(1934 - )
By Beth Weiss
Daniel Kahneman was born in Tel Aviv and lived in France during the war. In 1946 he arrived in Israel and studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During his time in the Israeli Defense Forces he devised a system for interviewing recruits that continued for several decades. After the army, he received his Ph.D. from Berkely in 1961 and since then has taught at many universities throughout the world, including his alma matter, the University of British Columbia, and UC Berkley. Today he teaches at Princeton with joint positions in both psychology and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs.
Kahneman's work is mainly in the field of psychology; however, he shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics with his collaborator Amos Tversky of Hebrew University (who died in 1996). The prize was awarded "for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty." Kahneman argued that people think in terms of gains and losses, but, in the short-term, especially, fear loss more than gain.
In one experiment to demonstrate their theory, Tversky and Kahneman took two groups of people and gave one attractive coffee mug, the second group was given nothing. The first group was allowed to choose whether they desired to keep the mug or to trade it for money. The second group was offered the choice between a mug or money. The researchers found that those without a mug were willing to accept less money than those would would have to give up the mug they already had. This implied that an individual's emotions, rather than cold rational calculations affected their decisionmaking.
Among Kahneman's other awards are the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association in 1982 and the Hilgard award for contributions to General Psychology in 1995.
Kahneman shared the Nobel with Vernon L. Smith.