Do we make decisions for other people based on our predictions of their preferences? Evidence from financial and medical scenarios involving risk

Eleonore Batteux, Eamonn Ferguson, Richard Tunney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The ways in which the decisions we make for others differ from the ones we make for ourselves has received much attention in the literature, although less is known about their relationship to our predictions of the recipient’s preferences. The latter question is of particular importance given real-world occurrences of surrogate decision-making which require surrogates to consider the recipient’s preferences. We conducted three experiments which explore this relationship in the medical and financial domains. Although there were mean discrepancies between surrogate predictions and choices, we identified a predictive relationship between the two. Moreover, when participants took high risks for themselves, it seems that they were not willing to do so for others, even when they believed that the recipient’s preferences were similar to their own. We discuss these findings relative to current theories and real-world instances of surrogate decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Early online date16 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funding: This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number ES/J500100/1], an ESRC post-graduate studentship to Eleonore Batteux.

Keywords

  • DMfO
  • financial decision-making
  • medical decision-making
  • risk preferences
  • self-other differences
  • surrogate decisions

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