The Experiential Utility

How Behavioural Economics Can Help HCI to Define Quality
  • Stefano BussolonEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10271)


Economists define utility as the total satisfaction received from consuming a good or service. Neoclassical economics assume that humans act as perfectly rational agents whose ultimate goal is to maximize their subjective utility. Behavioral economists and psychologists, however, showed that people behave in ways that violate the neoclassical axioms, and follow a number of cognitive heuristics. Nonetheless, the concept of utility is useful, psychologically intuitive, and there is some evidence that some regions of the primates’ brain encode a form of “common currency” of the value of a good [21].

I will present an experiential utility model that is psychologically plausible, and the main dimensions of the model will be mapped on an experiential utility space. The practical applicability of the map will be shown in a case study where two types of insurance companies - traditional (broker mediated) and direct (online) companies will be mapped on the dimensions of the experience utility map.


Intrinsic Motivation Utility Model Extrinsic Motivation Mental Fatigue Perceptual Fluency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Alter, A.L., Oppenheimer, D.M.: Uniting the tribes of fluency to form a metacognitive nation. Pers. Soc. Psychol. Rev.: Official J. Soc. Pers. Soc. Psychol., Inc. 13(3), 219–235 (2009). ISSN: 1088-8683. doi: 10.1177/1088868309341564
  2. 2.
    Ariely, D., Carmon, Z.: Gestalt characteristics of experiences: the defining features of summarized events. J. Behav. Decis. Making 13, 191–201 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Baumeister, R.F., Leary, M.R.: The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychol. Bull. 117(3), 497–529 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baumeister, R.F., et al.: Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychol. Sci. Public Interest 4(1), 1–44 (2003)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Berzonsky, M.D., et al.: The how and what of identity formation: associations between identity styles and value orientations. Pers. Individ. Differ. 50(2), 295–299 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Boksem, M.A.S., Tops, M.: Mental fatigue: costs and benefits. Brain Res. Rev. 59(1), 125–139 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bussolon, S.: The X factor. In: Marcus, A. (ed.) DUXU 2016. LNCS, vol. 9746, pp. 15–24. Springer, Cham (2016). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-40409-7_2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
    Dean, J., Ghemawat, S.: MapReduce: simplified data processing on large clusters. Commun. ACM 51(1), 107–113 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Deaton, A.: Income, health and wellbeing around the world: evidence from the gallup world poll. J. Econ. Perspect.: J. Am. Econ. Assoc. 22(2), 53 (2008)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Deci, E.L., Ryan, R.M.: The what and why of goal pursuits: human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychol. Inq. 11(4), 227–268 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Diener, E., et al.: Wealth and happiness across the world: material prosperity predicts life evaluation, whereas psychosocial prosperity predicts positive feeling. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 99(1), 52 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dysvik, A., Kuvaas, B.: Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as predictors of work effort: the moderating role of achievement goals. Br. J. Soc. Psychol. 52(3), 412–430 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fishbach, A., Ferguson, M.J.: The goal construct in social psychology (2007)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Förster, J., Liberman, N., Friedman, R.S.: Seven principles of goal activation: a systematic approach to distinguishing goal priming from priming of non-goal constructs. In: Pers. Soc. Psychol. Rev.: Official J. Soc. Pers. Soc. Psychol., Inc. 11(3), 211 (2007)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Frankl, V.E.: Man’s Search For Meaning. Simon and Schuster (1985)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Gilbert, D.T., Wilson, T.D.: Prospection: experiencing the future. In: Science (New York, N.Y.) 317(5843), 1351–1354 (2007). doi: 10.1126/science.1144161
  18. 18.
    Gilboa, I., Postlewaite, A., Schmeidler, D.: Is it always rational to satisfy savage’s axioms? Econ. Philos. 25(03), 285 (2009). ISSN: 0266-2671. doi: 10.1017/S0266267109990241.
  19. 19.
    Gläscher, J., et al.: States versus Rewards: dissociable neural prediction error signals underlying model-based and model-free reinforcement learning. Neuron 66(4), 585–595 (2010), ISSN: 08966273. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.04.016.
  20. 20.
    Hagger, M.S., Chatzisarantis, N.L.D., Harris, J.: From psychological need satisfaction to intentional behavior: testing a motivational sequence in two behavioral contexts. Pers. Soc. Psychol. Bull. 32(2), 131–148 (2006)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kable, J.W., Glimcher, P.W.: The neurobiology of decision: consensus and controversy. Neuron 63(6), 733–745 (2009). ISSN: 08966273. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.09.003. arXiv: NIHMS150003.
  22. 22.
    Kahneman, D., Wakker, P.P., Sarin, R.: Back to bentham? explorations of experienced utility. Q. J. Econ. 112(2), 375–406 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kim, S., Hwang, J., Lee, D.: Prefrontal coding of temporally discounted values during intertemporal choice. Neuron 59(1), 161–172 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kralik, J.D., et al.: When less is more: evolutionary origins of the affect heuristic. PLoS ONE 7(10), e46240 (2012), Addessi, E. (ed.). ISSN: 1932-6203. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046240.
  25. 25.
    Kurzban, R., et al.: An opportunity cost model of subjective effort and task performance. Behav. Brain Sci. 36(06), 661–679 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    List, J.A.: Preference reversals of a different kind: the “More is less” phenomenon. Am. Econ. Rev. 92(5), 1636–1643 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Lyubomirsky, S., Tkach, C., DiMatteo, M.R.: What are the differences between happiness and self-esteem. Soc. Indic. Res. 78(3), 363–404 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Marewski, J.N., Gaissmaier, W., Gigerenzer, G.: Good judgments do not require complex cognition. Cogn. Process. 11(2), 103–121 (2010). ISSN: 16124790, doi: 10.1007/s10339-009-0337-0
  29. 29.
    Marewski, J.N., Gigerenzer, G.: Heuristic decision making in medicine. Dialogues Clin. Neurosci. 14(1), 77–89 (2012)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Maslow, A.H.: A theory of human motivation. Psychol. Rev. 50, 370–396 (1943)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Al-Najjar, N.I., De Castro, L.: Subjective Probability. Wiley Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science (2010)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Nelson, S., Katzenstein, P.J.: Uncertainty, risk, and the financial crisis of 2008. 68(2), 361–392 (2014), ISBN: 0020818313000, doi: 10.1017/S0020818313000416
  33. 33.
    Oppenheimer, D.M.: The secret life of fluency. Trends Cogn. Sci. 12(6), 237–241 (2008). ISSN: 13646613. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.02.014
  34. 34.
    Pham, M.T., Avnet, T.: Contingent reliance on the affect heuristic as a function of regulatory focus. Organ. Behav. Hum. Decis. Process. 108(2), 267–278 (2009). ISSN: 07495978. doi: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2008.10.001.
  35. 35.
    Reis, H.T., et al.: Daily well-being: the role of autonomy, competence, and relatednes. Pers. Soc. Psychol. Bull. 26(4), 419–435 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Ryan, R., Deci, E.: Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: classic definitions and new directions. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 25(1), 54–67 (2000). ISSN: 0361-476X, doi: 10.1006/ceps.1999.1020.
  37. 37.
    Schwartz, S.J., et al.: Examining the light and dark sides of emerging adults’ identity: a study of identity status differences in positive and negative psychosocial functioning. J. Youth Adolesc. 40(7), 839–859 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Schwarz, N.: Feelings-as-information theory. In: Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology, vol. 1, pp. 289–308, January 2012, ISSN: 0857029606. doi: 10.4135/9781446249215.n15.
  39. 39.
    Sheldon, K.M., Filak, V.: Manipulating autonomy, competence, and relatedness support in a game-learning context: new evidence that all three needs matter. Br. J. Soc. Psychol. 47(2), 267–283 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Sheldon, K.M., et al.: What is satisfying about satisfying events? testing 10 candidate psychological needs. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 80(2), 325 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Slovic, P., et al.: Affect, risk, and decision making. Health Psychol. 24(4S), S35 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Slovic, P., et al.: The affect heuristic. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 177(3), 1333–1352 (2007). ISSN: 03772217. doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2005.04.006. arXiv:1011.1669v3
  43. 43.
    Stanovich, K.E.: On the Distinction Between Rationality and Intelligence: Implications for Understanding Individual Differences in Reasoning, pp. 343–365. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2012). ISBN: 9780199968718. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199734689.013.0022.
  44. 44.
    Steger, M.F.: Experiencing meaning in life: optimal functioning at the nexus of well-being, psychopathology, and spirituality. In: The Human Quest for Meaning: Theories, Research, and Applications, 2nd edn. (2012)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Trope, Y., Liberman, N.: Construal-level theory of psychological distance. Psychol. Rev. 117(2), 440 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Tulving, E.: Episodic memory: from mind to brain. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 53(1), 1–25 (2002). ISSN: 0066-4308, doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135114.
  47. 47.
    Wilson, T.D., Gilbert, D.T.: Affective forecasting. Adv. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 35, 345–411 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Cognitive ScienceUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

Personalised recommendations