How actions create--not just reveal--preferences.
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The neo-classical economics view that behavior is driven by - and reflective of - hedonic utility is challenged by psychologists' demonstrations of cases in which actions do not merely reveal preferences but rather create them. In this view, preferences are frequently constructed in the moment and are susceptible to fleeting situational factors; problematically, individuals are insensitive to the impact of such factors on their behavior, misattributing utility caused by these irrelevant factors to stable underlying preferences. Consequently, subsequent behavior might reflect not hedonic utility but rather this erroneously imputed utility that lingers in memory. Here we review the roles of these streams of utility in shaping preferences, and discuss how neuroimaging offers unique possibilities for disentangling their independent contributions to behavior.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1016/j.tics.2007.10.008
Publication InfoAriely, D; & Norton, MI (2008). How actions create--not just reveal--preferences. Trends Cogn Sci, 12(1). pp. 13-16. 10.1016/j.tics.2007.10.008. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6219.
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James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Economics
HI, I'M DAN ARIELY. I do research in behavioral economics and try to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you. My immersive introduction to irrationality took place many years ago while I was overcoming injuries sustained in an explosion. The range of treatments in the burn department, and particularly the daily “bath” mad