Topic 1: Understanding Choice

Ruben Martinez Cardenas

Type Search and Choice: True and Adopted Type Mismatch and the Generation of Frames.

A model of decision making is built where the type of the decision maker matters for how this process takes place. Individual’s type is assumed to be determined by Nature and ignored by individuals. Self-Type ignorance starts a process in which individuals search for a type to adopt. In this search process, individuals take into account the information in their current state, together with a net valuation function and a threshold, to determine when the search process must stop. The type-search process produces an adopted type that may or may not coincide with individual’s true type. If the adopted type is different to the true type, this adopted type is shown to function as a frame in an extended choice problem. In our choice framework, adopted types as frames can lead to sub-optimal choices with individual welfare implications. Possible applications of the model are suggested.

Robert Davies

Refining Our Understanding of Choice Blindness

In this paper, I discuss a variety of introspective failure exemplified by Choice Blindness research. The research is taken to show a high degree of willingness, in non-clinical participants, to offer confabulatory explanations for manipulated choices. Explanations of the data tend to have striking implications for assumptions about introspective reliability, decision-making, and market research. We see ourselves as introspectively competent, rational decision-makers—capable of knowing and retaining our attitudes and reasons, weighing our reasons as reasons, and self-regulating when something is amiss. However, widespread willingness to confabulate about reasons for choices that are not our own seems at odds with these assumptions. I evaluate three attempts to make sense of the Choice Blindness data—one, debunking, explanation purports to show that the research has no implications for general population; the two remaining explanations are amenable to researchers’ own conclusions that the data says something interesting and damaging about our introspective abilities. I argue that none of the three are satisfactory explanations of the phenomenon. I present an alternative explanation that sees the phenomenon explained in terms of an undetected movement between two cognitive processes. I defend the view against two likely objections and consider its strengths and weaknesses.

Key words: Confabulation; Choice Blindness; Deliberation; Introspection; Memory; Self-Knowledge; Transparency.

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