Decision and experience: why don't we choose what makes us happy?

  title={Decision and experience: why don't we choose what makes us happy?},
  author={Christopher K. Hsee and Reid Hastie},
  journal={Trends in Cognitive Sciences},

Suboptimal Choices and the Need for Experienced Individual Well-Being in Economic Analysis

Standard economic analysis assumes that people make choices that maximise their utility. Yet both popular discourse and other fields assume that people sometimes fail to make optimal choices and thus

“Leaky” Rationality: How Research on Behavioral Decision Making Challenges Normative Standards of Rationality

  • Daniel J KeysB. Schwartz
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2007
It is argued that formal principles of rationality do not provide a good enough normative standard against which to assess decision making and what is needed is a substantive theory of rationality—one that takes subjective experience seriously, considers both direct and indirect consequences of particular decisions, considers how particular decisions fit into life as a whole, and considers the effects of decisions on others.

When Wanting the Best Goes Right or Wrong

Drawing from motivation research, it is shown that two motivational orientations, promotion focus and assessment mode, are both associated with the goal of wanting the best, yet assessment is related to the use of alternative search strategies.

Soft paternalism and subjective well-being: how happiness research could help the paternalist improve individuals’ well-being

Soft paternalists claim to respect individuals’ preferences by trying to nudge them towards actions that would satisfy said preferences if they were suitably informed and debiased. This paper argues

Is Happiness the Best Measure of Well- Being?

There is much discussion about using subjective well-being measures as inputs into a social welfare function, which will tell us how well societies are doing. But we have (many) more than one measure

Motivational Reasons for Biased Decisions: The Sunk-Cost Effect’s Instrumental Rationality

The mechanism of need regulation, which accompanies the so-called “biased” decisions, is described and the application of the label “irrational” for biased decisions is discussed and reasons for instrumental rationality are proposed, which exist at an unconscious, need-regulative level.

The Pursuit of Unhappiness

Modern reflection about the good life and the good society has been dominated by a spirit of liberal optimism, according to which people typically know what's good for them and make prudent choices

Getting the Most for the Money: The Hedonic Return on Experiential and Material Purchases

Consumers everywhere are faced with the same dilemma: given limited resources, what sorts of purchases are most likely to produce lasting happiness and satisfaction? Put simply, how do you get the

Behavioral Economics, Public Policy, and Paternalism

Many economists are libertarians and consider the term “paternalistic” to be derogatory. Most would think that the phrase libertarian paternalism is an oxymoron. The modest goal of this essay is to



When choice is demotivating: can one desire too much of a good thing?

Experimental studies show that people are more likely to purchase gourmet jams or chocolates or to undertake optional class essay assignments when offered a limited array of 6 choices rather than a more extensive array of 24 or 30 choices.

Lay Rationalism and Inconsistency between Predicted Experience and Decision

Decision-makers are sometimes depicted as impulsive and overly influenced by hot,affective factors. The present research suggests that decision-makers may be too cold and overly focus on

Anticipated Emotions as Guides to Choice

When making decisions, people often anticipate the emotions they might experience as a result of the outcomes of their choices. In the process, they simulate what life would be like with one outcome

Choice and the relative pleasure of consequences.

Attempts to model pleasure and pain in terms of utilities, decision weights, and counterfactual comparisons are examined.

Happiness: Lessons from a New Science

In this new edition of his landmark book, Richard Layard shows that there is a paradox at the heart of our lives. Most people want more income. Yet as societies become richer, they do not become

Choices, Values, and Frames

We discuss the cognitive and the psy- chophysical determinants of choice in risky and risk- less contexts. The psychophysics of value induce risk aversion in the domain of gains and risk seeking in

Predicting a changing taste: Do people know what they will like?

A distinction is made between decision utility, experienced utility, and predicted utility and an experiment is reported addressing people's ability to forecast experienced utility. Subjects in two

Does Living in California Make People Happy? A Focusing Illusion in Judgments of Life Satisfaction

Large samples of students in the Midwest and in Southern California rated satisfaction with life overall as well as with various aspects of life, for either themselves or someone similar to

It’s the Thought That Counts: On Perceiving How Helpers Decide to Lend a Hand

It is proposed that these “decision modes” signal the helper’s underlying attitudes about the recipient, which in turn, clarify their relationship.