The Situationist

The Situation of Preferences – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 29, 2008

image-by-juicystyle-flickr.jpgDan Simon, Daniel C. Krawczyk, Airom Bleicher, and Keith J. Holyoak have posted their new paper, “The Transience of Constructed Preferences,” (forthcoming in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making) on SSRN. The abstract is below.

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A large body of research suggests that preferences are constructed rather than merely accessed in the course of making decisions. The current research examines the stability of constructed preferences over time. Preferences for various factors relevant to a job choice were measured prior to presentation of the job choice task, at the point of decision, and again following a delay. It was found that relative to baseline pre-decision levels, preferences shifted to provide stronger support for the emerging decision. Preference changes proved to be transient, receding to baseline after one week (Ex. 1), and even within fifteen minutes (Ex. 2). These findings, which can be interpreted in terms of decision making by constraint satisfaction, suggest that preferences are constructed to serve the decision at hand, without constraining the decision maker in future decisions.

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For related scholarship, see Situaitonist contributor Paul Slovic’s Book, The Construction of Preference.

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