Economics and Psychology OpenCourseWare: MIT's Free Undergraduate Class on the Study of How Psychology Impacts the Field of Economics

Published Mar 05, 2009

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers its 'Economics and Psychology' course as free OpenCourseWare. The OpenCourseWare contains useful information for those interested in economics or psychology. The original undergraduate class taught Bachelor of Science in Economics students about how emotions and cognitive limitations affect consumers' economic decisions.

Economics and Psychology: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
Yes Yes No

Economics and Psychology: Course Description

Professor Xavier Gabaix taught the original 'Economics and Psychology' lecture course, which was an undergraduate elective in Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Economics Department. Traditional economic theory assumes that people are 'utility maximizers,' driven mostly by the desire to make money. However, this course from MIT encouraged students to explore how emotions like altruism affect peoples' and firms' economic behavior. Classic economic theories simply do not take into account emotions, which lead people to behave in complex ways. Students in this class studied psychological concepts like cognitive dissonance (the theory that people rationalize decisions, beliefs or outcomes that conflict with their self-concept) and loss aversion (the theory that people fear losses more than they desire economic gains).

Materials available in 'Economics and Psychology' OpenCourseWare include a reading list, lecture notes, problem sets, links to related course content and downloadable research papers. To find out more about this online social science course, explore the psychological influences on economic behavior course page.

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