Christina Bicchieri, S. J. Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Norms in the Wild,” explores decision theory and all it involves, including fundamental attribution bias, confirmation bias, pluralistic ignorance, time discounting, and the foundational beliefs that shape societies. Working with UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, and the World Bank, Dr. Bicchieri hopes to influence developing countries to adopt small changes that will benefit their communities.
“How we make decisions and how we interact with other people is very much determined by psychological factors, not just social factors.”
My intellectual affinities lie at the border between philosophy, game theory and psychology. My primary research focus is on judgment and decision making with special interest in decisions about fairness, trust, and cooperation, and how expectations affect behavior. A second research focus examines the nature and evolution of social norms, how to measure norms and what strategies to adopt to foster social change. This research is more applied, and forms the core of the newly created Penn Social Norms Group (PennSONG). A third, earlier research focus has been the epistemic foundations of game theory and how changes in information affects rational choices and solutions.
My consulting and training work with UNICEF, the Gates foundation, the World Bank, DFID and other organizations led me to develop measures of social norms in the field. Sanitation and corruption are two major consulting areas. Most of my group’s consulting work consists in developing specific measures, advising on effective interventions, and monitoring sustainability.
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