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Cognitive Dissonance and Choice

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Abstract

People like to feel good about past decisions. This paper models self- justification of past decisions. The model is axiomatic: axioms are defined on preference over ex ante actions (modeled formally by menus) The representation of preference admits the interpretation that the agent adjusts beliefs after taking an action so as to be more optimistic about its possible consequences. In particular, the ex post choice of beliefs is part of the representation of preference and not a primitive assumption. Behavioral characterizations are given to the comparisons "1 exhibits more dissonance than 2" and "1 is more self-justifying than 2."

Suggested Citation

  • Larry Epstein & Igor Kopylov, 2006. "Cognitive Dissonance and Choice," RCER Working Papers 525, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  • Handle: RePEc:roc:rocher:525
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    File URL: http://rcer.econ.rochester.edu/RCERPAPERS/rcer_525.pdf
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    10. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2009. "Temptation-Driven Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 937-971.
    11. Smith, John, 2009. "Cognitive dissonance and the overtaking anomaly: Psychology in the principal-agent relationship," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 684-690, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jawwad Noor, 2006. "Menu-Dependent Self-Control," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-021, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    2. Klaus Nehring, 2006. "Self-Control through Second-Order Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000391, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Chen, Si, 2012. "Optimistic versus Pessimistic--Optimal Judgemental Bias with Reference Point," MPRA Paper 50693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Schmitt, Rebecca, 2015. "Bridging the Attitude-Preference-Gap: A Cognitive Approach To Preference Formation," MPRA Paper 68480, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Norio Takeoka, 2006. "Temptation, Certainty Effect, and Diminishing Self-Control," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000507, UCLA Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cognitive dissonance; optimism; temptation; self-control; self-justification; choice-theoretic; choosing beliefs;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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