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, anddiscusshow neuroimaging offersunique possibilities for disentangling their independent contributions to behavior.