Ákos Münnich, born in Debrecen, Hungary, in 1957. Ph.D. from the University of Debrecen and from the University of Amsterdam. Associate Professor at the Department of Social and Work Psychology at the University of Debrecen.
Fellow (1 September 2003 – 31 January 2004)
UNDERSTANDING PREFERENCES: THEORY AND METHODOLOGY
My research plan at NIAS was governed by the aims of the theme group “A new view on survey research” coordinated by Willem E. Saris. The purpose of the research project of the theme group was to make formal models of survey-relevant mental processes. I proposed that complex preferences are formed through the integration of unidimensional preferences and suggested that this integration satisfies certain behavioural laws such as bisymmetry and reflexivity. On the basis of these assumptions, specific functional forms of the relationship between input-stimuli and the possible overt responses were constructed. Two papers were finalized and submitted to leading journals for publication. Three databases were collected to test the theoretical results of the papers and the data showed a massive fit to the models. Moreover, intensive discussions between theme group members produced new ideas about the possible application of the theoretical models. It was concluded that the models may well describe an old phenomena of surveys known as the so-called forbid-allow asymmetry problem. I have collected data (in Hungary) for the empirical testing of the theoretical ideas and have already started on a paper about the relevance of automatic and conscious processes to survey settings.