosfeld, Michael, 2003. "It's All About Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3970, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  11. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Bernhard von Rosenbladt & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2003. "A Nation-Wide Laboratory. Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioral Experiments into Representative Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 866, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & Schupp, Jürgen & von Rosenbladt, Bernhard & Wagner, Gert Georg, 2003. "A Nationwide Laboratory Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioural Experiments into Representative Surveys," CEPR Discussion Papers 3858, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Thorsten Hens & Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hoppé, 2002. "Markets Do Not Select For a Liquidity Preference as Behavior Towards Risk," Discussion Papers 02-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  14. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "The Role of Equality, Efficiency, and Rawlsian Motives in Social Preferences: A Reply to Engelmann and Strobel," IEW - Working Papers 179, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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