Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner in economics, dies at 90

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Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist whose work questioning the rationality of decision-making helped launch the field of economics and earned him a Nobel Prize, has died. He was 90 years old.

He died on Wednesday, a Washington Post He said, citing his stepdaughter, Deborah Treisman, a fiction editor The New Yorker. Nothing else was found.

Kahneman promoted the logic of logic that dominated economics for decades. He was able to show the logic behind several strange behaviors – why people refuse to sell stocks that have lost value, or why they drive to a distant store to save money on a small item, but not to survive in the same way. expensive.

Kahneman was “the most famous psychologist in the world,” Harvard University professor Steven Pinker told the Guardian in 2014. “His work is the greatest in the history of psychology.”

Working with psychologist Amos Tversky, Kahneman himself biases that interfere with decision making. These include loss aversion and how the question is answered can affect the answer. For example, if a health program will save 200 lives and kill 400 people, whether it will be approved will depend on whether the proponents show the lives saved or the lives lost.

Kahneman said that the brain reacts quickly and on the basis of incomplete information, often with tragic results. “Humans are designed to tell the best story,” he said in an interview with the American Psychological Association in 2012. “We don’t spend a lot of time saying, ‘There’s a lot we don’t know.’ We do what we know. “

Under the rubric of “hope theory,” Kahneman and Tversky inspired a revolution in psychology and then in economics, which was often considered an experimental science. The field of behavioral economics began in the late 20th century when a group of economists used awareness challenging the old notion of “homo economicus,” the efficient.

‘Cognitive minefield’

In 2011, Kahneman published his bestselling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, finding a wide audience for his ideas. The study presented a complete view of the mind as having two systems, one fast and clear, the other slow and clear. It offered advice on how to make better decisions, starting with: “Recognize the signs that you’re a bomb savvy.”

Daniel Kahneman was born on March 5, 1934, in Tel Aviv, where his mother was visiting relatives. The family lived in France, and moved there from Lithuania. His father, a Jewish chemist, was imprisoned for his religion during World War II, then released. After the war, the family moved to Palestine.

Kahneman received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1954. Later that year, he joined the Israel Defense Forces, where he was assigned to the psychology department and supervised the recruiting process. The system he developed was used for many years, he wrote in his Nobel Prize biography.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1961 and returned to the Hebrew University to teach in the psychology department. In 1969, he met Tversky, who became his collaborator for more than a decade in his Nobel Prize-winning work.

“Amos and I shared the wonder of a goose that can lay golden eggs – a shared mind that was better than our separate minds,” Kahneman said. “I’ve probably shared more than half the laughs of my life with Amos.”

Ultimatum game

Their collaboration led to papers, books and new experiments such as the ultimate game, in which a person is awarded money only if they share it with a second person. In most cases, the second party will not take less than 20% or 30%, although it may be reasonable to accept any amount.

The close relationship between Kahneman and Tversky was made famous by a 2016 book by Michael Lewis. Remedial Work.

Kahneman was appointed to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and Berkeley. In 1993, he moved to Princeton University in New Jersey, where he was a professor of psychology and taught at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

In the following years he studied pleasure – technically, hedonics: the factors that make experiences pleasant or unpleasant, and how to measure them. One notable finding was that rich people were generally less happy than those with lower incomes, and he disproved the idea that money buys happiness.

Kahneman shared the 2002 Nobel Prize with Vernon Smith, another economist.

Kahneman and his wife, Irah Kahn, had two children: Michael and Lenore. The couple divorced, and he later married psychologist Anne Treisman, who died in 2018.

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