The Psychology of Choice - Experimental Theory and Methods

Course content

Explanations and predictions of people’s choices, in everyday life as well as in the social sciences, are often founded on the assumption that humans are rational. The definition of rationality has been much debated, but there is general consensus that rational choices should satisfy some elementary requirements of consistency and coherence in the assessment of values.


In this course we will study decision problems in which people systematically violate these requirements of consistency and coherency, and we trace the violations to the psychological principles that govern the perception of decision problems and the evaluation of options. The course will provide an overview of the field by focusing on the most central topics and experiments. Some of the topics we will focus on during the course are:

  • Attention
  • Reference dependence, framing and loss aversion
  • Anchoring and heuristics
  • Overconfidence
  • Choice architecture

MSc programme in Economics – elective course


Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:



  • Identify the interdisciplinary field of `the psychology of choice´
  • Investigate choice behavior by means of empirically testable hypotheses and experiments
  • Describe how psychologists and economists together have shaped our understanding of the microfoundations of human choice behavior
  • Define how seminar works in the topics covered during the course



  • Critically assess and relate the diverse ideas, concepts and theories developed in the topics covered during the course.
  • Undestand experiments used in the topics covered during the course.
  • Present often complex topics in a simple a simple / clear, but not superficial way.



  • Apply the empirical and theoretical knowledge and the skills obtained in this course to understand real-world behavioral phenomena that lie beyond the scope of this course
  • Use their newly obtained knowledge and skills to solve decision problems that lie outside the scope of the course


In the first week of the course there will be an opening lecture during which also all organizational issues are discussed. In all the following weeks there will be lectures on different topics in the intersection of psychology and economics.

A mandatory assignments must be handed in the second half of the course.

A list of required readings will be given to the students in the beginning of the course


Sound knowledge of statistical methods and tests from e.g. Probability theory and statistics (Sandsynlighedsteori), Econometrics I at the Bachelor of Economics, and Statistik 1 and 2 from the Bachelor of Psychologi, or equivalent.

2 hours lectures 1 to 2 times a week from week 36 to 50 (except week 42).

The overall schema for the Master can be seen at KUnet:
MSc in Economics => "Courses and teaching" => "Planning and overview" => "Your timetable"

Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of lectures please press the link under "Se skema" (See schedule) at the right side of this page. E means Autumn.

You can find the similar information partly in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-E19; [Name of course]”
-Select Report Type: “List – Weekdays”
-Select Period: “Efterår/Autumn – Weeks 31-5”
Press: “ View Timetable

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
The exam assignment is in English and must be answered in English.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
for the written exam. The exam may be choosed for external censorship by random check.
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 161
  • Exam
  • 3
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester


Information about admission and tuition fee:  Master and Exchange Programme, credit students and guest students (Open University)

and venue:
Go to "Remarks".

Exam and re-sits: Go to "Exam".
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Carsten Søren Nielsen   (15-4c6a7b7c7d6e773757726e757c6e77496e6c787737747e376d74)

see 'Course Coordinators'

Saved on the 14-05-2019

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students