Kahneman, Daniel

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kahneman, Daniel

Daniel Kahneman, 1934–, Israeli-American psychologist, b. Tel Aviv, Ph.D. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1961. Born to Lithuanian parents, he spent his youth in France, and immigrated to what soon became Israel in 1948. He has taught at Hebrew Univ., Jerusalem (1961–78), the Univ. of British Columbia (1978–86), the Univ. of California, Berkeley (1986–94), and Princeton (1993–, emeritus from 2007). With Amos Tversky (1937–96), with whom he worked very closely for many years, and others, Kahneman did studies that helped lay the foundations for behavioral economics, and developed prospect theory, which attempts to describe how people make choices in the real world when uncertainty is involved but the probabilities of the outcome are known. His work on human judgment and economic decision-making showed that human beings make decisions in irrational ways that vary from that predicted by the standard economic theory of choice. He shared the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Vernon L. Smith for his work. In the latter part of his career Kahneman has worked on the nature and causes of happiness. He explores the various aspects of his thought in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011).

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