Timmermans’ Misleading Critique of Prospect Theory Actually Supports its Relevance for Travel Choice Modelling
For a special issue of this journal Timmermans (2010) was asked to make critical comments on the suitability of Prospect Theory for travel behaviour research. His article offers a comprehensive overview of all kinds of criticism that one might encounter in the social sciences. When browsing through it during the preparation of an article about the transferability of Prospect Theories’ assumptions I came across a citation of an alleged inferior explanatory performance of Prospect Theory with respect to people’s choices in the TV game ‘Deal or no Deal’. I curiously downloaded the cited working paper and found that the citation was fabricated. Successively I thoroughly reviewed the argumentations in the article and in several references that support them. This revealed more untruthful citations, inaccuracies in the references, fallacies and selective use of empirical evidence. Most remaining critical comments appeared personal opinions without solid theoretical or empirical support. In this paper I present an in-depth discussion of the foundations of the comments in T and a critical examination of the references advanced to support them. It leads me to the conclusion that Timmermans’ criticism is unjust and that the references that underlie it actually support the suitability of Prospect Theory for travel choice modelling. This article might also offer a guideline for a careful interpretation of conclusions as a contribution to an improved peer-review process aimed to block articles contaminated with bad scientific practice.
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