Mentale kontoführung als selbstregulierung: Repräsentativität für zielgeleitete kategorien

Translated title of the contribution: Mental accounting as self-regulation: Representativeness to goal-derived categories

C. Miguel Brendl*, Arthur B. Markman, E. Tory Higgins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


When making decisions, people group gains and losses. The way they choose to form these groupings, called «mental accounting» affects their decisions. Mental accounting is a powerful and intuitively compelling phenomenon. To this point, however, little attention has been devoted to the psychological principles that underlie mental accounting. In this article we explore the psychological processes that set up mental accounts and assign gains or losses to these accounts. We propose that (a) currently active goals set up mental accounts, and (b) gains and losses are weighted into these accounts proportionally to their representativeness to the goal that set up the account. We review existing evidence that supports this goals-representativeness view of mental accounting and describe new studies designed to test these proposals. We also review other choice phenomena (e.g., sunk costs and entrapment) in which mental accounting is involved. We suggest that mental accounting is a useful self-regulatory strategy, despite the fact that it can sometimes lead to irrational choices. (An English translation of this paper can be requested from the authors).

Translated title of the contributionMental accounting as self-regulation: Representativeness to goal-derived categories
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalZeitschrift fur Sozialpsychologie
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


  • Consumer behavior
  • Decision making
  • Representativeness heuristic
  • Self-regulation
  • Similarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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