Theories of Choice and Decision

Psyc 707 Fall 1999, Tues 2:00 - 4:30
In the Electronic Teaching Theater (CSS 1410)

This course surveys the approaches in the psychology of individual decision making and choice behavior. Problems involving decision and choice will be posed in four ways:

In regard to the first question we will explore the mathematics of expected utility theory and game theory. The second question requires the empirical study of behavior and the development of psychological models to predict choice behavior. In the third question we will look at the cognitive shortcuts that help us make decision but also result in the fallibility of human judgment. Finally, in the last question we consider the use of decision analytic techniques, decision support systems, and computers as an interactive decision aid.

The course will be hosted in one of the electronic classrooms (Teaching Theaters) on campus and will make use of the hypermedia/interactive environment provided and the World Wide Web. Class time will be devoted to lecture, discussion, and class projects. Class projects will involve the development of practical applications of theories, the conducting short experiments on human decision making, or the development of decision aiding programs. Course grade will be based on a midterm exam, a final exam, and a paper.

Instructor: Dr. Kent L. Norman
Office: ZP3123F
Phone: 301/405-5924
kent_norman@lap.umd.edu

Prereq: Psyc 602 (However, this can be waived for first year psychology graduate students and for students from other departments.

Texts: Plous, Scott (1993).The psychology of judgment and decision making. New York: McGraw Hill.
Dawes, Robyn, M. (1988). Rational Choice in an Uncertain World New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Birnbaum, M. (in press). Introduction to behavioral research on the Internet

Psyc 707: Theory of Choice and Decision

DateTopicReadingsAssignments
9/7/1999
Introduction to HyperCourseware
HCW
biodesc

Overview of Behavioral Decision Theory

survey
9/14/1999
Models of Decision Making
P_SIII
selfjdm

Cognition and Rationality
D_1
scenario
9/21/1999
Perception, Memory, Context
P_SI
dtree

Temporal Orders
D_2

9/28/1999
How Questions affect Answers
P_SII
framing

Framing Consequences
D_3


Grouping of Alternatives
D_4

10/5/1999
Probability and Risk
P_C12
cproj1

Probability Theory
D_A1

10/12/1999
Heuristics
P_C10
heuristics

Representative Thinking
D_5

10/19/1999
Heuristics and Biases
P_C11


More Heuristics
D_6

10/26/1999
*** Midterm Exam ***


11/2/1999
Anchoring & Adjustment
P_C13
anchoring

Scenario Thinking
D_7

11/9/1999
Perception of Randomness
P_C14


Subjective Expected Utility Theory
D_8
maut
11/16/1999
Correlation and Causation
P_C15


Linear Models
D_10
infoint
11/23/1999
Overconfidence
P_C19
calib

Dominating Strategies
D_9

11/30/1999
Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
P_C20


Giving Up
D_11

12/7/1999
Behavioral Traps
P_C21


Virtues of Uncertainty
D_12

12/14/1999
Looking Back
P_Aft
cproj2
12/16/1999
*** Final Exam *** 8:00 - 10:00