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Monday, April 1, 2024

Daniel Kahneman, pioneering behavioral psychologist, Nobel laureate and ‘giant in the field,’ dies at 90

Jaime Saxon
Office of Communications - Princeton
Originally released 28 March 24

Daniel Kahneman, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, professor of psychology and public affairs, emeritus, and a Nobel laureate in economics whose groundbreaking behavioral science research changed our understanding of how people think and make decisions, died on March 27. He was 90.

Kahneman joined the Princeton University faculty in 1993, following appointments at Hebrew University, the University of British Columbia and the University of California–Berkeley, and transferred to emeritus status in 2007.

“Danny Kahneman changed how we understand rationality and its limits,” said Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “His scholarship pushed the frontiers of knowledge, inspired generations of students, and influenced leaders and thinkers throughout the world. We are fortunate that he made Princeton his home for so much of his career, and we will miss him greatly.”

In collaboration with his colleague and friend of nearly 30 years, the late Amos Tversky of Stanford University, Kahneman applied cognitive psychology to economic analysis, laying the foundation for a new field of research — behavioral economics — and earning Kahneman the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. Kahneman and Tversky’s insights on human judgment have influenced a wide range of disciplines, including economics, finance, medicine, law, politics and policy.

The Nobel citation commended Kahneman “for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty.”

“His work has inspired a new generation of researchers in economics and finance to enrich economic theory using insights from cognitive psychology into intrinsic human motivation,” the citation said. Kahneman shared the Nobel, formally the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, with American economist Vernon L. Smith.

Here is my personal reflection:

Daniel Kahneman, a giant in psychology and economics, passed away recently. He revolutionized our understanding of human decision-making, revealing the biases and shortcuts that shape our choices. Through his work, he not only improved economic models but also empowered individuals to make more informed and rational decisions. His legacy will continue to influence fields far beyond his own.  May his memory be a blessing.