2014: The World Within
The Science of Decision-Making
Questions to Discuss
- How do you make decisions?
- How do you think other people make decisions?
- How do groups make decisions?
- What does economics tell us about decision-making?
- What does psychology tell us about decision-making?
- Are people’s decisions determined by biology?
- How do we define good and bad decisions?
- Why do smart people make mistakes?
- How can decisions be influenced?
- Do different groups of people (men and women, or teenagers and adults, etc.) make decisions differently?
- When should people not be held responsible for the consequences of their decisions?
Heads or Tails: Individual Decision-Making
- Insights from Economics
- Insights from Psychology
- Insights from Neuroscience
- Responses to Risk and Ambiguity
All Together Now: Group Decision-Making
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Collaboration
- Explaining the Tragedy of the Commons
- Majority Rules: the Promise and Peril of Democracy
- Deciding for Someone Else: Surrogate Decision-Making
- The Impact of New Technologies
Introducing Game Theory
- Game theory versus decision theory
- The Keynesian Beauty Contest
- Understanding Nash Equilibrium
Under the Influence: Persuasion and Decision-Making
- Persuasion by People
- Persuasion by Technology
- Structural Persuasion (see “Nudge”)
- Mass Persuasion
Philosophical Responses to Decision-Making
- Consequentialism: Utilitarianism and the Common Good
- Deontology: the Categorical Imperative and the Difference Principle
- Virtue and fairness: Aristotle’s Golden Mean and the Golden Rule
Additional Terms to Learn (Examples)
- Decision Trees | Utility | Knowns and Unknowns |
- Anchoring | Framing | Indifference Curve | Sunk Cost |
- Marginal Cost | Revealed Preference | Opportunity Cost |
- Risk Aversion | Ambiguity Aversion | Evolutionary Psychology
- Shirking | Groupthink | Precautionary Principle | Rationality
Game Theory Scenarios to Explore
- The Prisoner’s Dilemma | Centipede Game | Rendezvous Problem
- Traveler’s Dilemma | Two-Thirds of a Number | Deal or No Deal?
Current Trends in the Study of Decision-Making (Examples)
- “Big Data” | “Moneyball” | “Nudge” | “Blink | “Thinking Fast and Slow”