People / Faculty

Drazen Prelec

Drazen Prelec, Ph.D.
Digital Equipment Corporation LFM Professor of Management in the Sloan School
Neuroeconomics lab

Sloan School of Management
Building: E62-540
Email: dprelec@mit.edu

Neuroeconomics

Drazen Prelec’s research deals with the psychology and neuroscience of decision making (behavioral economics and neuroeconomics; risky choice, time discounting, self-control, consumer behavior). He works both on the development of normative decision theory and the exploration of the empirical failures of that theory, using behavioral and fMRI methods.

A current project on “self-signaling” tries to understand the strange power of non-causal motivation — when individuals favor actions that are diagnostic of good outcomes, even though these actions have little or no causal force.  Diagnostic motivation is real, and is probably essential for human self-control. Its cognitive and neural mechanisms are not well understood however.

A second “Bayesian truth serum” project deals with scoring systems for evaluating individual and collective judgment in knowledge domains where no external truth criterion is available. Examples would be long-range forecasts, political or historical inferences, and artistic or legal interpretations. He is developing scoring systems that reward honest judgments, and that can identify truth even when majority opinion is wrong.

Prelec has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1991, and presently holds appointments in the Sloan School, the Economics Department, and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He received his Ph. D in experimental psychology and AB in applied mathematics from Harvard University. He was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, and has received a number of distinguished research awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.


Ariely D, Kamenica E, and Prelec D, Man’s search for meaning: The case of Legos, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,  2008, 67(3), 671-677.

Knutson B, Wimmer GE, Rick S, Hollon NG, Prelec D, Loewenstein G. Neural
antecedents of the endowment effect. Neuron. 2008 Jun 12;58(5):814-22.

Loewenstein Y, Prelec D, Seung HS. Operant matching as a Nash equilibrium of
an intertemporal game. Neural Comput. 2009 Oct;21(10):2755-73.

Mijović-Prelec D, Prelec D. Self-deception as self-signalling: a model and
experimental evidence. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Jan
27;365(1538):227-40.


Additional Publications