On the Heritability of Choice, Judgment, and “Irrationality”: Are People Born to Live on the Edge Or in the Mainstream?

Itamar Simonson, Stanford University, USA
Aner Sela, Stanford University, USA
We use a classic twins study design to examine genetic effects on a broad range of judgment and choice phenomena, including key influences on consumer decision making. We find a significant heritable effect on (a) preferences for compromise (but not perceptually dominating) options, (b) choosing a sure gain over a gamble, (c) preferences for a feasible though dull assignment (in the near distance), (d) maximizing (versus satisficing), and (e) preferences for utilitarian (versus hedonic) options. Conversely, we identify phenomena, such as judgment heuristics, that are not heritable individual differences. We discuss the implications of our findings and suggest directions for future research regarding the role of genetics in decision making.
[ to cite ]:
Itamar Simonson and Aner Sela (2010) ,"On the Heritability of Choice, Judgment, and “Irrationality”: Are People Born to Live on the Edge Or in the Mainstream?", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 232-234 .