Reference points, anchors, norms, and mixed feelings

by Daniel Kahneman
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes ()


The article reviews theoretical analyses and some recent evidence on the role of reference points and anchors in individual choice, and considers possible implications of these analyses for a treatment of negotiation. Reference points are characterized by the abrupt changes in the valuation of gains and losses and of acceptable or reprehensible behavior. Norm theory is applied to the treatment of mixed feelings about outcomes to which multiple reference points are relevant. Anchoring effects in judgment are analyzed in terms of a memory process that assigns normality to possible values.

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