Behavioral economics methods for evaluation of cognitive and behavioral patterns of individual decision-making

Contested policy issues require understanding of behavioral factors of various stakeholders who are participating in decision-making processes and are affected by policy interventions. Behavioral goals govern or ‘frame’ what people attend to, what knowledge and attitudes become cognitively most accessible, how people evaluate various aspects of the situation, and what alternatives are being considered.

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© BiancoBlue | Dreamstime.com

Individual decision making is influenced by the perceptions of gain, normative, and hedonic goals. When a gain motivator is central, people base their choice by weighing the costs, risks and benefits of options, and will choose options with the highest gain against the lowest costs or risks. When normative goals are central, individuals base their choice on moral evaluations, that is, on what is deemed to be the most appropriate in that situation. When hedonic goal is central, individuals base their decision on what feels best. When it comes to certain behavior, people can thus base their receiving on the total assessment of costs, risks and benefits, moral assessments, depending on the extent to which the behavior has a more positive or negative consequence on the other including environment or society and on positive or negative feelings related to the behavior, such as feelings of satisfaction, joy, fear or anger. These three motivators correspond with different psychological theories.
We are developing and applying a range of methods and models to understand the factors that influence individual decision making such as various socio-psychological models including but not limited to gain motivator, normative and hedonic motives.

These methods are grounded in various theories:

  • Theory of planned behavior corresponds with Gain motivator with the assumption that people make decisions while relying on perceptions of costs and benefits. Other theory in this category are health beliefs model, social cognitive model, theory of interpersonal behavior, protection motivation theory
  • Norm activation theory is associate with normative motivator. It is based on moral evaluations, depending on the extent to which the behavior has a more positive or negative effect on the environment or society
  • Theories on affect focus on the role of feelings and on hedonic goals.  It is depending on positive or negative feelings related to the behavior, such as feelings of satisfaction, joy, fear or anger.

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Last edited: 12 July 2021

CONTACT DETAILS

Masoud Yazdanpanah

Guest Research Scholar Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

CONTACT DETAILS

Nadejda Komendantova

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

PUBLICATIONS

Komendantova, N. (2021). Transferring awareness into action: A meta-analysis of the behavioral drivers of energy transitions in Germany, Austria, Finland, Morocco, Jordan and Iran. Energy Research & Social Science 71, e101826. 10.1016/j.erss.2020.101826.

Yusupova, N., Bogdanova, D., & Komendantova, N. (2021). Artificial intelligence tools for analyzing emotionally colored information from customer reviews in the service sector. In: Second Scientific Conference on Fundamental Information Security Problems in terms of the Digital Transformation (FISP-2020). pp. e012013 IOP. 10.1088/1757-899X/1069/1/012013.

Yazdanpanah, M., Abadi, B., & Komendantova, N. (2020). Some at Risk for COVID-19 Are Reluctant to Take Precautions, but Others Are Not: A Case from Rural Iran. Frontiers in Public Health 8, e562300. 10.3389/fpubh.2020.562300.

Yaghoubi, J., Yazdanpanah, M., & Komendantova, N. (2019). Iranian agriculture advisors’ perception and intention toward biofuel: green way toward energy security, rural development and climate change mitigation. Renewable Energy 130, 452-459. 10.1016/j.renene.2018.06.081.

Komendantova, N. , Yazdanpanah, M., & Shafiei, R. (2018). Studying young people’ views on deployment of renewable energy sources in Iran through the lenses of Social Cognitive Theory. AIMS Energy 6 (2), 216-228. 10.3934/energy.2018.2.216.

Yazdanpanah, M., Komendantova, N. , & Ardestani, R.S. (2015). Governance of energy transition in Iran: Investigating public acceptance and willingness to use renewable energy sources through socio-psychological model. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 45, 565-573. 10.1016/j.rser.2015.02.002.

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