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Svenson, O.S.

Svenson, O.S.

Ola Svenson, born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1939. Ph.D. from Stockholm University. Professor of Psychology at Stockholm University.

Fellow (1 September 1998 – 31 January 1999)

Thanks to fortunate circumstances I was able to spend the Fall term of 1998/99 at NIAS. During this period I concentrated on the further developing of the Differentiation and Consolidation Theory of human decision making. However, work in progress and collaborative research efforts involving researchers outside NIAS were also given due attention.

Decision making – Most contemporary decision theories, whether they originate in psychology, operational research, statistics, economy or any other discipline, largely neglect human affect and emotion. Differentiation and Consolidation Theory of human decision making was further developed to include both cognitive and affective components. In an empirical study, associations to decision alternatives before and after a decision were compared. The results showed how a decision was consolidated (‘defended’) after it was made and that one decision rule was used when one alternative was chosen and another rule when the other alternative was preferred. This result, with different decision rules for different alternatives at the same time, is at variance with most contemporary decision theories. In another empirical study, it was shown how a prior disadvantage of a chosen alternative was transformed into an advantage a few months after the decision. This illustrates that if our values do not fit our decisions we can change our values.