Brenner's research investigates how consumers and managers make predictions, inferences, and decisions. He teaches courses in consumer behavior, quantitative methods & statistical modeling, and managerial decision making.
Industry Expertise (3)
Areas of Expertise (7)
Consumer and Managerial Decision Making
Statistics and Research Methods
Consumer Statistical Reasoning
Judgment Under Uncertainty
Media Appearances (1)
The Irrationality of Irrationality: The Paradox of Popular Psychology
Scientific American online
In 1996, Lyle Brenner, Derek Koehler and Amos Tversky conducted a study involving students from San Jose State University and Stanford University. The researchers were interested in how people jump to conclusions based on limited information. Previous work by Tversky, Daniel Kahneman and other psychologists found that people are “radically insensitive to both the quantity and quality of information that gives rise to impressions and intuitions,” so the researchers knew, of course, that we humans don’t do a particularly good job of weighing the pros and cons. But to what degree? Just how bad are we at assessing all the facts?
Forceful Phantom Firsts: Framing Experiences as Firsts Amplifies Their Influence on JudgmentJournal of Marketing Research
Robyn A LeBoeuf, Elanor F Williams, Lyle A Brenner
2014 First experiences are highly influential. Here, the authors show that nonfirst experiences can be made to seem like firsts and, consequently, to have a disproportionate influence on judgment. In six experiments, one piece of a series of information was framed to appear to have “first” status: For example, a weather report that appeared at the end of a sequence of weather reports happened to correspond to the first day of a vacation, and a customer review that appeared at the end of a sequence of hotel reviews happened to be the new year's first review. Such information had greater influence on subsequent judgments (e.g., of the next day's weather, of the hotel's quality) than identical information not framed as a first. This effect seems to arise largely because “phantom first” pieces of information receive greater weight, but not necessarily more attention, than other pieces of information.
Context affects the interpretation of low but not high numerical probabilities: A hypothesis testing account of subjective probabilityOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Baler Bilgin, Lyle Brenner
2013 Low numerical probabilities tend to be directionally ambiguous, meaning they can be interpreted either positively, suggesting the occurrence of the target event, or negatively, suggesting its non-occurrence. High numerical probabilities, however, are typically interpreted positively. We argue that the greater directional ambiguity of low numerical probabilities may make them more susceptible than high probabilities to contextual influences. Results from five experiments supported this premise, with perceived base rate affecting the interpretation of an event’s numerical posterior probability more when it was low than high. The effect is consistent with a confirmatory hypothesis testing process, with the relevant perceived base rate suggesting the directional hypothesis which people then test in a confirmatory manner.
A Case-Based Model of Probability and Pricing Judgments: Biases in Buying and Selling UncertaintyManagement Science
Lyle A Brenner, Dale W Griffin, Derek J Koehler
2012 We integrate a case-based model of probability judgment with prospect theory to explore asset pricing under uncertainty. Research within the “heuristics and biases” tradition suggests that probability judgments respond primarily to case-specific evidence and disregard aggregate characteristics of the class to which the case belongs, resulting in predictable biases. The dual-system framework presented here distinguishes heuristic assessments of value and evidence strength from deliberative assessments that incorporate prior odds and likelihood ratios following Bayes' rule. Hypotheses are derived regarding the relative sensitivity of judged probabilities, buying prices, and selling prices to case- versus class-based evidence. We test these hypotheses using a simulated stock market in which participants can learn from experience and have incentives for accuracy. Valuation of uncertain assets is found to be largely case based even in this economic setting; however, consistent with the framework's predictions, distinct patterns of miscalibration are found for buying prices, selling prices, and probability judgments.
Preference, projection, and packing: Support theory models of judgments of others’ preferencesOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Lyle Brenner, Baler Bilgin
2011 People frequently need to predict the preferences of others. Such intuitive predictions often show social projection, in which one’s own preference for an option increases its perceived popularity among others. We use support theory to model social projection in the prediction of preferences, and in particular interactions between social projection and description-dependence. Preferred options are predicted to have consistently high salience, and therefore should be less susceptible to description variations, such as unpacking, which normally affect option salience. This preference salience premise implies an interaction between social projection and option description, with reduced unpacking effects for hypotheses including preferred options, or equivalently, with reduced social projection when less-liked alternatives are unpacked. Support theory models accommodating different preference-dependent unpacking effects are tested. These models distinguish two substantial contributors to social projection effects: (a) greater evidence recruited for preferred options and (b) greater discounting of packed less-preferred options.
Acknowledging the Other Side in NegotiationNegotiation Journal
Andrew Ward, Lauren Gerber Disston, Lyle Brenner, Lee Ross
2008 In a negotiation study, we investigated the efficacy of acknowledging an opponent's role in securing a concession made to that opponent. The study featured a face-to-face, one-shot bargaining session between a student favoring marijuana legalization and a confederate playing the role of a legalization opponent. When the confederate acknowledged the student's putative influence in producing a concession by the confederate, the student perceived the magnitude of the concession to be greater and was more likely to accept it. The student negotiators also reported that they liked the other party more following acknowledgement, and our mediational analysis suggested that enhanced interpersonal sentiments played a role in facilitating agreement. In this article, in addition to documenting these findings, we also discuss their implications, both for theoretical analyses of conflict and negotiation and for the practical problem of settling disputes.