Elke U. Weber
JA Chazen Professor Intl Business
Ph.D., Harvard, 1984
General Area of Research
The study of decision making under uncertainty, in the lab using both behavioral and fMRI data, and in the real world.
Research in my lab investigates the qualitatively different ways in which people have been shown to make decisions. Some of those involve rational evaluation of outcomes and likelihood and the calculation of best option. Others involve the use of affective reactions to guide behavior, such as impulse purchases or the avoidance of fear inducing situations. Yet other capitalize on recognizing choice situations as one of a type for which a rule provides a successful and/or socially endorsed course of action.
Another line of research investigates psychologically appropriate ways to measure and model individual and cultural differences in risk taking. This work distinguishes between perceptions of riskiness and attitude towards perceived risk. We find that individual, gender, culture, and domain-specific differences in risk taking are largely accounted for by differences in the perceptions of riskiness, rather than attitudes towards risk.
A third line of research examines the role of personal experience in risky decision making and the role that memory processes play in preference construction.
Weber, E. U., Shafir, S., and Blais, A.R. (2004). Predicting risk-sensitivity in humans and lower animals: Risk as variance or coefficient of variation. Psychological Review, 111, 3430-445.
Weber, E. U., Blais, A.R., and Betz, N. (2002). A domain-specific risk-attitude scale: Measuring risk perceptions and risk behaviors. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 15, 263-290.
Loewenstein, G. F., Weber, E. U., Hsee, C. K., and Welch, E. (2001). Risk as feelings. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 267-286.
Courses Frequently Taught
Psychology Dept. &
1190 Amsterdam Avenue MC: 5501
New York, NY 10027