One of the main themes that has emerged from behavioral decision research during the past three decades is the view that people's preferences are often constructed in the process of elicitation. This idea is derived from studies demonstrating that normatively equivalent methods of elicitation (e.g., choice and pricing) give rise to systematically different responses. These preference reversals violate the principle of procedure invariance that is fundamental to all theories of rational choice. If different elicitation procedures produce different orderings of options, how can preferences be defined and in what sense do they exist? This book shows not only the historical roots of preference construction but also the blossoming of the concept within psychology, law, marketing, philosophy, environmental policy, and economics. Decision making is now understood to be a highly contingent form of information processing, sensitive to task complexity, time pressure, response mode, framing, reference points, and other contextual factors.
Sarah Lichtenstein is a founder and Treasurer of Decision Research. Her fields of specialization are human judgment, decision making, risk perception, and risk assessment. She is now retired but continues as an advisor and consultant to Decision Research. She published numerous journal articles and book chapters on topics such as preference reversals and value structuring. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and served on the editorial boards of Organizational Behavior and Human Performance and Acta Psychologica. She is a co-author of the 1981 book Acceptable Risk. Paul Slovic, a founder and President of Decision Research, studies human judgment, decision making, and risk analysis. He and his colleagues worldwide have developed methods to describe risk perceptions and measure their impacts on individuals, industry, and society. He publishes extensively and serves as a consultant to industry and government. Dr Slovic is a past President of the Society for Risk Analysis and in 1991 received its Distinguished Contribution Award. In 1993 he received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association. In 1995 he received the Outstanding Contribution to Science Award from the Oregon Academy of Science. He has received honorary doctorates from the Stockholm School of Economics (1996) and the University of East Anglia (2005). He is a coauthor or editor of eight books, most recently The Perception of Risk (2000) and The Social Amplification of Risk (2003).
Part I. Introduction: Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. The construction of preference: an overview; Part II. Preference Reversals: 2. Relative importance of probabilities and payoffs in risk taking; 3. Reversals of preference between bids and choices in gambling decisions; 4. Response-induced reversals of preference in gambling: an extended replication in Las Vegas; 5. Economic theory of choice and the preference reversal phenomenon; Part III. Psychological Theories of Preference Reversals: 6. Contingent weighting in judgment and choice; 7. Cognitive processes in preference reversals; 8. The causes of preference reversal; 9. Preference reversals between joint and separate evaluations of options: a review and theoretical analysis; 10. Attribute-task compatibility as a determinant of consumer preference reversals; 11. Preferences constructed from dynamic micro-processing mechanisms; Part IV. Evidence for Preference Construction: 12. Construction of preferences by constraint satisfaction; 13. Coherent arbitrariness: stable demand curves without stable preferences; 14. Tom Sawyer and the construction of value; 15. When Web pages influence choice: effects of visual primes on experts and novices; 16. When choice is demotivating: can one desire too much of a good thing?; Part V. Theories of Preference Construction: 17. Constructive consumer choice processes; 18. Decision making and action: the search for a dominance structure; 19. Pre- and post-decision construction of preferences: differentiation and consolidation; 20. Choice bracketing; 21. Constructing preferences from memory; Part VI. Affect and Reason: 22. Reason-based choice; 23. The affect heuristic; 24. The functions of affect in the construction of preferences; 25. Mere exposure: a gateway to the subliminal; 26. Introspecting about reasons can reduce post-choice satisfaction; Part VII. Miswanting: 27. New challenges to the rationality assumption; 28. Distinction bias: misprediction and mischoice due to joint evaluation; 29. Lay rationalism and inconsistency between predicted experience and decision; 30. Miswanting: some problems in the forecasting of future affective states; Part VIII. Contingent Valuation: 31. Economic preferences or attitude expressions?: an analysis of dollar responses to public issues; 32. Music, pandas, and muggers: on the affective psychology of value; 33. Valuing environmental resources: a constructive approach; Part IX. Preference Management: 34. Measuring constructed preferences: towards a building code; 35. Constructing preferences from labile values; 36. Informed consent and the construction of values; 37. Do defaults save lives?; 38. Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron; References; Index.