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Relative Rank Theory: A Computational Model of Preferences, Choices, Attitudes and Opinions (EU Horizon 2020 Project)

Our differing preferences and attitudes make each of us unique. But how are our everyday choices related to our preferences, and how are the opinions that we express related to our underlying attitudes? In particular, how can we understand the phenomenon of opinion polarisation (as seen, for example, in people's opinions since the Brexit referendum in the UK), and how can we understand stable individual differences in people’s everyday choices when those choices are so strongly influenced by the context that the market provides?

This page summarises progress on our European Research Council (ERC) grant awarded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 788826) which is addressing these and related questions. Information will be added to this website as the project progresses.

Publications arising from the grant (see here for a full list of publications)

Achtypi, A., Ashby, N. J. S., Brown, G. D. A., Walasek, W., & Yechiam, E. (2021). The endowment effect and beliefs about the market. Decision, 8, 16-35. link (open access)

Brown, G. D. A., & Gathergood, J. (2020). Consumption changes, not income changes, predict changes in subjective well-being. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 11, (open access)

Brown, G. D. A., Lewandowsky, S., & Huang, Z. (2022). Social sampling and expressed attitudes: Authenticity Preference and Social Extremeness Aversion lead to social norm effects and polarization. Psychological Review, 129, 18-48. link (open access)

Brown, G. D. A., Quispe-Torreblanca, E., & Gathergood, J. (in press). Money, methodology, and happiness: Using big data to study causal relationships between income and well-being. In Pogrebna, G., & Hills, T. (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Behavioural Data Science. Cambridge University Press.

Brown, G. D. A., & Walasek, L. (2020). Models of deliberate ignorance in individual choice. In Hertwig, R., & Engel, C. (Eds.), Deliberate Ignorance: Choosing Not to Know. Strüngmann Forum Reports, vol. 29, (pp. 121-137). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. chapter (open access) complete book (open access)

Brown, G. D. A., & Walasek, L. (2023). Homo Ordinalus and sampling models: The past, present, and future of Decision by Sampling. In Fiedler, K., Juslin, P., & Denrell, J. (Eds.), Sampling in Judgment and Decision Making (pp. 35-65). Cambridge University Press.

Brown, G. D. A., Walasek, L., Mullett, T. L., Quispe-Torreblanca, E. G., Fincher, C. L., Kosinski, M., & Stillwell, D. (in press). Political attitudes and disease threat: Regional pathogen stress is associated with conservative ideology only for older individuals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 00, 000-000.

Ecker, U. K. H., Sanderson, J. A., McIlhiney, P, Rowsell, J. J., Hayley L. Quekett, H. L., Brown, G. D. A., & Lewandowsky, S. (2022). Combining refutations and social norms increases belief change. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 76(6).

Hattersley, M., Brown, G. D. A., Michael, J., & Ludvig, E. A. (2022). Of tinfoil hats and thinking caps: Reasoning is more strongly related to implausible than plausible conspiracy beliefs. Cognition, 218, 104956. (link)

Hounkpatin, H. O., Wood, A. M., & Brown, G. D. A. (2020). Comparing indices of relative deprivation using behavioural evidence. Social Science & Medicine, 259, 112914.

Murphy, R. P., Boyce, C. J., Dolan, P., Brown, G. D. A., & Wood, A. M. (2023). Do misconceptions about health-related quality of life affect general population valuations of health states? Value in Health, 26(5), 750-759. link (open access)

Quispe-Torreblanca, E. G., Brown, G. D. A., Boyce, C. J., Wood, A. M., & De Neve, J. (2021). Inequality and social rank: Income increases buy more life satisfaction in more equal countries. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47, 519–539. link (open access)

Wort, F., Walasek, L., & Brown, G. D. A. (2022). Rank-based alternatives to mean-based ensemble models of satisfaction with earnings: Comment on Putnam-Farr and Morewedge (2020). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 151(11), 2963–2967.

Zhao, W., Walasek, L., & Brown, G. D. A. (in press). The evolution of polarization in online Conversation: Twitter users’ opinions about the COVID-19 pandemic become more politicized over time. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies.