One of the main themes that has emerged from behavioral decision research during the past three decades is the view that people's preferences are often constructed in the process of elicitation. This idea is derived from studies demonstrating that normatively equivalent methods of elicitation (e.g., choice and pricing) give rise to systematically different responses. These preference reversals violate the principle of procedure invariance that is fundamental to all theories of rational choice. If different elicitation procedures produce different orderings of options, how can preferences be defined and in what sense do they exist? This book shows not only the historical roots of preference construction but also the blossoming of the concept within psychology, law, marketing, philosophy, environmental policy, and economics. Decision making is now understood to be a highly contingent form of information processing, sensitive to task complexity, time pressure, response mode, framing, reference points, and other contextual factors.
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When asked to make a decision, people often don't really know what they want; they must construct their preferences 'on the spot'. This book describes the concept of preference construction, tracing the blossoming of this idea within psychology, economics, marketing, law, and environmental policy.About the Author:
Sarah Lichtenstein is a founder and Treasurer of Decision Research. Her fields of specialization are human judgment, decision making, risk perception, and risk assessment. She is now retired but continues as an advisor and consultant to Decision Research. She published numerous journal articles and book chapters on topics such as preference reversals and value structuring. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and served on the editorial boards of Organizational Behavior and Human Performance and Acta Psychologica. She is a co-author of the 1981 book Acceptable Risk.
Paul Slovic, a founder and President of Decision Research, studies human judgment, decision making, and risk analysis. He and his colleagues worldwide have developed methods to describe risk perceptions and measure their impacts on individuals, industry, and society. He publishes extensively and serves as a consultant to industry and government. Dr Slovic is a past President of the Society for Risk Analysis and in 1991 received its Distinguished Contribution Award. In 1993 he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association. In 1995 he received the Outstanding Contribution to Science Award from the Oregon Academy of Science. He has received honorary doctorates from the Stockholm School of Economics (1996) and the University of East Anglia (2005). He is a coauthor or editor of eight books, most recently The Perception of Risk (2000) and The Social Amplification of Risk (2003).
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