Public policy is usually designed with the assumption that people make optimal choices based on their own best interests. Princeton University is at the forefront of an emerging field of study that challenges this traditional view and reveals the sometimes surprising forces behind our decision making.

The Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy leverages the combined strengths of Princeton’s faculty from several departments who are exploring the gaps between what individuals “should” be expected to do and what people do do. Our researchers are studying real-life examples of informed, reasonable people making “poor” choices and how policy might be better designed and executed to make it easier to improve their outcomes.

Research conducted at the center will directly influence local, national, and global policy making, and ultimately result in policies that take into account the way people actually think and behave when making decisions. The center is an intellectual and administrative hub to support and organize new scholarly opportunities for Princeton undergraduates and graduate students, plan lecture series and conferences, disseminate research results, and connect Princeton researchers with policy makers and scholars from other institutions.