Straight Choices: The Psychology of Decision Making

Straight Choices: The Psychology of Decision Making

Paperback(Older Edition)

View All Available Formats & Editions


We all face a perplexing array of decisions every day. Straight Choices provides an integrative account of the psychology of decision making, in which clear connections are made between empirical results and how these results can help us to understand our uncertain world.

Throughout the text, there is an emphasis on the relationship between learning and decision making. The authors argue that the best way to understand how and why decisions are made is in the context of the learning and knowledge acquisition that precedes them and the feedback that follows them. The mechanisms of learning and the structure of environments in which decisions are made are carefully examined to explore the ways in which they act on our choices. From this, the authors go on to consider whether we are all constrained to fall prey to biases or whether with sufficient exposure can we find optimal decision strategies and improve our decision making.

This novel approach integrates findings from the decision and learning literatures to provide a unique perspective on the psychology of decision making. It will be of interest to researchers and students in cognitive psychology, as well as researchers in economics and philosophy interested in the nature of decision making.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781841695891
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 07/22/2010
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.16(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Ben R. Newell is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, Australia

David Lagnado is Senior Lecturer in Cognitive and Decision Sciences in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College London, UK.

David Shanks is Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences and Professor of Psychology at University College London, UK.

Table of Contents

Preface     x
Acknowledgements     xii
Falling off the straight and narrow     1
Our approach and the plan of the book     1
Which medical treatment should I choose?     3
Is this person guilty or innocent?     6
How should I invest my money?     9
Summary     13
Decision quality and an historical context     15
Intuitions about decision quality     15
A formal approach to decision quality     16
A brief history of judgment and decision research     19
Summary     24
Stages of judgment I: Discovering, acquiring and combining information     25
Conceptualizing judgment: The lens model     26
Discovering information     27
Acquiring information     30
Combining information     34
Summary     45
Stages of judgment II: Feedback effects and dynamic environments     47
Learning from feedback     47
Feedback or feedforward?     50
Decision making in dynamic environments     53
Naturalistic decision making (NDM)     55
Summary     58
Appraising probability judgments     61
Correspondence vs. coherence criteria     61
Bayesian model of probability updating     66
Summary     70
Judgmental heuristics and biases     71
Attribute substitution and natural assessments     71
Errors of coherence     72
Support theory     78
Errors of correspondence     80
The frequency effect     85
Summary     89
Associative thinking     91
Associative theories of probability judgment     91
Extending the associative model     93
Associative thinking and mental simulation     98
Summary     101
Analysing decisions I: A general framework     103
A framework for analysing decisions     103
The axioms of expected utility theory     107
Summary     114
Analysing decisions II: Prospect theory and preference reversals     115
Reference-dependence     115
The four-fold pattern     119
Framing     123
Preference reversals     126
Compatibility and evaluability     128
Effect of experience on preference reversals     131
Summary     133
Decisions across time     135
Hindsight and other time-related biases     136
Predicting pleasure and pain     139
Direct effects of time     141
Discount rates     145
Anticipated emotions     147
Summary     151
Learning to choose, choosing to learn     153
Probability matching     156
The linear model     158
Choice rules     165
Summary     167
Optimality, expertise and insight     169
How close can a decision maker get to optimality?     169
Limitations of the linear model     173
Exemplar theories     176
Search, expertise and insight     178
Summary     183
Emotional influences on decision making     185
Decisions and emotions     186
The affect heuristic and risk as feelings     187
Imagery, affect and decisions     189
Summary     193
Group decision making     195
Intellective and judgment tasks     196
Achieving a consensus     198
Groupthink: Model and evidence     201
Summary     204
Going straight: The view from outside the laboratory     205
Individual techniques for improving decision making     205
Cultural techniques for improving decision making     209
Tools for improving decision making     211
Summary     214
References     217
Author Index     241
Subject Index     245

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews