Experimental Economics Seminar for February 13

Events, Seminars | February 10, 2015

Join us for the next ICES Experimental Economics Seminar of the semester, featuring Eric Johnson.

Professor Johnson, of Columbia University, will discuss his paper, Constructing Preferences from Memory: A Query Theory Account (abstract, background reading). The talk will take place on Friday, February 13, from 4:00 to 5:00pm, in room 5183 of the Metropolitan Building, Arlington campus.

Visit the Seminar schedule to access the paper and to learn more about upcoming speakers.


Many psychologists and behavioral economists agree that many of our preferences are constructed, rather than innate or pre-computed and stored. Little research, however, has explored the implications that established facts about human attention and memory have when people marshal evidence for their decisions. This talk reviews query theory, a psychological process model of preference construction, and uses it to explain a range of phenomena in intertemporal choice, including our impatience when we are asked to delay consumption. Behavioral data in combination with neuroscience evidence (fMRI, patient data and TMS) provides support for query theory’s assumptions about the processes underlying intertemporal preference construction. We also talk about query theory and choice architecture, in particular applications to attribute labeling, default effects, and increasing patience. We close by talking about applications to public policy.

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