Decision Making

Robyn A. LeBoeuf and Eldar Shafir

in The Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199734689
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Decision Making

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Show Summary Details


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.

Keywords: choice; uncertainty; loss aversion; framing; preference reversals; intertemporal choice; priming

Article.  16029 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or purchase to access all content.