Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Explorations in Bounded Rationality

The Cognitive Psychology of Decision Making and Beyond

Date: 25. - 30. März
Scientific Organizers: Joachim Frohn (Bielefeld) / Werner Güth (Berlin / Bielefeld) / Hartmut Kliemt (Duisburg / Bielefeld) / Reinhard Selten (Königswinter / Bielefeld)

The second workshop of the research group Making Choices, which has been organized by Katrin Borcherding and Adele Diederich, took place at the ZiF in March, 25.-30.2000. The main intention was to better understand the cognitive constraints for decision behavior. The invited speakers came from the US (Jerome Busemeyer & James T. Townsend, Bloomington; Eric Johnson & Elke Weber, New York), England (Alex Kacelnik, Oxford; Stefanie Schmeer, Hatfield), Italy (Massimo Warglien, Venice), Israel (Yaakov Kareev, Jerusalem), Switzerland (Andreas Diekmann, Bern) and Germany (Stefan Schulz-Hardt, Munich).
Game theoretic application were covered by three talks. Eric Johnson pointed out large discrepancies between experimental behavior and normative predictions. He could show that two thirds of this discrepancy is due to limited computational capabilities and one third to considerations of fairness. In the same realm, Massimo Warglien showed that people will not construct a complete model of the game. He showed that there are failures to reason through the complete game structure. In particular he showed that players tend to focus on own actions only and neglect obvious expected actions of other players. The considerations were supplemented by Andreas Diekmann’s talk. Three talks were on decisions involving risk and uncertainty. Alex Kacelnik presented an information processing approach developed from animal and human choice data when probabilistic outcomes are involved. Contrasting his approach with competing normative models of similar decision situations was illuminating. Elke Weber pointed out the relevance of psychophysical regularities and showed that the perception of the riskiness of choice alternatives is affected by outcome magnitude and context in ways that are predictable by well-known psychophysical regularities. Yaakov Kareev approached the problem of misperception of variability. He pointed out that working-memory capacity could be the cause why people perceive many events as excessively correlated. He presented convincing experimental evidence.
Jerome Busemeyer presented and explained decision field theory, a dynamic approach to human decision making. The theory, as demonstrated, provides simple explanations for many paradoxical findings concerning human choice behavior and implies strong testable predictions concerning the moderating effect of time pressure. Decisions take place in a social context and decision research has identified a variety of context variables which strongly influence both the process of arriving at a decision and the resulting decision. Stefanie Schmeer focused on decision makers being accountable to someone else. She presented a model in which accountability creates a conflict between accuracy goals and directional goals and presented some experimental evidence on how decision makers solve this conflict. Stefan Schulz-Hardt critically analyzed two phenomena, biased information seeking and escalating commitment to a losing course of action. Whereas these phenomena are typically seen as sub-optimal, they may have some rational aspects as well. The relevance of categorization for decision making was pointed out by James Townsend. In a cue learning task he showed that stimuli were categorized and that these categories captured all the information used later in arriving at a decision.
Thanks to the speakers the conference was very inspiring for the research group. Some of the speakers will become active members of the research group.

Marlies Ahlert (Halle an der Saale / Bielefeld), Rudolf Ahlswede (Bielefeld), Wulf Albers (Bielefeld), Thomas Augustin (München / Bielefeld), Inci Bayindir (Bielefeld), Katrin Borcherding (Darmstadt / Bielefeld), Jerome R. Busemeyer (Bloomington, IN), Adele Diederich (Oldenburg / Bielefeld), Andreas Diekmann (Bern / Bielefeld), Rainer Hegselmann (Bayreuth / Bielefeld), Steffen Huck (Egham), Erik Klijzing (Bielefeld), Eric J. Johnson (New York, NY), Peter-J. Jost (Vallendar), Alex Kacelnik (Oxford), Yaakov Kareev (Jerusalem / Bielefeld), Manfred Königstein (Berlin / Bielefeld), Judit Kovacs (Debrecen / Bielefeld), Wilhelm Neuefeind (St. Louis, MO / Bielefeld), Axel Ostmann (Karlsruhe / Bielefeld), Robin Pope (Bonn / Bielefeld), Gerd Ronning (Tübingen / Bielefeld), Stefanie Schmeer (Hatfield / Bielefeld), Stefan Schulz-Hardt (München), Wolfgang Spohn (Konstanz / Bielefeld), Reinhard Tietz (Frankfurt am Main / Bielefeld), James T. Townsend (Delmenhorst), Bodo Vogt (Bielefeld), Massimo Warglien (Ann Arbor, MI), Elke U. Weber (New York, NY / Bielefeld), Joachim Weimann (Magdeburg), Frans van Winden (Amsterdam), Enikoe Zala (Debrecen / Bielefeld)

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