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In Search of Homo Economicus: Preference Consistency, Emotions, and Cognition

41 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2006  

Leonard Lee

Columbia Business School - Marketing

On Amir

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Dan Ariely

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2006

Abstract

Understanding the roles of emotion and cognition in forming preferences is critical in helping firms choose effective marketing strategies and consumers make appropriate consumption decisions. In this work, we investigate the role of the emotional and cognitive systems in preference consistency (transitivity). Participants were asked to make a set of binary choices under conditions that were aimed to tap emotional versus cognitive decision processes. The results of three experiments consistently indicate that automatic affective responses are associated with higher levels of preference transitivity than deliberate cognitive considerations, and suggest that the basis of this central aspect of rational behavior - transitivity - lies in the limbic system rather than the cortical system.

Keywords: Transitivity, Emotion, Cognition, Preferences, Rationality

JEL Classification: D00, M31

Suggested Citation

Lee, Leonard and Amir, On and Ariely, Dan, In Search of Homo Economicus: Preference Consistency, Emotions, and Cognition (August 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=925978 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.925978

Leonard Lee (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States
212 854 2177 (Phone)
212 854 7647 (Fax)

On Amir

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States
858-534-2023 (Phone)
858-534-0745 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://management.ucsd.edu/faculty/directory/amir/

Dan Ariely

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
(919) 381-4366 (Phone)

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