The concept of preference formation deals with two questions that are basic in social psychology and philosophy, of some importance in consumer research and political science but of explicit disinterest in mainstream economics: how preferences are acquired and how they are modified. Preference is a concept that assumes a real or imagined “choice” or active selection between alternatives according to a rank ordering based on their respective values or utilities. Preferences are defined as primarily affectively based behavioral phenomena and a major source of motivation. Preferences exhibit themselves not so much in what the individual thinks or says about the object but how he or she acts toward it—that is, approaches it, buys it, and uses it.

Most of the literature on preferences has a strong ...

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