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Daniel Kahneman, Psychologist Who Revolutionized Economics, Dies at 90

Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who never studied economics but pioneered the field of behavioural economics, has passed away at the age of 90. Despite not having formal training in economics, Kahneman’s groundbreaking work exploring the psychology of decision-making earned him the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002.

Challenging Traditional Economic Assumptions

Traditional economic theories assume that humans are rational decision-makers, but Kahneman’s research challenged this assumption. He exposed hard-wired mental biases that can distort judgment, often leading to counterintuitive results.

One of the most significant concepts introduced by Kahneman was loss aversion – the idea that the pain of losing something is roughly twice as intense as the pleasure of gaining the same thing. This theory has far-reaching implications, from investing to sports psychology.

Collaborations and Lasting Impact

Much of Kahneman’s influential work was done in collaboration with Amos Tversky, a cognitive psychologist at Stanford University. Together, they explored topics such as medical malpractice, political negotiations, and evaluating baseball talent, applying their insights on human judgment and decision-making.

Kahneman’s ideas have had a profound impact on various fields, from economics and psychology to policy-making and business strategy. His work has helped reshape our understanding of how people make decisions and how to account for inherent biases.

A Humble and Collaborative Approach

Despite his groundbreaking contributions, Kahneman remained mild-mannered and self-effacing. He welcomed debate and actively sought input from colleagues and adversaries alike to refine his ideas.

When asked about the “father” of behavioural economics, Kahneman credited Richard H. Thaler, a younger economist whom he considered one of his most important professional friends, alongside Amos Tversky.

A Legacy in Psychology and Economics

Kahneman’s legacy extends beyond his Nobel Prize and academic achievements. His work has influenced the way we think about human behaviour, challenging conventional wisdom and encouraging a more nuanced understanding of decision-making processes.

As the field of behavioural economics continues to evolve, Kahneman’s contributions will remain a cornerstone, reminding us of the profound impact that psychology can have on our understanding of economics and human behaviour.

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