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Personal profile

Research interests

Prof. Barkan studies decision-making and emergence of preference-reversals, psychological distance effects on choice and advice, and behavioral ethics of individuals and professionals.

In her dissertation she modeled the ‘it will never happen to me’ belief, and was the first to document underestimation of small probabilities in decisions from experience. She also modeled people’s tendency to change plans and reverse choices just because they experienced what they wished for.

Rachel and her students highlight differences between choice and advice, showing that people can easily see the forest (offering rational, thoughtful advice) or the trees (making irrational, impulsive choices), but cannot reconcile the two perspectives.

With her colleagues, Rachel focuses on the dynamics of ethical dissonance, and utilizes the accumulated knowledge in behavioral ethics to design effective interventions that help people resist temptation and live up to their desired moral values.

Rachel’s work has appeared in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Psychological Review, Decision, Current Opinion in Psychology, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Perspective on Psychological Science.

Rachel is currently serving on the Editorial Board of Decision, and Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, and she is an Associate Editor in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.


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