In behavioural finance, a substantial body of work exists about what motivates a decision-maker at the moment of choice. Yet what is often overlooked is that there is a whole lengthy part of the decision-making process that precedes the moment of choice. Moreover, although the decision-making process occurs in the psychological mind of the decision-maker, it has its origin in the physical matter of which the decision-maker is composed. This causes it not only to be constrained by physical laws, but also bound by physical systemic operational principles that allow the decision-maker to continue to function in a sustainable manner.
As such, any psychological estimate, which includes any value that is affirmed during the beholding of value process, will not only have to take these physical laws and operational principles into account, but will have to manifest in such a way that it conforms to them. Still further, work conducted in the field of behavioural psychology by, among others, Kahneman (2003), Zajonc (1980), Gigerenzer & Gaissmaier (2011) and Tversky & Kahneman (1992) indicates that a significant part of the decision-making process occurs prior to conscious awareness. Yet it still has a deep and profound impact on that part of decision-making that occurs after conscious awareness, that has up till now been the only part of the decision-making process that has been included as part of present financial literature.
Hence the purpose of this study is to make the process responsible for value and its formation visible, determining not only at what level of consciousness value formation occurs but moreover, establishing the size and scope of the decision-making process that up till now has not been accounted for in present financial literature. In doing so the study attempts to assist towards determining the impact that this has had on the financial social sciences’ ability to assist in the financial decision-making process.