Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Irrational Valuations

How much is it worth? Forget rationality, your answer may depend on the last number you have heard. From Advisor’s Edge, April 2012:

Irrational valuations

Irrelevant influences and considerations, such as a person’s present emotions or anchor values, can influence how much worth someone places in an object (see

In a study, Professor Dan Ariely and his team asked participants to determine the value of objects like wine, chocolates and electronics.

“We first told them to consider whether they would pay the amount equivalent to the last two digits of their social security numbers,” he says. “We found a significant correlation between the amount they were willing to pay and these digits.”

For instance, someone whose SSN ends in 25 valued the objects much lower than someone with the last two digits of 78.

For no logical reason, the test subjects gravitated toward the most recent number they had considered in order to value the items. Even with full information about the objects, most people had no logical point of reference to help them place a value on these objects, instead using their own (irrelevant) past decisions or experiences as anchors.

April 23, 2012 - Posted by | behaviour, economics | , , ,

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