Decision Making

Robyn A. LeBoeuf, Eldar Shafir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews selected psychological research on human decision making. The classical, rational theory of choice holds that decisions reflect consistent, stable preferences, which are unaffected by logically immaterial changes in context, presentation, or description. In contrast, empirical research has found preferences to be sensitive to logically irrelevant changes in the context of decision, in how options are described, and in how preferences are elicited. Decisions are also swayed by affect and by decisional conflict and are often driven by the reasons that are most accessible at the moment of choice, leading to preference reversals when, for example, different reasons are made accessible. More broadly, decision makers tend to adopt a local" perspective: They accept decisions as described and focus on the most salient attributes, even when a more global" perspective, less influenced by local context and frame, might yield decisions that are less biased by temporary and irrelevant concerns. Future directions and implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199968718
ISBN (Print)9780199734689
StatePublished - Nov 21 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


  • Choice
  • Framing
  • Intertemporal choice
  • Loss aversion
  • Preference reversals
  • Priming
  • Uncertainty


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