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Scope insensitivity: The limits of intuitive valuation of human lives in public policy
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. WU Vienna University of Econ and Business, Austria.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Decis Research, NY USA.
University of Vienna, Austria.
Decis Research, NY USA; University of Oregon, OR 97403 USA.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, ISSN 2211-3681, E-ISSN 2211-369X, Vol. 4, no 3, 248-255 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A critical question for government officials, managers of NGOs, and politicians is how to respond to situations in which large numbers of lives are at risk. Theories in judgment and decision making as well as economics suggest diminishing marginal utility with increasing quantities of goods. In the domain of lifesaving, this form of non-linearity implies decreasing concern for individual lives as the number of affected people increases. In this paper, we show how intuitive valuations based on prosocial emotions can lead to scope insensitivity and suboptimal responses to lives at risk. We present both normative and descriptive models of valuations of lives and discuss the underlying psychological processes as they relate to judgments and decisions made in public policy and by NGO5. (C) 2015 Published by Elsevier Inc on behalf of Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC , 2015. Vol. 4, no 3, 248-255 p.
Keyword [en]
Value of life; Scope insensitivity; Information processing
National Category
Basic Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122541DOI: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2014.09.002ISI: 000362924200012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-122541DiVA: diva2:867989
Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-06 Last updated: 2017-12-01

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Dickert, StephanVästfjäll, Daniel

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