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A theoretical perspective used to explain and account for how humans come to make the decisions that they do. Rational choice theories are wide ranging, but each is built on the premise that people, using free will, choose their courses of action based on whether positive or negative outcomes will result from their choices. The idea of the rational man emerged with the rise of Enlightenment ideology during the 1700s. Rational choice asserts that individuals are compelled by self-interest and apply their rationale accordingly. Therefore, human decision making stems from a rationally conducted cost-benefit calculus. Humans aim to maximize gains while trying to limit or avoid pain and make decisions to realize such outcomes.

The idea of rational choice is applied in a multitude of ...

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