Honoring scientists who have made important and lasting contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior.
Elke Weber is the Jerome A. Chazen Professor of International Business in the Management Division of Columbia Business School and a professor of Psychology at Columbia University. She also founded and co-directs two centers at Columbia, the Center for the Decision Sciences and the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.
Weber has made it her life’s work to understand why and how people make the decisions they make. Working at the intersection of psychology and economics, Weber is an expert on behavioral models of judgment and decision making under risk and uncertainty. Recently, she has been investigating psychologically appropriate ways to measure and model individual and cultural differences in risk taking, specifically in risky financial situations and environmental issues. Her areas of expertise include cognitive and affective processes in judgment and choice, cross-cultural issues in management, environmental decision making and policy, medical decision making, and risk management. She describes her research as follows:
“I try to gain an understanding and appreciation of decision making at a broad range of levels of analysis, which is not easy, given that each level requires different theories, methods and tools. So at the micro end of the continuum, I study how basic psychological processes like attention, emotion and memory (and their representation in the brain) influence preference and choice. At the macro end of the continuum, I think about how policy makers may want to present policy initiatives to the public to make them maximally effective. This range of topics and methods is challenging, but at least in my mind the different levels of analysis inform and complement each other.”
Currently, Weber is focusing the majority of her time on two very different, but crucial issues: “… environmental decisions, in particular responses to climate change and climate variability, and financial decisions, for example pension savings.” Like all of her research topics, even these seemingly unrelated issues are linked in that both involve choices with consequences that are delayed in time and are often highly uncertain.
Weber is past president the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, the Society for Mathematical Psychology, and the Society for Neuroeconomics. She is a fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, and a member of the Society for Medical Decision Making, the Society for Risk Analysis, and INFORMS. She has served on two advisory committees of the National Academy of Sciences on Human Dimensions in Global Change.
Weber has been co-editor of the journal Risk Decision & Policy, associate editor of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and is current associate editor of Management Science. She serves on the editorial boards of eight other journals.
Some honors and awards Weber has received include the 2000 Chazen International Research Prize from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, the 1994 Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the Society for Medical Decision Making, the 1988 Young Psychologist Award from the American Psychological Association and the 1980 Vanier Award for Academic Excellence from York University. She received postgraduate and postdoctoral fellowships in natural science and engineering research from the Council of Canada. Since 1985, her research has been funded continuously by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and several other funding agencies.
Hal Arkes, Ohio State University
Poonam Arora, Manhattan College
Shahzeen Attari, Indiana University
Nancy Betz, The Ohio State University
Hannah Chang, Singapore Management University
*Gretchen Chapman, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Susan Fiske, Princeton University
Dan Goldstein, Microsoft Research
David Hardisty, Sauder School of Business
Amy Krosch, New York University
Jennifer Lerner, Harvard University
Ye Li, University of California, Riverside
Jenn Logg, University of California, Berkeley
Nina Mazar, Rotman School of Management
Barb Mellers, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Kerry Milch, Columbia University
Ryan Murphy, The ETH Zurich
Ben Orlove, Columbia University
*Ellen Peters, The Ohio State University
Scott Plous, Wesleyan University
Paul Slovic, University of Oregon
Katherine Thompson, Columbia University
Thomas S. Wallsten, University of Maryland
Jonathan Westfall, Centenary College of Louisiana
Paul Windschitl, University of Iowa
*FABBS Foundation would like to thank Drs. Gretchen Chapman and Ellen Peters for nominating Dr. Weber for this honor and for leading the effort to spread the word about her nomination.
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