The EADM Interview: Bernadette Kamleitner

Bernadette KamleitnerWho are you, and what do you do?

My name is Bernadette Kamleitner. I am professor of Marketing with a focus on Consumer Behavior and head of the Institute for Marketing and Consumer research at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business. What do I do? I either do things that I am fascinated about or I do things that make me question the things that I am fascinated about from very different angles. As is typical for professors at my institution I am part manager, part teacher, part public figure, and–of course–part researcher. Being at Austria’s primary business school means that I can often be involved in practitioner projects and that I cannot afford ignoring the practical relevance of my research.

It is research which primarily determines my professional self-construal. At most times this is in the face of my actual time commitments. Nonetheless, it is these other commitments that add well-needed spice and constant outside reflection to the research part of my job.  On top of it I feel that I owe it to my education, my institution and society to be available for transfer -in all directions.

I hold a PhD in Psychology and a PhD in Marketing and have held academic jobs in both fields. In my research agendas I fuse both sides of my academic background. I need to use the plural “agendas” because I am interested in and do research on a wide range of topics. Currently, the majority of my research concentrates on psychological ownership. I have been fascinated by the practical and theoretical power of one of the shortest possible words, MY, for years and I have been lucky to infect my team with this fascination. Research on psychological ownership asks how people come to experience objects as “mine” and how sense of ownership for an object influences cognitions, decisions and  behavior. To name just a few specific topics: we have investigated psychological ownership’s link to imagery as a processing mode and pre-decision experience, psychological ownership in the context of shared ownership, and the concept’s link to payment methods and object characteristics. Much more is under way.  We have been organizing an inspiring multi-disciplinary small conference on the topic  in 2013, will soon organize a symposium on it at ICAP in Paris, and are in the process of editing a special issue in  JBEE. Also watch out for a blog on the topic which we will start in late 2014.

What do you consider your most important research tool(s) on your computer?

Ever since starting with my first PhD Endnote has become invaluable to me. My data base now consists of more than 8000 sources of which I have at least read the abstracts. Since google scholar enabled the direct import into Endnote, Endnote’s use has increased for me even more. I use the keyword function a lot. Apart from topical keywords I often assign the names of the people I am working with on a project. This adds a very personal and for me valuable touch to it.  I know that endnote has for a couple of years lost its status as “the” referencing software but my sunk cost in the program are now so considerable that I keep my fingers crossed that it will be universally linked to references for many years to come.

There is a second program that has become invaluable to me, in particular, since I took on the job of full professor and head of institute. For the most part of the year I simply lack the time to focus on one paper for more than a few hours and yet in between tasks I get inputs and inspirations for many different projects. Keeping an overview and on the ball has become a real challenge. While I am a fast learner, I am not blessed with the best of memories. This means I have to capture ideas, sources, comments, mails etc. as soon as possible – ideally instantaneously – and to do so in a way that enables easy retrieval. If I had to open up different documents or folders for all the different projects I am working on (around 20 though many of them have been hibernating for substantial stretches of time), I simply would not manage to cope – I have tried. My solution is OneNote. I have a folder for research, teaching, admin, my team, conferences and other todos and have multiple subpages for all projects. Whenever I come across anything relevant, I just copy-paste into the ever open OneNote section. It is also a great way of keeping track of notes I take during conferences. What I love about it on top of its single-document character is that it auto-saves instantaneously and that I can draw on top of writing and pasting any type of document into it.  I hope to eventually end up having a laptop with a workable touchscreen  (on top of a first class keyboard and a non-reflecting screen) so that I can easily draw conceptual models and experimental designs by hand.

What do you consider your most important research tool(s) outside of your computer?

A chocolate powered mind residing in a body that sits in a comfortable chair with the legs resting on some foot stool or low window sill. Seriously, the mind is a demanding organ and it needs fuel to perform well. I love working in coffee shops or the open air but I never venture anywhere or even open the computer before making sure that I am surrounded by sufficient food and drink. This enables me to keep working wherever I am for as long as I feel productive. I am also not entirely beyond the paper and pen stage of my life. Whenever things get complicated I need to flash them out quickly in an easily amendable sketch. I also think that the experience of crossing out has clear conceptual advantages over deletion.

What is your favorite tip for getting writing done?

Commit yourself clearly. Apart from comfortable surroundings this is the trigger to get specific things done. Academic freedom is the bright side of the job but it throws a shadow. Except for third-party funded projects, there are hardly any deadlines. Even if there are, they have often been self-set and there are a myriad of convincing reasons (it is not even necessary to call them excuses) why these cannot be met. I find that committing towards other people, ideally collaborators, is one of the greatest pushes to cut through all the urgent things and get to the important things.

Webpage Bernadette Kamleitner

Bernadette’s favorite paper:

Kamleitner, B. and B. Erki (2013). Payment method and perceptions of ownership. Marketing Letters 24(1): 57-69.



2nd EADM JDM Summer School


The European Association for Decision Making (EADM) is pleased to announce its second Judgment and Decision Making (JDM) Summer School for PhD Students. It will take place from

Friday 15 August to Saturday 23 August 2014

at the

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, Germany.

The Summer School will consist of a weeklong program of courses covering issues of methodology in Judgment and Decision Making (JDM) research including hands on courses on:

Methodology in JDM Research (Frank Renkewitz, University of Erfurt)
Current methodological debate, efficient research design & theory evaluation.
Cognitive Modelling  (Andreas Glöckner, University of Göttingen)
Understanding, implementing, and testing cognitive models of choice.
Bayesian Approaches to JDM   (Benjamin Scheibehenne, University of Basel)
Bayesian models for judgment and choice, Bayesian statistics and model comparison for JDM research.
Anti-social Decision Making and Cheating  (Shaul Shalvi, Ben Gurion University)
Investigating what and how JDM research can teach us about people’s (im)moral behaviors.
Introduction to Eye-tracking  (Susann Fiedler, MPI Bonn)
Eye-tracking as a tool for investigating cognitive processes in JDM including hands on experience with the technology.
Social Decision Making   (Carsten De Dreu, University of Amsterdam)
Investigating the basic structures of social dilemmas as they emerge in (small) groups of people and how this translates into (i) social decision, and (ii) negotiating agreement. Special attention will be given to cooperative choice and negotiation strategies among representatives who navigate personal interests, those of their constituents (in-group), and those of the rivaling out-group.

Accepted participants take part at the Summer School free of charge due to the generous funding by the EADM. Accommodation, food and travel costs are not covered.

To apply for the Summer School the following materials are required:

(a) 2-page CV that gives details of your academic achievements,

(b) summary of your PhD research (800-1000 words),

(c) short letter of recommendation (maximum of one page) from an academic with knowledge of your research (e.g., supervisor).

Please email your application in pdf format to:

by April 5th, 2014 with “EADM Summer School Application” in the subject line.

For further details you find the full call for applications here.



Happy 2014!

Dear decision making colleagues,

The board of your association wishes you the very best for 2014: health, happiness, and scientific success.

For EADM the future looks bright. We will have the second EADM Summer School in August 2014, in Bonn – look out for more information. It promises to be inspiring and informative.

The next SPUDM will be in Budapest in 2015 – a bit of a wait but sure to be great again.

We continue to support Jon Baron’s Journal of Judgment and Decision Making as our joint outlet with SJDM.

And do not forget to organise decision making workshops: funding is available! Check the website for more information.

Andreas Glöckner
Michel Handgraaf
Michael Schulte-Mecklenbeck
Barbara Summers
Cilia Witteman

Weighting value and fit in academia

Written by Ilana Ritov

I would like to share with the readers my thoughts about three different issues I have recently been asked to consider and express my opinion about. I believe many of us encounter these questions, and some may have very different answers. The first issue involved hiring new faculty. Candidates were considered for a job opening in my department. As is so often the case, two leading candidates emerged. One of them is doing highly interesting work, and pursuing issues that seem to me important. The other’s work is somewhat less exciting, but is considered to better fit the departmental “needs”. I argued in favour of the former candidate, apparently weighting the intrinsic value of theresearch over and above the matching of the candidate’s interests with those of the department.

The second issue concerned a paper submitted to the journal Judgment and Decision Making, in which I serve as an associate editor. I found the paper highly interesting, as did the other members of the editorial board who read it. However, doubts were raised whether this paper should be published in a JDM journal. The paper did not examine choices, but compared evaluations of health related issues across countries and expertise levels. The decision whether to accept the paper for publication clearly rests on consideration of quality (in this case interest) vs. fit.

Finally, another problem I had to consider recently is whether to allow a student in the conflict management program I chair to take, as an elective, a class about “urban planning from the perspective of sub-populations”. The class would (hopefully) be stimulating and could provide a background that is relevant to some conflict management analyses, but it is not directly related to the core of the program. The student wanted to take the class because she was very interested in the topic. I thought this was a good enough reason, and approved her request.

Needless to say, the three problems are very different in many respects. However, thinking about these three problems simultaneously, I realized they all involve weighting of two major attributes: intrinsic value and fit. Intrinsic value, in our domain, typically refers to how interesting we find the object, be it a research program, an individual paper, or a specific class. The fit is the degree to which the topic matches some pre-defined domain characteristics. More precisely, we think of the extent to which the topic is close to the prototypical exemplar of a category with fussy boundaries.

One factor that has been shown to affect attribute weighting is ‘evaluability’. The easier it is to evaluate an attribute the greater the weight it carries. Perhaps due to the interdisciplinary nature and vague boundaries of our field, it seems to me that we as JDM-researchers find quality easier to evaluate than fit. This suggests that I may have assigned too much weight to quality/interest relative to fit.

Do I overweight one attribute relative to the other? A quick search of the vast literature on attribute weighting did not yield any clear conclusions. Incoherent preferences related to changes in attribute weighting are abundant. However, perhaps due to some self-serving bias, I cannot easily think of another framing in which my preferences with respect to the choices described above would have been different.