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Bridging the Attitude-Preference-Gap: A Cognitive Approach To Preference Formation

Schmitt, Rebecca (2015): Bridging the Attitude-Preference-Gap: A Cognitive Approach To Preference Formation.

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Abstract

This paper provides a descriptive decision model that is based on a single behavioral pattern: human beings strive for consistency between what they do, what they think and what they perceive. This pattern manifests in the decision maker’s aim to bring his attitudes, beliefs and behavior into balance. Drawing principally on the theory of cognitive dissonance by Festinger (1957), the model shows how the concept of attitudes and the concept of preferences are interwoven by the human need for consistency. It closes the conceptual gap between preferences and attitudes. The model is an alternative approach to additive utility models, such as the one by Fehr and Schmidt (1999). Models of this class are not capable of explaining behavioral discontinuities in the mini ultimatum game. In contrast, the attitude-based model covers this behavioral pattern.

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