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The neurological basis of intuition

The neurological basis of intuition | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

 

Most of us have experienced the vague feeling of knowing something without having any memory of learning it. This phenomenon is commonly known as a “gut feeling” or “intuition”; more accurately though, it is described as implicit or unconscious recognition memory, to reflect the fact that it arises from information that was not attended to, but which is processed, and can subsequently be retrieved, without ever entering into conscious awareness. According to a new study, our gut feelings can enhance the retrieval of explicitly encoded memories – those memories which we encode actively – and therefore lead to improved accuracy in simple decisions. The study, which is published online in Nature Neuroscience, also provides evidence that the retrieval of explicit and implicit memories involves distinct neural substrates and mechanisms. The distinction between explicit and implicit memory has been recognized for centuries. We know, from studies of amnesic patients carried out since the 1950s, that implicit memories can influence behaviour, because such patients can learn to perform new motor skills despite having severe deficits in other forms of memory. Thus, the term implicit memory refers to the phenomenon whereby previous experience, of which one is not consciously aware, can aid performance on specific tasks. Ken Paller of Northwestern University and Joe Voss, who is now at the University of Urbana-Champaign in Illinois, set out to investigate further the influence of implicit recognition on decision-making, and used electroencephalography (EEG) to try to identify the brain activity associated with it. 12 healthy participants were presented with kaleidoscopic images under two different conditions. In one set of trials, they paid full attention to the images, and then perform what is referred to as a forced-choice recognition test, in which they were shown another set of images and asked to decide whether or not they had seen each of them before. In the other condition, they were made to perform a working memory task whilst the initial first set of images were presented to them – they heard a spoken number and were asked to keep it in mind, so that during the next trial they could indicate whether it was even or odd. Thus, in these trials, their attention was diverted away from the stimuli.....


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Paving the way in neuroeconomics

Paving the way in neuroeconomics | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Why the Erasmus Centre for Neuroeconomics is making a name for itself in research that applies brain-scanning technology to economics and marketing issues.

A recent neuromarketing world forum held in New York enticed business leaders and academics from around the world to ‘Rethink Advertising’ and learn the secrets behind the ‘Success of iconic brands’.

On the agenda of the event, at which RSM's Professor Ale Smidts was a keynote speaker, were the latest studies to emerge from a small but elite group of business schools demonstrating ways in which brain-imaging technology can advance our understanding of – and ability to predict – consumer behaviour. Among the research presented were case studies with consumer giants Estee Lauder and Fox Sports.

Neuroeconomics – and its more applied offspring “neuromarketing” – is currently one of the fastest growing and revolutionary areas in management and economic research. It unabashedly crosses the boundaries of academic disciplines, borrowing insights and high-tech medical tools from neuroscience and applying them to questions of a business or economic nature.

The field is gaining the endorsement of some of the world's leading academic institutions – among them the Erasmus Centre for Neuroeconomics. And companies are following suit. Because while its research methods are novel, perhaps most intriguing about this field is its potential to produce revelatory new knowledge that is of interest to both scientists and practitioners.

 
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Behavioral Science

This is "Behavioral Science" by Behavioral Science Lab on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.
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An approach towards ethics: neuroscience and development

An approach towards ethics: neuroscience and development | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
For me personally it has always been a struggle, reading through all the philosophical and religious literature I have a long standing interest in, to verbalize my intuitive concept of morals in any satisfactory way. Luckily for me, once I’ve started reading up on modern psychology and neuroscience, I found out that there are empirical models based on clustering of the abundant concepts that correlate well with both our cultured intuitions and our knowledge of brain functioning. Models that are for the studies of Ethics what the Big Five traits are for personality theories or what the Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory is for cognitive abilities.  In this post I’m going to provide an account of research of what is the most elucidating level of explanation of human morals – that of neuroscience and psychology. The following is not meant as a comprehensive review, but a sample of what I consider the most useful explanatory tools. The last section touches briefly upon genetic and endocrinological component of human morals, but it is nothing more than a mention. Also, I’ve decided to omit citations in quotes, because I don’t want to include into the list of reference the research I am personally unfamiliar with.

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Sistemica: istruzioni per l’uso

 

 Summary 

The systemic approach has always been an integral part of the scientific activity and, contrary to some current simplifications, it has never been in conflict with the reduc-tionist approach. In times of strongest crossing interdisciplinary dynamics, the debate on the meaning of systemic requires a new understanding and we feel the need for a more theoretical foundation. These reflections intend to frame the problem from the point of view of theoretical physics 

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What is sociometry?

What is sociometry? | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

What is sociometry?

Pioneer of sociometry, Dr. Jakob Moreno, defined it as “the inquiry into the evolution and organisation of groups and the position of individuals within them.” He went on to describe it as “the …science of group organization – it attacks the problem not from the outer structure of the group, the group surface, but from the inner structure. Sociometric explorations reveal the hidden structures that give a group its form: the alliances, the subgroups, the hidden beliefs, the forbidden agendas, the ideological agreements, the ‘stars’ of the show.”

Sociometry aims to bring about greater spontaneity (willingness to act) and creativity within groups of people.  Greater spontaneity and creativity brings about greater group task effectiveness and satisfaction amongst its members.  Sociometry teaches us that the quality of an outcome is directly related to the quality of relationship between the people trying to generate that outcome.  Research sociometry is an exploration of the social networks within which we exist.  This type of enquiry provides us with social maps and shows us how strongly people are connected to each other.  The full power of sociometry is realised when people have access to the information on such maps and are then able to make meaning of it themselves and to engage with each other about what lies behind their social choices.  Sociometry emphasises encounter.  Applied, or action, sociometry uses a range of methods to assist groups to uncover, develop and deepen their social connections.  So, in a workplace for example, using a question such as “Who would you go to if you needed advice on a work problem,” applied sociometry invites people to make those choices overt and then to discuss what lies behind those choices:  Why did you choose this person?  Why did you choose me?  What does that information mean and what can we do with it so that we can get better at achieving our shared purpose?

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A Political Justification of Nudging

Abstract: Nudge policies are typically justified from paternalistic premises: nudges are acceptable if they benefit the individuals who are nudged. A tacit assumption behind this strategy is that the biases of decision that choice architects attempt to eliminate generate costs that are paid mainly by the decision-makers. For example, in the case of intertemporal discounting, the costs of preference reversal are paid by the discounters. We argue that this assumption is unwarranted. In the real world the costs of reversal are often transferred onto other individuals. But if this is the case, the biases create externalities, and nudges are best justified from a political rather than paternalistic standpoint. 
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Choice Architecture by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein, John P. Balz :: SSRN

Choice Architecture by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein, John P. Balz :: SSRN | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Abstract:      
Decision makers do not make choices in a vacuum. They make them in an environment where many features, noticed and unnoticed, can influence their decisions. The person who creates that environment is, in our terminology, a choice architect. In this paper we analyze some of the tools that are available to choice architects. Our goal is to show how choice architecture can be used to help nudge people to make better choices (as judged by themselves) without forcing certain outcomes upon anyone, a philosophy we call libertarian paternalism. The tools we highlight are: defaults, expecting error, understanding mappings, giving feedback, structuring complex choices, and creating incentives.
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Sound representation in higher language areas during language generation

Abstract

How language is encoded by neural activity in the higher-level language areas of humans is still largely unknown. We investigated whether the electrophysiological activity of Broca’s area correlates with the sound of the utterances produced. During speech perception, the electric cortical activity of the auditory areas correlates with the sound envelope of the utterances. In our experiment, we compared the electrocorticogram recorded during awake neurosurgical operations in Broca’s area and in the dominant temporal lobe with the sound envelope of single words versus sentences read aloud or mentally by the patients. Our results indicate that the electrocorticogram correlates with the sound envelope of the utterances, starting before any sound is produced and even in the absence of speech, when the patient is reading mentally. No correlations were found when the electrocorticogram was recorded in the superior parietal gyrus, an area not directly involved in language generation, or in Broca’s area when the participants were executing a repetitive motor task, which did not include any linguistic content, with their dominant hand. The distribution of suprathreshold correlations across frequencies of cortical activities varied whether the sound envelope derived from words or sentences. Our results suggest the activity of language areas is organized by sound when language is generated before any utterance is produced or heard.

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Factors influencing the purchase and consumers’ willingness to pay for ground bison

A consumer preference study that included willingness to pay and consumer sensory experiments was conducted for ground bison versus ground beef. A total of 82 subjects completed the study. The initial statistical analysis suggest that there is consistent consumer behavior with respect to consumer preference and frequency of consumption within species consumption options, but consistent consumer behavior appears to weaken when across species consumption preferences is compared to across species frequency of consumption patterns.

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How Does the Brain Adapt to the Restoration of Eyesight?

How Does the Brain Adapt to the Restoration of Eyesight? | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Recent scientific advances have meant that eyesight can be partially restored to those who previously would have been blind for life. However, scientists at the University of Montreal and the University of Trento have discovered that the rewiring of the senses that occurs in the brains of the long-term blind means that visual restoration may never be complete.
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Nudging Energy Efficiency Behavior: The Role of Information Labels

Nudging Energy Efficiency Behavior: The Role of Information Labels | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Abstract: We use choice experiments and randomized information treatments to study the effectiveness of alternative energy efficiency labels in guiding households’ energy efficiency decisions. We disentangle the relative importance of different types of information and distinguish it from intertemporal behavior. We find that insufficient information can lead to considerable undervaluation of energy efficiency. Simple information on the monetary value of energy savings was the most important element guiding cost-efficient energy efficiency investments, with information on physical energy use and carbon dioxide emissions having additional but lesser importance. The degree to which the current US EnergyGuide label guided cost-efficient decisions depends on the discount rate. Using elicited individual discount rates, the current EnergyGuide label came very close to guiding cost-efficient decisions. Using a uniform 5% discount rate, the current label led to one-third undervaluation of energy efficiency. Our results reinforce the centrality of discounting in understanding individual behavior and guiding policy. 
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What Is Compliance?

What Is Compliance? | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Have you ever done something simply because someone asked you to? In psychology, this is known as compliance. Learn more about the psychology behind compliance, including some of the techniques people use to get people to comply with their wishes.
What Is Compliance?

In psychology, compliance refers to changing one's behavior due to the request or direction of another person. It is going along with the group or changing a behavior to fit in with the group, while still disagreeing with the group. Unlike obedience, in which the other individual is in a position of authority, compliance does not rely upon being in a position of power or authority over others.

"Compliance refers to a change in behavior that is requested by another person or group; the individual acted in some way because others asked him or her to do so (but it was possible to refuse or decline.)"
(Breckler, Olson, & Wiggins, 2006)

 

"Situations calling for compliance take many forms. These include a friend's plea for help, sheepishly prefaced by the question "Can you do me a favor?" They also include the pop-up ads on the Internet designed to lure you into a commercial site and the salesperson's pitch for business prefaced by the dangerous words "Have I got a deal for you!" Sometimes the request is up front and direct; what you see is what you get. At other times, it is part of a subtle and more elaborate manipulation."
(Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2011)
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The Asch Experiments: Why Do We Feel the Need to Conform?

The Asch Experiments: Why Do We Feel the Need to Conform? | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Do you think of yourself as a conformist or a non-conformist? If you are like most people, you probably believe that you are non-conformist enough to stand up to a group when you know you are right, but conformist enough to blend in with the rest of your peers.

 

Imagine yourself in this situation: You've signed up to participate in a psychology experiment in which you are asked to complete a vision test. Seated in a room with the other participants, you are shown a line segment and then asked to choose the matching line from a group three segments of different lengths. The experimenter asks each participant individually to select the matching line segment. On some occasions everyone in the group chooses the correct line, but occasionally, the other participants unanimously declare that a different line is actually the correct match.

 

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Ariely: Behavioral economics - applied social science

The basic starting point is that in standard economics you assume that people are perfectly rational and you try to understand why they behave in the way that they do. But the starting point is that people are perfectly rational. For example, you see people are obese. You don't ask if obesity is the right choice. You assume obesity is the right choice for people. And then you say: ‘Why do they choose this?’ You would say perhaps that people enjoy food more than they care about living. Life is just not that good, food is fantastic, people are making the right trade-off. But you assume that people are making the right decision. In behavioural economics we're kind of agnostic. We're basically saying we don't know if people are rational or irrational, let's just examine how people behave. And because of that we often find that people don't behave rationally and we have very different conclusions. With obesity we might say that people might want to be healthy and live longer and feel better about themselves, but doughnuts are very hard to resist. And chocolate cake at the end of the meal is hard to resist. And people have no clue about how these things accumulate and it's a slow progression of time of obesity and we don't see it happening every time. So we have lots of reasons of why people behave like this.

Now, I think there are two usages for behavioural economics. One is to attack economics. I think this is useful not so much because economics deserves more attacking than any other discipline, but because economics has been more influential on policy and business. So if economics had stayed in academia and people had taught economics and it had never become the social science of choice for policy and business, I don't think we would have attacked economics. There would be no reason for that. The reason most people attack economics is not because we want to change economics. It's because we want to change the people who use economics for practical purposes. I love economics. Economics has lots of wonderful things. I want people to study economics as it is. I don't want everything to be behavioural economics. Economists should do what economists do, but when people use them for policy, for business, they should say: ‘Let's be careful about using it.’

The second type of behavioural economics, which I actually care more about, is really about applied social science. It's saying it's not just about economics or psychology or sociology or anthropology, it's really about creating a new world for ourselves. We keep on creating new things in it. Computer interfaces, technology, food, space travel. We're doing so many things. How do the things that we're doing fit with our own ability to make good and wrong decisions? Let's try and just figure it out. The nice thing about it, if you think about history, you just look back. The nice thing about social sciences, we're envisioning the future. So we can ask ourselves, if you're going to create a different version of Facebook, one that would actually increase productivity, what would it look like? If you created a new way for people to take medication, what would it look like? So we don't just ask questions about the past, we ask questions about the future. We ask questions about how would you engineer the world, how would you design the world in a way that you move it forward in a way that is more beneficial. So for me it's all about using social science in the experimental strategy as a tool to figure out where we are, what we do well and what kind of future we want to create for ourselves.

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What makes a discipline 'mathematical'?

What makes a discipline 'mathematical'? | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
While walking to work on Friday, I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts: The History of Philosophy without any Gaps. To celebrate the podcast’s 200th episode, Peter Adamson was interviewing Jill Kraye and John Marenbon on medieval philosophy. The podcasts was largely concerned with where we should define the temporal boundaries of medieval philosophy, especially on the side that bleeds into the Renaissance. A non-trivial, although rather esoteric question — even compared to some of the obscure things I go into on this blog, and almost definitely offtopic for TheEGG — but it is not what motivated me to open today’s post with this anecdote. Instead, I was caught by Jill Kraye’s passing remark:
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Anxious Leaders Make Better Decisions

Anxious Leaders Make Better Decisions | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Cass R. Sunstein is the law professor who with economist RichardThaler introduced the world to “nudge”, a concept that they say shows how governments and other organizations can encourage individuals to make better decisions. The idea and the book of the same name struck a chord with President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron and led to Sunstein spending a period in the Obama Administration. Now back in academe, Sunstein is still thinking about how people make decisions and with a new co-author, Reid Hastie, a  professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago, has published a book that claims to challenge the notion that decisions made by groups are better than those made by people on their own.
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Network Analysis in the Legal Domain: A complex model for European Union legal sources

Legislators, designers of legal information systems, as well as citizens face often problems due to the interdependence of the laws and the growing number of references needed to interpret them. Quantifying this complexity is not an easy task. In this paper, we introduce the "Legislation Network" as a novel approach to address related problems. We have collected an extensive data set of a more than 60-year old legislation corpus, as published in the Official Journal of the European Union, and we further analysed it as a complex network, thus gaining insight into its topological structure. Among other issues, we have performed a temporal analysis of the evolution of the Legislation Network, as well as a robust resilience test to assess its vulnerability under specific cases that may lead to possible breakdowns. Results are quite promising, showing that our approach can lead towards an enhanced explanation in respect to the structure and evolution of legislation properties
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'Gambler's Fallacy' Makes Life Unfair

'Gambler's Fallacy' Makes Life Unfair | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
The "gambler's falacy" -- the mistaken belief that a small sequence of events will look like a bigger one -- leads to unfairness for immigrants, bank loan applicants, baseball batters and probably a lot of other people. 

Suppose you're watching a baseball game, and your favorite player, a terrific hitter with a .320 average, has struck out three times in a row. If you’re like most people, you might think, “He’s due!” -- and conclude that on his fourth at-bat, he’s likely to get a hit.

Now suppose that you are working in a college admissions office. Your job is to evaluate 200 applicants, about 50 of whom will be admitted. You've just accepted three in a row, and now you might be inclined to think that the next two are unlikely to deserve admission. You might even evaluate their applications with that skeptical thought in mind.

A lot of people are prone to this “gambler’s fallacy” -- the mistaken belief that a small sequence of events will look a lot like a bigger one. Flip a coin 1,000 times, and there’s a very high probability it will come up heads half the time. But flip a coin five times, and you’ll find some surprises. Heads-tails-heads-tails-heads is no more likely than heads-heads-heads-heads-tails, for example. When we're dealing with small numbers, our intuition leads us the wrong way.

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How emotions influence what we buy | Giancarlo Mirmillo | LinkedIn

How emotions influence what we buy | Giancarlo Mirmillo | LinkedIn | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

People believe that the choices they make result from a rational analysis of available alternatives.

In reality, however, emotions greatly influence and, in many cases, even determine our decisions. In his book, Descartes Error, Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, argues that emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all decisions.

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Put your model where your mouth is: a choice prediction competition - Decision Science News

Put your model where your mouth is: a choice prediction competition - Decision Science News | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
A competition among models that capture classical choice anomalies (including Allais, St. Petersburg, and Ellsberg paradoxes, and loss aversion) .
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Feedback and Emotions in the Trust Game

Feedback and Emotions in the Trust GameWe conduct an experiment on the impact of feedback in the Trust Game. In our treatment group, the Trustee has the opportunity to give feedback to the Investor (free in choice of wording and contents). The feedback option is found to reduce the share of Investors who sent no resources to the Trustee, while the impact on average behavior is less pronounced. The notion proposed by Xiao and Houser (2005, PNAS) according to which verbal feedback and monetary sanctions are substitutes is not supported. We use the PANAS-scale (Mackinnon et al., 1999) to capture change in subjects’ short-run affective state during the experiment. Receiving feedback has an impact on the Investors’ short-run affective state but giving feedback is not found to have an effect on Trustees’ short-run affective state.   
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Nudging Energy Efficiency Behavior: The Role of Information Labels

Abstract: We use choice experiments and randomized information treatments to study the effectiveness of alternative energy efficiency labels in guiding households’ energy efficiency decisions. We disentangle the relative importance of different types of information and distinguish it from intertemporal behavior. We find that insufficient information can lead to considerable undervaluation of energy efficiency. Simple information on the monetary value of energy savings was the most important element guiding cost-efficient energy efficiency investments, with information on physical energy use and carbon dioxide emissions having additional but lesser importance. The degree to which the current US EnergyGuide label guided cost-efficient decisions depends on the discount rate. Using elicited individual discount rates, the current EnergyGuide label came very close to guiding cost-efficient decisions. Using a uniform 5% discount rate, the current label led to one-third undervaluation of energy efficiency. Our results reinforce the centrality of discounting in understanding individual behavior and guiding policy.
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Nudging Healthy Lifestyles – Informing Regulatory Governance with Behavioural Research

Nudging Healthy Lifestyles – Informing Regulatory Governance with Behavioural Research | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Abstract: At a time when policy makers want to change the behaviour of citizens to tackle a broad range of social problems, such as climate change, excessive drinking, obesity and crime, a promising new policy approach has appeared that seems capable of escaping the liberal reservations typically associated with all forms of regulatory action. The approach, which stems from the increasingly ubiquitous findings of behavioural research, is generally captured under the evocative concept of ‘nudge.’ Inspired by ‘libertarian paternalism,’ it suggests that the goal of public policies should be to steer citizens towards making positive decisions as individuals and for society while preserving individual choice. As governments are taking considerable interest in the use of ‘nudging,’ this collection of essays provides a pioneering analysis of this innovative policy approach as it is currently experimented in the United Kingdom and the United States. In particular, it aims at critically examining the application of nudging approaches to the current efforts of regulating lifestyle choices, such as tobacco use, excessive use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and lack of physical exercise. In his opening essay, Nudging Healthy Lifestyles, Adam Burgess provides a critical assessment of the introduction of behavioural, nudging approaches to correct lifestyle behaviours in the UK. His thought-provoking analysis triggered a lively debate that has been framed along the subsequent essays signed by On Amir and Orly Lobel, Evan Selinger and Kyle Powys White, Alberto Alemanno and Luc Bovens. Each of these essays critically reflects upon the effectiveness as well as legitimacy of ‘nudging’ approaches
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Journal of the European Economic Association - Volume 11 Themed Issue: Social Norms: Theory and Evidence from Laboratory and Field - June 2013 - Wiley Online Library

Journal of the European Economic Association - Volume 11 Themed Issue: Social Norms: Theory and Evidence from Laboratory and Field - June 2013 - Wiley Online Library | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
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The race may be close but my horse is going to win: Wish fulfillment in the 1980 presidential election - Springer

The race may be close but my horse is going to win: Wish fulfillment in the 1980 presidential election - Springer | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Abstract

Using data from the 1980 U.S. presidential election, we investigate the extent to which voter expectations about candidate electoral success and margin of victory are subject to systematic biases. In particular, we examine the extent to which candidate supporters overestimate their choice's likelihood of success. After finding a rather dramatic bias in the direction of “wishful thinking,” we review alternative explanations of this phenomenon, including a model based on nonrandom contact networks and one based on preference-related differences in expectations about exogenous variables that could affect the election outcome.

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