Consumers as inforagers

Authored by: Wooyang Kim , Donald A. Hantula

The Routledge Companion to Consumer Behavior Analysis

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415729925
eBook ISBN: 9781315850696
Adobe ISBN: 9781317913467


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Most accounts of consumer behavior proceed either explicitly or implicitly from an economic rational choice perspective, depicting consumers as Homo economicus. This view of consumer choice has been challenged by different models. Perhaps one of the best-known challenges is “bounded rationality” (Simon, 1955, 1956, 1957), which has also been applied in a variety of other fields, including anthropology, biology, ecology, economics, marketing, psychology, and sociology (for further review, see Conlisk, 1996). Among economists and psychologists, bounded rationality provokes arguments regarding the traditional axioms of economics (e.g., violations of independence and preference intransitivity) (Capra & Rubin, 2011; Einhorn & Hogarth, 1986; Foxall et al., 2010; Herrnstein, 1990; Herrnstein & Prelec, 1991; Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; Thaler, 1980; Tversky & Thaler, 1990). Although the paradigm of bounded rational choice has a relatively long history, numerous behavioral studies have shown that it too has difficulty explaining human behavior (Herrnstein, 1990; Mayr, 1983), possibly due to its mechanistic nature. For example, Mayr (1983) argued that the logic of evolutionary biology is very different from physical sciences with evolutionary biology explanations derived from a Darwinian Theory of natural selection. Moreover, Mayr’s argument implies that human behavioral research is likely to fit an explanation of human decision-making processes according to Darwinism rather than Newtonism.

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