Judgment and Decision Making as a Skill

Recent publication from our member Mandeep Dhami

This book presents a comprehensive review of emerging theories and research on the dynamic nature of human judgment and decision making (JDM). Leading researchers in the fields of JDM, cognitive development, human learning and neuroscience discuss short-term and long-term changes in JDM skills.

The authors consider how such skills increase and decline on a developmental scale in children, adolescents and the elderly; how they may be learned; and how JDM skills can be improved and aided. In addition, beyond these behavioral approaches to understanding JDM as a skill, the book provides fascinating new insights from recent evolutionary and neuropsychological approaches.

The authors identify opportunities for future research on the acquisition and changing nature of JDM. In a concluding chapter, eminent past presidents of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making provide personal reflections and perspectives on the notion of JDM as a dynamic skill.

Dhami, M. K., Schlottmann, A., & Waldmann, M. (2011). Judgment and Decision Making as a Skill. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Review of Perspectives on Thinking, Judging, and Decision Making

Perspectives on Thinking, Judging, and Decision Making is a collection of cutting edge research that offers an approachable and up to date landscape of the judgment and decision making area.

The book is great: Read it! … Not convinced yet? Well, here’s more: 

This Festschrift is a great source of knowledge and inspiration for anyone interested in the way we think, judge, reason and make decisions. We would not expect less of a tribute to Karl-Halvor Teigen, who blazed many trails in the social-cognitive sciences and whose scientific and human contribution stimulates much current research.

At first the book may appear as a collection of (very interesting) papers that presents innovative theoretical or empirical findings at both a basic and an applied level (e.g., chap. 12 looks at the determinant of stock market anomalies). But the book is more than a collection of (very good) chapters. The chapters share a vision of human cognition and an objective.

The chapters approach human cognition as an enigma, wondering for example, “how do we think?” and “how could we think better?” The questions examined stem from surprising details, peculiar phenomena and pitfalls of reality observed in our lives. All these questions arise from daily life and have thus pervasive implications. This bottom-up approach is the backbone of the book. This approach prompts us – researchers, researchers-to-be or simply inquisitive minds – to be inspired by what surrounds us and to root our reflections about people and their mental processes in people’s own (subjective) reality. The bottom-up approach helps to question pre-established views and encourages research creativity and, in doing so, provides a refreshing perspective on the challenges emerging in thinking, judgment and decision making sciences.

Of course, the book does not only raise questions; international experts provide insightful answers. Drawn from various disciplines, the authors tackle human cognition from different angles and provide the reader with varying views, methods and reflections. Perspectives on thinking, judging, and decision making examines different factors that contribute to enhance or hinder human cognition; such as when and where information is provided, to what is it compared, and who is around us. The multiplicity of constructs under focus and the use of various lenses contribute to a meaningful picture of the marvels and snares of human cognition. The book shows that our judgments and decisions are often based on irrelevant cues, are occasionally normative, but above all, are always fascinating.

The book testifies to the excellent research that is conducted in judgment and decision making and to the concerns of this field for progress in knowledge and lives. Some chapters offer valuable theoretical developments (e.g., chap. 1 develops a Taxonomy of uncertainty) whereas others provide new insights on past findings and enable us to rediscover previous work in a new light (e.g., chap. 21 walks us back to the work of Descartes on (un)conscious and emotion). The book also includes chapters that help us to re-think the role of accepted findings (e.g., chap. 9 revisits the role of intuition in conjunction fallacy) and to integrate new findings from one field into a known framework from another (e.g., chap. 22 integrates findings on ethnics bias in the dual system framework).

Beyond being a source of academic knowledge, this book is also highly entertaining. Personally, what contributed most to my reading experience, and what makes the book essentially different from other books on JDM, is the inclusion of many comic anecdotes and fond moments that the authors shared with Karl-Halvor. The book testifies to the fun and friendship fostered during scientists’ careers. I take the occasion of this review to thank the editors for their efforts, time and commitment putting this book together, it was really worth it!

Perspectives on Thinking, Judging, and Decision making makes a great contribution to advancing our understanding of how we think, judge and decide and of the factors that can help us do better. The book is an excellent resource for researchers and an appealing introduction to the field for beginners.

Marie Juanchich

EADM JDM Summer School 2012

The Psychology Department at the University of Essex, in association with the European Association of Decision Making, played host to the first Judgment and Decision Making Summer School at the end of August 2012. Current, and recently completed, PhD students from across Europe, researching any area in judgment and decision making, attended an 8 day programme put together by Dr Tim Rakow. The guest lecturers who attended were Dr. Glöckner (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods), Prof. Neil Stewart (University of Warwick) and Dr. Mandeep Dhami (University of Surrey).

The program offered an eclectic view on the field of judgment and decision making, including methodological advances using eye-tracking devices, modelling of risky choice, introduction to Bayesian hypotheses testing, as well as real world applications in the legal and criminal fields. In addition to the lectures, the summer school also had practical workshops in order to give attendees a ‘hands-on’ experience with new equipment and software.

The computer workshops offered an introduction to Bayesian analysis and model fitting using R and Matlab. Other workshops included a tutorial on setting up experiments and analysing eye-tracking data, as well as interactive workshop devoted to the critical review of the guidelines currently employed in the UK’s criminal justice system. The lecturers organised several sessions to discuss issues affecting new researchers such as the challenges associated with the peer-review process and carrying out research in an applied setting.

The entire course was also complemented by excellent keynote speakers including Prof. Peter Ayton (City University London), Prof. Nigel Harvey (University College London), Dr. Mitch Callan (University of Essex), Dr. William Matthews (University of Essex) and Dr. Nick Sevdalis (Imperial College London), who delivered inspiring talks about their research.

The summer school provided an excellent opportunity for new researchers to interact and get to know others who share similar interests in judgment and decision making through a medium of poster presentations, shared meals and exciting social events (including a trip to the Paralympics). We are confident that such an experience aided the generation of new exciting research ideas, as well as the prospects of new collaborations.