Leadership, Influence and Decision Making: Attention-Based Utility


Thursday, March 25, 2021, 4:00pm to 5:15pm


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This speaker series provides an opportunity for scholars to share and learn about cutting edge research related to the topic of leadership, broadly defined.

Money and time are usually seen as the two key constrained resources facing individuals.  In this talk, I will discuss different facets of a third: attention.  In the first part of the talk I will present a theory of boredom and flow, which views these states as playing a key role in the allocation of attention.  Boredom is the brain's signal that attention should be redirected, flow that it should be maintained.  In the second part of the talk I will present empirical research showing that people also direct attention for hedonic reasons – toward thoughts and beliefs that make them feel good -- and that such direction of attention has serious consequences for economic decisions and outcomes.  The concept of 'belief-based utility' is starting to make inroads into economics; I will argue that we should also be thinking about and researching attention-based utility.

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This event is open to HKS students, faculty, and staff. The session will be recorded, and may be posted to YouTube and/or CPL's social media channels. Attendees must register for this event using the registration link above. Persons with disabilities who wish to request accommodation or who have questions about access, please contact cpl_events@hks.harvard.edu in advance of the session.