Understanding the Performing Arts Market: How Consumers Think

  • Joanne Scheff Bernstein


Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist, shares the story of a man who told him that he listened to a gloriously beautiful symphony for 20 minutes, after which a terrible screeching sound ruined his experience. Kahneman replied to him that the experience was not ruined, as he enjoyed 20 wonderful minutes, but it was his memory of the experience that was ruined. Kahneman describes this as the riddle of experience versus memory. Says Kahneman, “We don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. Even when we think about the future, we don’t think of our future normally as experiences. We think of our future as anticipated memories. We don’t tell stories, our memory tells our stories.” Furthermore, “the remembering self is the one that makes decisions. The experiencing self has no voice in decisions. Look at this,” says Kahneman, “as the tyranny of the remembering self.”1


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© Joanne Scheff Bernstein 2014

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  • Joanne Scheff Bernstein

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