The present contribution is centered on the research of cognitive processes and decision making performed in the Risk Analysis and Decision Research Unit at Stockholm University. Methodological aspects of the study of judgment and decision making as cognitive processes are presented in the paper. The process perspective includes a presentation of Differentiation and Consolidation Theory of human decision making which differs from most contemporary decision theories. Empirical results collected over the years and covering problem solving, judgment and decision processes can also be found in the article. The last section presents some issues which are important for future research on human decision processes.
This article presents a new model of contingent decision making in which utility theories (including nonlinear utility theories such as the rank-dependent utility theory) are often violated. In this model, called “Mental Ruler” theory, it is assumed that people construct a mental ruler to evaluate options for judgment and decision. A mental ruler is assumed to have two endpoints(reference points) like an ordinal physical ruler. It is assumed that a mental ruler is constructed on the support for a subjectively framed situation which is dependent on the focused situation. Contrary to the most of the utility theories and prospect theory, evaluation function is inverse S-shaped function, which is concave below and convex above a certain point between the endpoints of the support for the mental ruler. Firstly, In this article, a critique of the previous theories is presented, and secondly, the qualitative model of the mental ruler is proposed. Thirdly, a set-theoretic foundation and the mathematical representation of the model is presented. Lastly, experimental findings on contingent decision making are interpreted by the mental ruler theory, and the theoretical implication of the model is discussed.
Decision making processes can be viewed as a form of problem solving. Approaches to the study of problem solving processes can then be applied to decision making. The approach presented here uses think-aloud protocols as data. A process model is constructed of the data, using the “limited rationality” approach, which assumes that behaviour is rational given constraints imposed by the task, the knowledge that people have and the capacity limits in their cognitive architecture. The method for constructing such models, collecting the think-aloud data and evaluating the model are outlined.
The present article argues for the importance of accurate probability judgments as a foundation for good decision making. It begins with a review of evidence about how laypersons — everyday decision makers — conceptualize what it means for probability judgments to be accurate or inaccurate. It then sketches key formal notions of probability judgment accuracy (e.g., calibration) that guide current scholarly work on the subject. The remaining parts of the article review studies demonstrating how the accuracy dimensions distinguished in formal analyses have led to useful insights into the processes by which people actually arrive at probability judgments that are either strong or weak in particular respects. Implications for how judgments, and hence decisions, might be improved are discussed throughout.
Cooperative decision-making process was volitional coordinated information search in pursuit of a shared choice between two persons. This study compared Pairs of participants with Single participants in choice tasks. To compare Pairs with Singles, we monitored the amount and sequence of information acquired during decision making using a computerized process tracing tool. We also examined the recall of aspects after choice and evaluation of their decision. Female undergraduates (N=36) carried out the task that participants were asked to choose a package tour among 4 tours or 8 tours, using one visual display terminal. The results showed that Pairs tended to take more various attributes into consideration, and that Pairs increased the amount of time needed to get information. In addition, Pairs showed that aspects of the chosen alternative were remembered better than not chosen alternatives. This result was interpreted as a difficulty of information sharing between Pairs. In the light of the result Pairs tented to evaluate more available information on choice tasks, we suggested that this difficulty was due to an increase in information load for Pairs.
The present study examined the effectiveness of a newly developed method based on hypergame theory to analyze the decision making process in negotiations. Twelve pairs of subjects played a seller-buyer negotiation game on the purchase of piano as an example. Subjects reported all transactions in the negotiation to experimenter by writing. The descriptions were later analyzed and categorized to construct a series of hypergames. Each hypergame represented a transient stage of the negotiation process. The method effectively revealed the subjects' perceived situations in the negotiation, including preference orders, strategies, and expected results. In the course of negotiations, typical actions such as proposals, concessions, threats, and strategic surprises were clearly identified in referring to the constructed hypergames. Discussed theoretical issues are: (1) The method can be applied to the naturalistic decision making studies to analyze the differences of perceptions and actions between experts and novices in the negotiation task, (2) Expansion of hypergame theoretical model should be made in order to generate hypergames of sequentially changing perceptions in the dynamic situation, and (3) Protocol analysis should be reconsidered to secure the validity of the constructed hypergames.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the effect of provided forms on creating inventions. In creative cognition approach, Finke, Ward, & Smith (1992) showed that people can create products using specific object forms and exploring the forms' possible functions. Accordig to their account, these self-generated preinventive forms were more useful for creating inventions than externally provided forms. One hundred and thirty three undergraduates were divided into six groups. The subjects of five experimental groups used the provided objects made of three parts, and 1) thought of some reasons why the objects had those forms, 2) recombined the parts to the objects in imagery, 3) rotated them inversely in imagery, 4) transformed them into stable forms, 5) evaluated them on quality, novelty, usefulness, and ambiguity. The subjects of the control group generated objects using the three parts by themselves. All subjects described the features of the objects, and next, they interpreted them as some kind of inventions restricted by one of eight categories (e.g., furniture). The results showed that the subjects using the externally provided object forms with thinking of reasons or mental rotation, could produce inventions the same as the control group subjects. These subjects also could find attributes related to the purposes and functions of the object forms, and then they used them in creating products. In order for creative inventions, it is important to find the purposes and functions of the preinventive forms by which are both provided and self-generated.
People often lose their way when they are trying to find a particular place. In Japan we call such a person “houkou onchi”. This is a common Japanese expression which means to have no sense of direction. Whether people are “houkou onchi” or not seems to be related to the quality of their cognitive maps, their ability to navigate and the navigation processes they employ. This research aims to reveal what “houkou onchi” is. To investigate this, I have focused on the difference between the navigation processes of people who are good and poor at navigating. The subjects undertook a series of tasks which involved watching video films of routes (taken from a moving car). I have analyzed their learning processes and their navigation simulation performance to understand how they interact with the environment they are moving through, while they are acquiring and using information. I have observed a number of features of houkou onchi. Such people do not interact well with the environment during route learning and navigation. They do not always focus on the relevant information required for navigation when they learn the route. Moreover, they cannot form useful cognitive maps after they have learnt the route, and they cannot effectively use such cognitive maps to navigate in space they have already visited. I have observed various kinds of interaction with the environment, and I will discuss the importance of this interaction to navigation.