My research focuses on human decision making in both individual and strategic contexts.  I bring together normative models of choice (i.e. conceptualizing people as perfectly rational agents who optimize expected outcomes) and contrast this with descriptive models of decision making (i.e. psychologically realistic models of people who are boundedly rational and heterogeneous).  I have an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together methods from experimental economics, cognitive psychology, and mathematical modeling in an effort to gain insights into how humans make decisions, reason, and learn in stochastic and strategic environments.

Listen here to an OmegaTau podcast on Behavioral Game Theory and Experimental Economics.


Refereed journal articles

Murphy, R. O. & Ackermann, K. A. (2015).  Social preferences, positive expectations, and trust based cooperation.  Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 67, 45-50.

Nax, Heinrich H., Murphy, R. O., & Ackermann, K. A. (2015).  Interactive preferences.  Economics Letters, 135, 133-136, online at DOI:10.1016/j.econlet.2015.08.008.

Ackermann, K. A., Fleiß, J., & Murphy, R. O. (2014).  Reciprocity as an individual difference.  Journal of Conflict Resolution, online at DOI: 10.1177/0022002714541854.

Murphy, R. O., & Ackermann, K. A. (2014). Social Value Orientation: Theoretical and measurement issues in the study of social preferences. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 18(1), 13-41.

Holper, L., ten Brincke, R., Wolf, M., & Murphy, R. O. (2014). fNIRS derived hemodynamic signals and electrodermal responses in a sequential risk-taking task. Brain Research, 1557, 141-154.

Holper, L., & Murphy, R. O. (2013) Hemodynamic and affective correlates assessed during performance on the Columbia Card Task (CCT).  Brain Imaging and Behavior.  PMID: 24242358, doi:10.1007/s11682-013-9265-9.

Parco, J. E., & Murphy, R. O. (2013). Resistance to truthful revelation in bargaining: Persistent bid shading and the play of dominated strategies.  Journal of Economic Psychology, 39, 154-170.

Haward, M. F., Murphy, R. O., & Lorenz, J. M. (2012). Defaults and neonatal resuscitation decisions.  Journal of Medical Ethics, 38, 713-718.

Murphy, R. O., Ackermann, K. A., & Handgraaf, M. J. J. (2011). Measuring Social Value Orientation (SVO).  Judgment and Decision Making, 6, 771-781.

Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., Murphy, R. O., & Hutzler, F. (2011). Flashlight: Recording information acquisition online. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1771-1782.

Bearden, J. N., Murphy, R. O., & Rapoport, A. (2008). Decision biases in revenue management: Some behavioral evidence. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 10, 625-636.

Haward, M. F., Murphy, R. O., & Lorenz, J. M. (2008). Framing and perinatal decisions: Implications for informed consent. Pediatrics, 122, 109-118.

Bearden, J. N., Rapoport, A., & Murphy, R. O. (2006). Sequential observation and selection with rank-dependent payoffs: An experimental test. Management Science, 52, 1437-1449.

Bearden, J. N., Rapoport, A., & Murphy, R. O. (2006). Sequential selection and assignment: An experimental study. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 19, 229-250.

Murphy, R. O., Rapoport, A., & Parco, J. (2006). The breakdown of cooperation in iterative real-time trust dilemmas. Experimental Economics, 9, 147-166.

Bearden, J. N., Murphy, R. O., & Rapoport, A. (2005). A multi-attribute extension of the secretary problem: Theory and experiments. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 49, 410-425.

Murphy, R. O., Rapoport, A., & Parco, J. (2004). Population learning of cooperative behavior in a three-person centipede game. Rationality and Society, 16, 91-120.

Gutek, B. A., Murphy, R. O., & Douma, B. (2004). A review and critique of the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire (SEQ). Law and Human Behavior, 28, 457-482.

Menefee, J. & Murphy, R. O. (2004). Rewarding and retaining the best: Compensation strategies for top performers. Benefits Quarterly, 3, 13-21.

Price, P. & Murphy, R. O. (1999). General-knowledge overconfidence: A comparison of Brazilian and American university students. Mente Social, 5, 55-74.

Book chapters

Rapoport, A., & Murphy, R. O. (2012).  Evolution and breakdown of trust in continuous time.  In G. Bolton & R. Croson (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Economic Conflict Resolution (p. 199-215). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., & Murphy, R. O. (2012). Flashlight as a process tracing method.  In Z. Yan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Cyber Behavior (p. 88-95). Hershey, PA: IGI Global Publishing.

Figner, B., & Murphy, R. O. (2010). Using skin conductance in judgment and decision making research. In M. Schulte-Mecklenbeck, A. Kuehberger, & R. Ranyard (Eds.), A Handbook of Process Tracing Methods for Decision Research (p. 163-184). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Boldt, A. S., Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., & Murphy, R. O. (2009). Flashlight: Online Erfassung von Mausbewegungen. In H. Wandke, S. Kain, & D. Struve (Eds.), Mensch & Computer 2009: Grenzenlos frei!?, Interdisziplinäre Fachtagung, 6-9. September 2009 (p. 475-478). Berlin: Oldenbourg Verlag.

Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., & Murphy, R. O. (2009). Prozessdaten online erheben: Verschiedene Methoden im Überblick. In N. Jackob, H. Schoen, & T. Zerback (Eds.), Sozialforschung im Internet (p. 197-209). Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Figner, B., & Murphy, R. O. (2008). Affect and deliberation: The role of cognitive control in risk taking behavior in children, adolescents, and adults. In K. Gilhooly, V. Girotto, D. Green, P. Legrenzi, & W. Schaeken (Eds.), Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Thinking.

Bearden, J. N., & Murphy, R. O. (2007). On generalized secretary problems. In M. Abdellaoui, R. D. Luce, M. J. Machina, & B. Munier (Eds.), Uncertainty and Risk — Mental, Formal and Experimental Representations (p. 187-205). Springer: New York.

Groth, M., Mertens, D., & Murphy, R. O. (2004). Customers as good soldiers: Extending organizational citizenship behavior research to the customer domain. In D. Turnipseed (Ed.), A Handbook on Organizational Citizenship Behavior: A Review of ‘Good Solider’ Activity in Organizations (p. 415-433). Hauppauge NY: Nova Science Publishing.

Papers under review

Ackermann, K. A., Fleiss, E., Fleiss, J., Murphy, R. O., & Posch, A. (2015).  Save the planet for humans' sake: The relation between social and environmental value orientations.  Under review, available at

Bernold, E., Gsottbauer, E., Ackermann, K. A., & Murphy, R. O. (2014).  Social framing and cooperation: The roles and interaction of preferences and beliefs.  Under review.

Murphy, R. O., & Ackermann, K. A. (2014).  Explaining behavior in public goods games: How preferences and beliefs affect contribution levels.  Under review, available at

Murphy, R. O., & Ackermann, K. A. (2014).   Social preferences, positive expectations, and trust based cooperation.  Under review, available at:

Murphy, R. O., & ten Brincke, R. (2014).  Hierarchical maximum likelihood parameter estimation for cumulative prospect theory: Improving the reliability of individual risk parameter estimates.  Working paper.  Available at:

Murphy, R. O., & ten Brincke, R. (2014). Bonuses bite back: How competitive incentives make everyone worse off.  Under review, available at:

Nax, H., Murphy, R. O., & Helbing, D. (2015). Meritocratic matching stabilizes public goods provision.  Under review, available at:

Nax, H., Balietti, S., Murphy, R. O., & Helbing, D. (2015).  Meritocracy can dissolve the efficiency-equality tradeoff: the case of public-goods games.

Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., Pachur, T., Murphy, R. O., & Hertwig, R. (2014). Prospect theory tracks selective allocation of attention. Revise and resubmit.

Research Awards

Anatol Rapoport Prize, 2014

The prize is awarded every two years by the Modeling and Simulation section of the German Sociological Society.  The prize recognizes research excellence in a recent social science work using quantitate modeling and/or simulation.  This was an award for a paper that grew out of my work on Social Value Orientation and for a paper with my former PhD student. The paper is on measuring reciprocal tendencies in individuals (Ackermann, Fleiss, & Murphy, 2014).