The Effects of Emotion on Economic Decisions: The Misery-Is-Not Miserly Effect

April 14, 2010

highlight1.jpgJennifer Lerner, PhD (Harvard University) meets with Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA).

highlight2.jpgCongressman Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) learned about Dr. Lerner's research.

The Coalition for National Science Funding, an alliance of over 125 organizations that support the nation’s investment in NSF research, held the 16th Annual CNSF Exhibition & Reception on Capitol Hill. The exhibition, Building the Foundations of Innovation: STEM Research and Education, was held on April 14th, 2010.

FABBS invited Jennifer Lerner, PhD, Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Harvard Laboratory for Decision Science, to showcase her research. Dr. Lerner’s work draws upon psychology, economics, and neuroscience, and in this event she highlighted her research on “The Effects of Emotion on Economic Decisions.” During the two-hour event, Dr. Lerner shared with Members of Congress and their staff some of the findings of her research and its implications for how policy officials communicate risk. Dr. Lerner also spoke to NSF Director Arden Bement and Acting Deputy Director Cora Marrett about the impact of NSF-funded research on her career. She has received many awards for her research, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest national honor for investigators in the early stages of their careers. With funding from NSF, Dr. Lerner is currently conducting a study on emotions and leadership decision making.

Dr. Lerner’s research is highlighted in a new PBS/NOVA documentary, Mind Over Money. The program sought to understand what led to the stock market crash in 2008, why classical economic theories did not predict it, and why people make irrational financial decisions. Dr. Lerner’s work, among others, points to the need to build the human element into economic decision making.

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Jennifer Lerner, PhD (Harvard University)


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