Amir's research focuses on using psychological and economic principles to identify successful strategies in different market settings. He investigates different customer decision-making mechanisms and their influences on pricing and promotion strategies, on decision making under risk and uncertainty, and on preference dynamics. He also writes about how insights from research on decision making and behavioral economics may be used to improve business practices and policy making.
Amir has received several research awards from the Marketing Science Institute and from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. Prior to coming to UC San Diego, he was an assistant professor of marketing at Yale University. Amir received his Ph.D. in management science and marketing from MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2003.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Judgment and Decision Making
MIT’s Sloan School of Management: Ph.D., Management science and Marketing from 2003
Israeli Open University in Tel Aviv, Israel: B.S., Computer Science 1999
Media Appearances (3)
Sanctity of mind: who owns an idea when an employee invents—and who should?
Interested in the correlation between ownership and incentive, Lobel, in partnership with fellow UC San Diego professor On Amir, a specialist in marketing psychology, carried out a large-scale experiment reported in the Harvard Business Review. Amir and Lobel “recruited 1,028 participants to complete an online task for pay.” Half the participants received instructions “that mimicked a non-compete agreement.” The other half, naturally, served as the control group...
No comment on restaurant surcharges
San Diego Reader
Vasquez's reaction to the surcharge lines up with what University of California San Diego professor On Amir has observed. Amir is a professor at the Rady School of Management who studies consumer behavior. "There are right ways and wrong ways to raise prices," Amir said. The surcharge "doesn't create the image of fairness for diners who think 'you're underpaying your people and now I have to pay more because of your unfair labor practices."..,
Marines may ditch 'The Few, the Proud' slogan
The San Diego Union-Tribune
They and On Amir, a professor at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management, pointed to examples of branding campaigns that have either cratered or soared...
Can Uncertainty Improve Promotions?Journal of Marketing Research
Kelly Goldsmith, On Amir
2010 Many consumer promotions involve uncertainty (e.g., purchase incentives offering the chance to receive one of several rewards). Despite retailers' heavy reliance on such promotions, much academic research on uncertainty has demonstrated examples of consumers avoiding and/or disliking uncertainty, implying that promotions involving uncertainty may not be as effective for retailers as promotions offering certain rewards. In an effort to reconcile the prevalence of uncertain promotions with the existing research, this article explores the conditions under which uncertain promotions may be effective for retailers. The article concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications for these findings.
Deciding without resources: Resource depletion and choice in contextJournal of Marketing Research
Anastasiya Pocheptsova, On Amir, Ravi Dhar, Roy F Baumeister
2009 Although choices can occur after careful deliberation, many everyday choices are usually effortless and are guided by intuitive thinking. This research examines the implications of the interplay between these two types of decision processes for context effects in choice by exploring the consequences of the depletion of executive resources in a prior, unrelated task. Building on a substantial body of psychological literature that points to a single underlying resource used for self-regulation and executive control, this article demonstrates that resource depletion has a systematic influence on choice in context. Specifically, resource depletion enhances the role of intuitive reasoning by impairing deliberate, careful processing. In five experiments, the authors find that resource depletion increases the share of reference-dependent choices, decreases the compromise effect, and magnifies the attraction effect. The results shed light on the mechanisms underlying context effects in choice and suggest that the scope of the depleted resource is not constrained to self-regulation activities but rather extends to choice in general.
In search of homo economicus: cognitive noise and the role of emotion in preference consistencyJournal of Consumer Research
Leonard Lee, On Amir, Dan Ariely
2009 Understanding the role of emotion in forming preferences is critical in helping firms choose effective marketing strategies and consumers make appropriate consumption decisions. In five experiments, participants made a set of binary product choices under conditions designed to induce different degrees of emotional decision processing. The results consistently indicate that greater reliance on emotional reactions during decision making is associated with greater preference consistency and less cognitive noise. Additionally, the results of a meta-analytical study based on data from all five experiments further show that products that elicit a stronger emotional response are more likely to yield consistent preferences.
The dishonesty of honest people: A theory of self-concept maintenanceJournal of Marketing Research
Nina Mazar, On Amir, Dan Ariely
2008 People like to think of themselves as honest. However, dishonesty pays—and it often pays well. How do people resolve this tension? This research shows that people behave dishonestly enough to profit but honestly enough to delude themselves of their own integrity. A little bit of dishonesty gives a taste of profit without spoiling a positive self-view. Two mechanisms allow for such self-concept maintenance: inattention to moral standards and categorization malleability. Six experiments support the authors' theory of self-concept maintenance and offer practical applications for curbing dishonesty in everyday life.
The Dissociation Between Monetary Assessment and Predicted UtilityMarketing Science
On Amir, Dan Ariely, Ziv Carmon
2008 We study the dissociation between two common measures of value—monetary assessment of purchase options versus the predicted utility associated with owning or consuming those options, a disparity that is reflected in well-known judgment anomalies and that is important for interpreting market research data. We propose that a significant cause of this dissociation is the difference in how these two types of evaluations are formed—each is informed by different types of information. Thus, dissociation between these two types of measures should not be interpreted as failure to map utility onto money, as such mapping is not really attempted. We suggest that monetary assessment tends to focus on the transaction in which the purchase alternative would be acquired or forgone (e.g., how fair the transaction seems), failing to adequately reflect the purchase alternative itself (e.g., the expected pleasure of owning or consuming it), which is what informs predicted utility judgments. We illustrate the value of this idea by deriving and testing empirical predictions of disparities in the impact of different types of information and manipulations on the two types of value assessment.