Al World Business Forum di Milano appena trascorso si è parlato, tra i vari argomenti, dei complessi meccanismi che regolano le decisioni del consumatore. Giungendo tutti, sia gli speaker che i partecipanti, alla constatazione che il consumatore compie sovente scelte del tutto irrazionali e imprevedibili. Ma irrazionali in che senso? Una logica, un motivo, un’intenzione dietro ad una scelta ci sono sempre. Solo che queste sono soggettive e limitate alla soggettività della persona. E quindi piuttosto che di scelte irrazionali, può essere più appropriato parlare di scelte prese in virtù di una ‘razionalità limitata’.
L’economia e la psicologia delle scelte e delle decisioni hanno attraversano diverse fasi e perseguito diversi filoni di ricerca. Il filone neoclassico e tradizionalista ha attribuito all’uomo la capacità di saper scindere e quella di saper scegliere. Di saper perseguire sempre il massimo livello di soddisfazione, attraverso scelte ‘razionali’ e calcolate in base ad un semplice schema, quello dei costi/benefici.
Decety, Jackson / FUNCTIONAL ARCHITECTURE OF HUMAN EMPATHY Jean Decety Philip L. Jackson University of Washington Empathy accounts for the naturally occurring subjective experi- enceofsimilaritybetweenthefeelingsexpressedbyselfandothers withoutloosingsightofwhosefeelingsbelongtowhom.Empathy involves not only the affective experience of the other person’s actual or inferred emotional state but also some minimal recog- nition and understanding ofanother’semotionalstate. Inlight of multiple levels of analysis ranging from developmental psy - chology, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and clinical neuropsychology, this article proposes a model of empathy that involves parallel and distributed processing in a number of dissociablecomputationalmechanisms.Sharedneuralrepresen- tations, self-awareness, mental flexibility, and emotion regula- tionconstitutethebasicmacrocomponentsofempathy,whichare underpinned by specific neural systems. This functional model maybeusedtomakespecificpredictionsaboutthevariousempa- thy deficits that can be encountered in different forms of social and neurological disorders
FIRST, you realise it’s a gorilla. The opening strains of Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight” are playing; the beast is enraptured. As the camera pulls back, you see that he’s seated at a drum kit. He flexes, raises his drumsticks, then brings them resoundingly down. Only in the final frames do you discover that the gorilla is pitching Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate. The advert, released in 2007, should not have worked. Conventional wisdom doubted that a jolt of joy from a drumming primate, however rhythmically gifted, would spur sales of chocolate bars. A member of the team that developed the ad says that when it was passed to Millward Brown, the world’s biggest tester of adverts, the firm found that it scored poorly among women on its measures of “awareness” and “brand appeal” and about average among men (Millward Brown says it did better on other measures). Yet Cadbury went ahead, and was rewarded with millions of online views, better perceptions of its brand and higher sales. Return on investment was three times the average for packaged-goods marketing campaigns.
How can individuals best be encouraged to take more responsibility for their well-being and their environment or to behave more ethically in their business transactions? Across the world, governments are showing a growing interest in using behavioural economic research to inform the design of nudges which, some suggest, might encourage citizens to adopt beneficial patterns of behaviour. In this fascinating collection, leading academic economists, psychologists and philosophers reflect on how behavioural economic findings can be used to help inform the design of policy initiatives in the areas of health, education, the environment, personal finances and worker remuneration. Each chapter is accompanied by a shorter 'response' that provides critical commentary and an alternative perspective. This accessible book will interest academic researchers, graduate students and policy-makers across a range of disciplinary perspectives.
The great Harvard psychologist Dan Wegner, who died earlier this year, wrote a famous article entitled How To Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing for Any Occasion (pdf). It concerned a very specific kind of mistake, which he labelled the "precisely counterintuitive error" – the kind of screw-up so obviously calamitous that you think about it in advance and decide you definitely won't let it happen: We see a rut coming up in the road ahead and proceed to steer our bike right into it. We make a mental note not to mention a sore point in conversation and then cringe in horror as we blurt out exactly that thing. We carefully cradle the glass of red wine as we cross the room, all the while thinking 'don't spill,' and then juggle it onto the carpet under the gaze of our host."
Behavioral economics and the closely related field of behavioral finance couple scientific research on the psychology of decision making with economic theory to better understand what motivates investors, employees, and consumers. This course will be based heavily on my own research. We will examine topics such as how emotion rather than cognition determines economic decisions, “irrational” patterns of thinking about money and investments, how expectations shape perceptions, economic and psychological analyses of dishonesty by presumably honest people, and how social and financial incentives combine to motivate labor by everyday workers and CEOs alike. This highly interdisciplinary course will be relevant to all human beings.
This class has two main goals:
To introduce you to the range of cases where people (consumers, investors, managers, and significant others) make decisions that are inconsistent with standard economic theory and the assumptions of rational decision making. This is the lens of behavioral economics.To help you think creatively about the applications of behavioral economic principles for the development of new products, technology based products, public policies, and to understand how business and social policy strategies could be modified with a deeper understanding of the effects these principles have on employees and customers.
Via Ricardo A. DUEN
Typically, modern economics has steered away from the analysis of sociological and psychological factors and has focused on narrow behavioural assumptions in which expectations are formed on the basis of mathematical algorithms. Blending together ideas from the social and behavioural sciences, this paper argues that the behavioural approach adopted in most economic analysis, in its neglect of sociological and psychological forces and its simplistically dichotomous categorization of behaviour as either rational or not rational, is too narrow and stark. Behaviour may reflect an interaction of cognitive and emotional factors and this can be captured more effectively using an approach that focuses on the interplay of different decision-making systems. In understanding the mechanisms affecting economic and financial decision-making, an interdisciplinary approach is needed which incorporates ideas from a range of disciplines including sociology, economic psychology, evolutionary biology and neuroeconomics.
In six experiments we show that initial valuations of familiar products and simple hedonic experiences are strongly influenced by arbitrary “anchors” (sometimes derived from a person's social security number). Because subsequent valuations are also coherent with respect to salient differences in perceived quality or quantity of these products and experiences, the entire pattern of valuations can easily create an illusion of order, as if it is being generated by stable underlying preferences. The experiments show that this combination of coherent arbitrariness (1) cannot be interpreted as a rational response to information, (2) does not decrease as a result of experience with a good, (3) is not necessarily reduced by market forces, and (4) is not unique to cash prices. The results imply that demand curves estimated from market data need not reveal true consumer preferences, in any normatively significant sense of the term.
Recent findings indicate that macroeconomic survey forecasts are anchoring biased and therefore are inefficient. However, despite highly significant test coefficients a bias adjustment does not improve forecasts’ quality. We find that the cognitive bias is a statistical artifact and that the anchoring test is biased itself. In particular, it produces misleading results if macroeconomic analysts use more comprehensive information than assumed by the test. Our results have important implications for a wide range of empirical research relying on survey data to capture market participants’ expectations, for example, studies analyzing the impact of macroeconomic conditions on asset prices, equity risk premiums or market liquidity.
L’illusione di sapere È compito tradizionale della filosofia della conoscenza e dell’epistemologia cercare di rispondere alla do-manda: com’è possibile conoscere?
La sostituzione di attributi
Un semplice esperimento ci introdurrà direttamente alla nozione di sostituzione di attributi. Si è domandato a studenti universitari statunitensi quanto giudicano, soggettivamente, di essere felici, in una scala da uno a dieci. Si è anche chiesto loro quanti appuntamenti galanti (dates) avevano avuto nel mese precedente. L’ordine con il quale queste due domande sono state poste ha alterato moltissimo le risposte: ponendo prima il quesito sulla felicità la correlazione statistica tra le due risposte è risultata trascurabile, mentre ponendo prima quello sul numero degli appuntamenti la correlazione con la risposta sulla felicità è diventata considerevole. In sostanza, è difficile valutare quanto si è felici, ma facilissimo rispondere alla domanda sugli appuntamenti. Se questa viene posta prima, inconsapevolmente si sostituisce un attributo facile (numero di appuntamenti galanti) a un attributo difficile (grado di felicità) e si crede di rispondere alla domanda difficile, offrendo in realtà una risposta sulla base della domanda facile.
Last week, we wrote about how setting printers to print double-sided by default saves paper. Kind of a no brainer. But we ended with a “counterintuitive coda” about how cover pages save paper. Counterintuitively, we were inundated with emails about the coda and none about the main finding. People wanted to know “How much paper did the cover sheets save?”, “Why does it work?” and so on. internal studies have shown that when cover pages are disabled, print volumes increase 15% to 17%
Diagnoses have soared as makers of the drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have found success with a two-decade marketing campaign. Quotation of the Day: "The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous. This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels." — Keith Connors, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, criticizing the rise of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants.
Abstract In an experiment on markets for services, we find that consumers are likely to stick to defaults and achieve suboptimal outcomes. We unpack two key psychological reasons why they do this - complexity (in terms of non-linearity, number and bundling of tariffs) and consumer inattention -. The complexity induced by product bundling, non-linearity and number of tariffs has an important role, but this is overstated if the explanatory power of inattention is neglected. We show that a ‘smart nudge’ policy of automatically switching default tariffs can be used to exploit inattention-based consumer inertia to achieve better consumer outcomes.
di Alberto Alemanno* e Matteo Motterlini Negli ultimi anni, le scienze comportamentali hanno svelato gli intimi meccanismi cognitivi che si celano, spesso inconsciamente, dietro le nostre scelte e decisioni. In particolare, l'economia comportamentale, confutando l'ipotesi neoclassica della piena razionalità umana, ha rivelato una serie di «distorsioni psicologiche» in grado di spiegare perché, spesso, le persone prendono decisioni che vanno contro i loro interessi. È ben documentata per esempio la tendenza delle persone a rispettare le impostazioni predefinite (si tratti dell'iscrizione a un fondo pensione, l'autorizzazione all'espianto di organi o semplicemente l'utilizzo di un software che gira sul nostro pc). Se non si è automaticamente indirizzati verso l'opzione che sarebbe per noi preferibile, è pertanto improbabile che la si sottoscriva spontaneamente. Allo stesso modo, sappiamo che un'informazione mirata e concreta può indurre un comportamento in senso virtuoso molto più efficacemente di statistiche asettiche e impersonali. Ecco perché le avvertenze illustrative dei prodotti del tabacco producono maggiori effetti dissuasivi delle avvertenze testuali.
Based on a series of pathbreaking lectures given at Yale University in 2012, this powerful, thought-provoking work by national best-selling author Cass R. Sunstein combines legal theory with behavioral economics to make a fresh argument about the legitimate scope of government, bearing on obesity, smoking, distracted driving, health care, food safety, and other highly volatile, high-profile public issues. Behavioral economists have established that people often make decisions that run counter to their best interests—producing what Sunstein describes as “behavioral market failures.” Sometimes we disregard the long term; sometimes we are unrealistically optimistic; sometimes we do not see what is in front of us. With this evidence in mind, Sunstein argues for a new form of paternalism, one that protects people against serious errors but also recognizes the risk of government overreaching and usually preserves freedom of choice.
Against those who reject paternalism of any kind, Sunstein shows that “choice architecture”—government-imposed structures that affect our choices—is inevitable, and hence that a form of paternalism cannot be avoided. He urges that there are profoundly moral reasons to ensure that choice architecture is helpful rather than harmful—and that it makes people’s lives better and longer.
In a classic Seinfeld episode, a purveyor of highly sought-after soup has no patience for customers taking too long to order and so enforces a set of fascist rules to keep the line moving. While the “soup Nazi” episode is highly amusing, recent research suggests that consumers tend to keep things simple all on their own—not to save time, but to avoid embarrassment. In sitcoms, embarrassment is the engine that keeps the laughs coming. In real life, we avoid it at all costs.moving. https://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/~rcm26/mcdevitt_et_al_embarrassment_march_2013.pdf
Stop smoking, eat less, exercise more, pay your taxes on time. So many things governments want us to do; so hard to get us to do them. HARDtalk's Shaun Ley speaks to behavioural economist Richard Thaler who thinks he has the answer. It's called 'nudge' theory, but it's not just an academic idea. Britain's Prime Minister is so impressed, he's set up a whole 'nudge unit' in the heart of his government. If you live in Britain, you may unwittingly already be part of a nudge experiment. So is the nudge guru teaching those in power how to encourage us to live better; or helping politicians to control us?
Retailers pulled out all the stops before, during and after Thanksgiving weekend, heightening and extending the Black Friday frenzy. They used aggressive methods to attract shoppers, from offering deeper discounts on doorbusters and cyber deals to connecting with consumers in new omnichannel ways. Deep discounts and expansive marketing campaigns are pressuring margins, making a well-curated and -executed pricing strategy all the more important.
In this issue we recap Thanksgiving weekend performance, highlight innovative retailer tactics and showcase how retailers are using art and science to make tough pricing decisions.
There has been substantial debate about whether certain forms of universal moral intuitions “exist” —intuitions that are non-reflective and undefended—and, if so, whether these intuitions have a privileged normative status. This debate arguably has implications for jurisprudential debates about the existence of “natural law.” This essay explores the underappreciated homology between one instantiation of the debates about the nature and quality of intuitive “moral” reasoning, and debates, associated with the Heuristics and Biases (H&B) school and the “Fast and Frugal” (F&F) school, about the nature and quality of our capacity to make “self-interested” decisions.
Some 70 years ago, cybernetics was a hot field; 30 years ago, catastrophe theory was on everyone’s lips. Those Greek-derived words for disciplines that once brought hope of explaining human behavior now evoke a quaint nostalgia, like Polaroids of long-haired young people in bell-bottom jeans and tie-dyed T-shirts. The new buzzword nowadays is big data, the fashionable term for capturing and analyzing the vast collections of information that people reveal about themselves when shopping online at Amazon.com and Travelocity or when writing about themselves on Facebook and Twitter. Big data involves a mix of computer science, information technology, mathematics, and applied statistics. It is increasingly used to sell us products or to persuade us to vote for politicians by tailoring the products’ or politicians’ images to our particular data-generated personas. Some talking heads like to say that computer-aided analysis of patterns will soon replace our traditional methods of discovering the truth in many fields, including medicine, the social sciences, and physics.