Faculty & Research

Daniel Bartels

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Phone :
1-773-702-8325
Address :
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Daniel Bartels investigates the mental processes underlying consumer financial decision making, moral psychology, and intertemporal choice. His work has appeared in such publications as Cognition, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Psychological Science, and Journal of Consumer Research.

Prior to joining Booth as a faculty member, Bartels taught behavioral economics at Columbia Business School. He also had a previous affiliation with Booth as a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Center for Decision Research from 2007-2010.

Bartels earned a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University and a B.S. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

 

2015 - 2016 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
37101 Consumer Behavior 2015 (Fall)
37101 Consumer Behavior 2016 (Winter)

New: Neglecting Decline: Remembered and Predicted Personal Development Diverge from Actual Longitudinal Change
Date Posted: Feb  18, 2016
A one-year longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the accuracy of people’s assessments of their own personal change over time. We compared people’s predicted, actual, and recalled change in their personality, values, and preferences over this time period. On average, participants underestimated the absolute magnitude of their personal change, yet simultaneously overestimated their net improvement, in both prediction and recall. This effect was due to an asymmetry whereby people selectively neglected negative changes, especially prospectively. Although participants in our sample both improved and declined over the year, they were more likely to remember past improvements than declines, and made nearly uniformly positive predictions of future change. We discuss how the current findings reconcile research demonstrating expectations of personal improvement (e.g., Wilson & Ross, 2001; Kanten & Teigen, 2008) with other research that suggests people overpredict their personal ...

New: Beliefs About the Causal Structure of the Self-Concept Determine Which Changes Disrupt Personal Identity
Date Posted: Feb  18, 2016
Personal identity is an important determinant of behavior, yet how people mentally represent their self-concept is not well understood. In the studies reported in this paper, we examine the age-old question of what makes us who we are. We propose a novel approach to identity which suggests that the answer lies in people’s beliefs about how the features of identity (e.g., memories, moral qualities, personality traits) are causally related to each other. Features that are involved in many cause-effect relationships with other features of one’s identity are perceived as more defining to a person’s self-concept. In three experiments, using both measured and manipulated causal centrality, we find support for this approach. For both judgments of one’s self and of others, we find that some features are perceived as more causally central than others and that changes in those more causally central features are believed to be more disruptive to identity.

New: Choice and Self: How Synchronic and Diachronic Identity Shape Choices and Decision Making
Date Posted: Feb  18, 2016
Research on the role of identity in choice varies widely across fields like psychology, philosophy, consumer behavior, and economics, in both the key questions addressed and the methods of investigation. Although a large literature has established how salient aspects of identity affect attitudes and norms, less is known about how beliefs concerning identity are shaped and how these beliefs affect decision making. In this review, we cover recent insights into these issues and summarize some newer, developing approaches to understanding (i) how people judge the persistence of identity, (ii) how beliefs about future changes in identity are formed and how they affect choices, (iii) the formation of beliefs about future changes in identity and how these beliefs affect decisions, (iv) the historical and economic antecedents of identity norms and their consequences for economic behavior. We introduce a distinction between synchronic and diachronic approaches, and highlight important ...

REVISION: To Know and to Care: How Awareness and Valuation of the Future Jointly Shape Consumer Spending
Date Posted: Feb  17, 2016
Reducing spending in the present requires the combination of being both motivated to provide for one’s future self (valuing the future) and actively considering long-term implications of one’s choices (awareness of the future). Feeling more connected to the future self — thinking that the important psychological properties that define your current self are preserved in the person you will be in the future — helps motivate consumers to make far-sighted choices by changing their valuation of future outcomes (e.g., discount factors). However, this change only reduces spending when opportunity costs are considered. Correspondingly, cues that highlight opportunity costs reduce spending primarily when people discount the future less or are more connected to their future selves. Implications for the efficacy of behavioral interventions and for research on time discounting are discussed.

New: Choice and Self: How Synchronic and Diachronic Identity Shape Choices and Decision Making
Date Posted: Sep  16, 2015
Research on the role of identity in choice varies widely across fields like psychology, philosophy, consumer behavior, and economics, in both the key questions addressed and the methods of investigation. Although a large literature has established how salient aspects of identity affect attitudes and norms, less is known about how beliefs concerning identity are shaped and how these beliefs affect decision making. In this review, we cover recent insights into these issues and summarize some newer, developing approaches to understanding (i) how people judge the persistence of identity, (ii) how beliefs about future changes in identity are formed and how they affect choices, (iii) the formation of beliefs about future changes in identity and how these beliefs affect decisions, and (iv) the historical and economic antecedents of identity norms and their consequences for economic behavior. We introduce a distinction between synchronic and diachronic approaches, and highlight important ...

New: Clarifying the Role of Alignability in Similarity Comparisons
Date Posted: Sep  16, 2015
Structure-mapping theory has successfully predicted a number of empirical results concerning ordinary literal similarity processing. In particular, it predicts a distinction between alignable differences — those connected to the common structure derived in a comparison — and nonalignable differences, which are not so connected and which are held to be less salient than alignable differences (Markman & Gentner, 1993). Recently, Estes and Hasson (2004) have challenged the claim that alignable differences are more salient than nonalignable differences. In this paper, we address their criticisms and present data supporting an alternative interpretation of their results.

REVISION: Attending to Moral Values
Date Posted: Sep  16, 2015
There has been an upsurge of interest in moral decision making, which appears to have some distinctive properties. For example, some moral decisions are so strongly influenced by ideas about how sacred entities are to be treated, that they seem to be relatively insensitive to the costs and benefits entailed (e.g., "do not allow companies to pollute the earth for a fee, even if pollution credits reduce pollution"). One interpretation of such decisions is that sacred values motivate rigid decision processes that ignore outcomes. This, however, seems paradoxical in that those who are most offended by acts of pollution, for example, likely care more about pollution than others do. Our analysis of the literature on moral decision making (including our own studies) suggests a framework based on a "flexible view," where both actions and outcomes are important, and where attentional processes are intimately involved in how the decision maker conceptualizes the problem, how actions and ...

New: Are Artworks More Like People than Artifacts? Individual Concepts and Their Extensions
Date Posted: Aug  23, 2015
This paper examines people's reasoning about identity continuity (i.e., how people decide that a particular object is the same object over time) and its relation to previous research on how people value one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as artwork. We propose that judgments about the continuity of artworks are related to judgments about the continuity of individual persons because art objects are seen as physical extensions of their creators. We report a reanalysis of previous data and the results of two new empirical studies that test this hypothesis. The first study demonstrates that the mere categorization of an object as 'art' versus 'a tool' changes people's intuitions about the persistence of those objects over time. In a second study, we examine some conditions that may lead artworks to be thought of as different from other artifacts. These observations inform both current understanding of what makes some objects one-of-a-kind as well as broader questions regarding the nature of ...

New: Connecting Cognition and Consumer Choice
Date Posted: Aug  23, 2015
We describe what can be gained from connecting cognition and consumer choice by discussing two contexts ripe for interaction between the two fields. The first-context effects on choice-has already been addressed by cognitive science yielding insights about cognitive process but there is promise for more interaction. The second is learning and representation in choice where relevant theories in cognitive science could be informed by consumer choice, and in return, could pose and answer new questions. We conclude by discussing how these two fields of research stand to benefit from more interaction, citing examples of how interfaces of cognitive science with other fields have been illuminating for theories of cognition.

New: Revisiting External Validity: Concerns About Trolley Problems and Other Sacrificial Dilemmas in Moral Psychology
Date Posted: Feb  01, 2015
Sacrificial dilemmas, especially trolley problems, have rapidly become the most recognizable scientific exemplars of moral situations; they are now a familiar part of the psychological literature and are featured prominently in textbooks and the popular press. We are concerned that studies of sacrificial dilemmas may lack experimental, mundane, and psychological realism and therefore suffer from low external validity. Our apprehensions stem from three observations about trolley problems and other similar sacrificial dilemmas: (i) they are amusing rather than sobering, (ii) they are unrealistic and unrepresentative of the moral situations people encounter in the real world, and (iii) they do not elicit the same psychological processes as other moral situations. We believe it would be prudent to use more externally valid stimuli when testing descriptive theories that aim to provide comprehensive accounts of moral judgment and behavior.

New: Moral Judgment and Decision Making
Date Posted: Aug  24, 2014
Moral rules are rigid. The 10 Commandments of the Bible’s Old Testament, for example, include unambiguous prohibitions, such as, “Thou shalt not kill.” Similarly, Kant’s categorical imperative is absolute: “Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law” (Kant, 1785/2002; emphasis added). In practice, however, people often struggle to determine what is right or wrong. Consider a doctor treating a terminally ill patient who is suffering from unrelenting pain. She may struggle to decide whether the right course of action is to honor the Hippocratic Oath (not to mention laws that explicitly forbid euthanasia in most states) or honor the patient’s request to provide drugs he can use to end his life, especially if the doctor believes that she would make the same request if she were in the patient’s position. She therefore faces a dilemma because multiple moral principles produce conflicting mandates. Decisions that involve ...

REVISION: Revisiting External Validity: Concerns About Trolley Problems and Other Sacrificial Dilemmas in Moral Psychology
Date Posted: Aug  13, 2014
Sacrificial dilemmas, especially trolley problems, have rapidly become the most recognizable scientific exemplars of moral situations; they are now a familiar part of the psychological literature and are featured prominently in textbooks and the popular press. We are concerned that studies of sacrificial dilemmas may lack experimental, mundane, and psychological realism and therefore suffer from low external validity. Our apprehensions stem from three observations about trolley problems and other similar sacrificial dilemmas: (i) they are amusing rather than sobering, (ii) they are unrealistic and unrepresentative of the moral situations people encounter in the real world, and (iii) they do not elicit the same psychological processes as other moral situations. We believe it would be prudent to use more externally valid stimuli when testing descriptive theories that aim to provide comprehensive accounts of moral judgment and behavior.

New: Selfless Giving
Date Posted: Jul  31, 2013
In four studies, we show that people who anticipate more personal change over time give more to others. We measure and manipulate participants’ beliefs in the persistence of the defining psychological features of a person (e.g., his or her beliefs, values, and life goals) and measure generosity, finding support for the hypothesis in three studies using incentive-compatible charitable donation decisions and one involving hypothetical choices about sharing with loved ones.

REVISION: Extralegal Punishment Factors: A Study of Forgiveness, Hardship, Good-Deeds, Apology, Remorse, and O
Date Posted: Aug  02, 2012
The criminal law's formal criteria for assessing punishment are typically contained in criminal codes, the rules of which fix an offender's liability and the grade of the offense. A look at how the punishment decision-making process actually works, however, suggests that courts and other decisionmakers frequently go beyond the formal legal factors and take account of what might be called "extralegal punishment factors" (XPFs). XPFs, the subject of this Article, include matters as diverse as a

New: A Group Construal Account of Drop-in-The-Bucket Thinking in Policy Preference and Moral Judgment
Date Posted: Oct  06, 2011
Decisions, both moral and mundane, about saving individuals or resources at risk are often influenced not only by numbers saved and lost, but also by proportions of groups saved and lost. Consider choosing between a program that saves 60 of 240 lives at risk and one that saves 50 of 100. The first option maximizes absolute number saved; the second, proportion saved. In two studies, we show that the influence of proportions on such decisions depends on how items at risk are mentally represented.

New: Representation Over Time: The Effects of Temporal Distance on Similarity
Date Posted: Oct  05, 2011
Similarity is central in human cognition, playing a role in a wide range of cognitive processes. In three studies, we demonstrate that subjective similarity may change as a function of temporal distance, with some events seeming more similar when considered in the near future, while others increase in similarity as temporal distance increases. Given the ubiquity of inter-temporal thought, and the fundamental role of similarity, these results have important implications for cognition in general.

New: Principled Moral Sentiment and the Flexibility of Moral Judgment and Decision Making
Date Posted: Oct  05, 2011
Three studies test eight hypotheses about (1) how judgment differs between people who ascribe greater vs. less moral relevance to choices, (2) how moral judgment is subject to task constraints that shift evaluative focus (to moral rules vs. to consequences), and (3) how differences in the propensity to rely on intuitive reactions affect judgment. In Study 1, judgments were affected by rated agreement with moral rules proscribing harm, whether the dilemma under consideration made moral rules vers

New: Perspectives on the Ecology of Decision Modes: Reply to Comments
Date Posted: Oct  05, 2011
We welcome and appreciate the insights and perspectives provided by Schwartz (2010, this issue), Tetlock and Mitchell (2010, this issue), and Bazerman and Greene (2010, this issue). Our thinking has benefited considerably from their responses, and we appreciate the opportunity to continue the discussion. In our reply, we address issues concerning the scope of moral rules and of cost-benefit analysis (CBA), including their relation to other decision modes. We then revisit the issue of closed-worl

New: The Costs and Benefits of Calculation and Moral Rules
Date Posted: Oct  05, 2011
There has been a recent upsurge of research on moral judgment and decision making. One important issue with this body of work concerns the relative advantages of calculating costs and benefits versus adherence to moral rules. The general tenor of recent research suggests that adherence to moral rules is associated with systematic biases and that systematic cost-benefit analysis is a normatively superior decision strategy. This article queries both the merits of cost-benefit analyses and the shor

New: Psychological Connectedness and Intertemporal Choice
Date Posted: Oct  05, 2011
People tend to attach less value to a good if they know a delay will occur before they obtain it. For example, people value receiving $100 tomorrow more than receiving $100 in 10 years. We explored one reason for this tendency (due to Parfit, 1984): In terms of psychological properties, such as beliefs, values, and goals, the decision maker is more closely linked to the person (his or her future self) receiving $100 tomorrow than to the person receiving $100 in 10 years. For this reason, he or s

New: Predicting Premeditation: Future Behavior is Seen as More Intentional than Past Behavior
Date Posted: Oct  05, 2011
People’s intuitions about the underlying causes of past and future actions might not be the same. In 3 studies, we demonstrate that people judge the same behavior as more intentional when it will be performed in the future than when it has been performed in the past. We found this temporal asymmetry in perceptions of both the strength of an individual’s intention and the overall prevalence of intentional behavior in a population. Because of its heightened intentionality, people thought the same

New: On Intertemporal Selfishness: How the Perceived Instability of Identity Underlies Impatient Consumpt
Date Posted: Oct  04, 2011
How does the anticipated connectedness between one’s current and future identity help explain impatience in intertemporal preferences? The less consumers are closely connected psychologically to their future selves, the less willing they will be to forgo immediate benefits in order to ensure larger deferred benefits to be received by that future self. When consumers’ measured or manipulated sense of continuity with their future selves is lower, they accept smaller-sooner rewards, wait less in or

New: Caring About Framing Effects
Date Posted: Oct  04, 2011
We explored the relationship between qualities of victims in hypothetical scenarios and the appearance of framing effects. In past studies, participants’ feelings about the victims have been demonstrated to affect whether framing effects appear, but this relationship has not been directly examined. In the present study, we examined the relationship between caring about the people at risk, the perceived interdependence of the people at risk, and frame. Scenarios were presented that differed in th

New: Proportion Dominance: The Generality and Variability of Favoring Relative Savings Over Absolute Savi
Date Posted: Oct  04, 2011
Four studies probe Ps' sensitivity to absolute and relative savings. In three studies, Ps read scenarios forcing a tradeoff of saving more lives (230 vs. 225) vs. saving a larger proportion of a population (225 ‚ 230 = 75% vs. 230 ‚ 920 = 25%). Ps' preferences were driven by both absolute and relative savings. Maximizing relative savings, called ‘‘proportion dominance’’ (PD), at the expense of absolute savings is non-normative, and most participants concur with this argument upon reflection (Stu

New: Are Morally Motivated Decision Makers Insensitive to the Consequences of Their Choices?
Date Posted: Oct  04, 2011
Is morally motivated decision making different from other kinds of decision making? There is evidence that when people have sacred or protected values (PVs), they reject trade-offs for secular values (e.g., ‘‘You can’t put a price on a human life’’) and tend to employ deontological rather than consequentialist decision principles. People motivated by PVs appear to show quantity insensitivity. That is, in trade-off situations, they are less sensitive to the consequences of their choices than are

New: The Mismeasure of Morals: Antisocial Personality Traits Predict Utilitarian Responses to Moral Dilem
Date Posted: Oct  04, 2011
Researchers have recently argued that utilitarianism is the appropriate framework by which to evaluate moral judgment, and that individuals who endorse non-utilitarian solutions to moral dilemmas (involving active vs. passive harm) are committing an error. We report a study in which participants responded to a battery of personality assessments and a set of dilemmas that pit utilitarian and non-utilitarian options against each other. Participants who indicated greater endorsement of utilitarian

New: Predicting Premeditation: Future Behavior is Seen as More Intentional than Past Behavior
Date Posted: Jul  19, 2011
People‟s intuitions about the underlying causes of past and future actions might not be the same. In three studies, we demonstrate that people judge the same behavior as more intentional when it will be performed in the future than when it has been performed in the past. We found this temporal asymmetry in perceptions of both the strength of an individual‟s intention and the overall prevalence of intentional behavior in a population. Because of its heightened intentionality, people thought the s

REVISION: Competing Theories of Blackmail: An Empirical Research Critique of Criminal Law Theory
Date Posted: Apr  12, 2011
Blackmail, a wonderfully curious offense, is the favorite of clever criminal law theorists. It criminalizes the threat to do something that would not be criminal if one did it. There exists a rich literature on the issue, with many prominent legal scholars offering their accounts. Each theorist has his own explanation as to why the blackmail offense exists. Most theories seek to justify the position that blackmail is a moral wrong and claim to offer an account that reflects widely shared moral i

New: The Costs and Benefits of Calculation and Moral Rules
Date Posted: Sep  08, 2009
There has been a recent upsurge of research on moral judgment and decision making. One important issue with this body of work concerns the relative advantages of calculating costs and benefits versus adhering to moral rules. The general tenor of recent research suggests that (i) adherence to moral rules is associated with systematic biases, and (ii) systematic cost-benefit analysis is a normatively superior decision strategy. The current paper queries both the merits of cost-benefit analyses and