Whether choosing what to have for breakfast, whom to marry, who to vote for, or what career to pursuit, our choices are based on judgments and decisions. In this course we will examine the affective, cognitive, and motivational processes involved in human judgment and decision making. When do the psychological processes involved in judgment and decision lead to accurate judgments and optimal decisions, and when do they fail to do so? What role do emotions play in decision making? Can people become better decision makers? We will cover basic concepts and recent findings on the psychology of judgment and decisions making, learn to assess the quality of empirical research in the field of judgment and decision making, and formulate novel hypotheses.



Introduction ·       How We Know What Isn’t So – Chapters 1-2

·       Thinking Fast and Slow – Chapter 1-3



Heuristics and biases ·       Thinking Fast and Slow – Chapters 10-15

·       Gilovich, T., & Savitsky, K. (1996). Like goes with like: The role of representativeness in erroneous and pseudoscientific beliefs. Skeptical Inquirer20, 34-40

·       Deri, S., Davidai, S., & Gilovich, T. Home alone: Why people believe others’ social lives are better than their own.



Confirmation bias and the feature positive effect ·       How We Know What Isn’t So – Chapter 3-5

·       Downs, J. S., & Shafir, E. (1999). Why some are perceived as more confident and more insecure, more reckless and more cautious, more trusting and more suspicious, than others: Enriched and impoverished options in social judgment. Psychonomic bulletin & review6(4), 598-610

·       Kassin, S. M., Goldstein, C. C., & Savitsky, K. (2003). Behavioral confirmation in the interrogation room: On the dangers of presuming guilt. Law and human behavior27(2), 187-203

·       Rosenhan, D. L. (1973). On being sane in insane places. Science179(4070), 250-258

 Recommended further reading:

·       Hearst, E. (1991). Psychology and nothing. American Scientist79(5), 432-443



Overconfidence ·       Thinking Fast and Slow – Chapters 23-34

·       Buehler, R., Griffin, D., & Ross, M. (1994). Exploring the “planning fallacy”: Why people underestimate their task completion times. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology67(3), 366-381.

·       Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology77(6), 1121-1134.

·       Soll, J. B., & Klayman, J. (2004). Overconfidence in interval estimates. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition30(2), 299-314

Recommended further reading:

·       Atir, S., Rosenzweig, E., & Dunning, D. (2015). When knowledge knows no bounds: Self-perceived expertise predicts claims of impossible knowledge. Psychological Science26(8), 1295-1303



Intuition vs. reason ·       Thinking Fast and Slow – Chapters 5, 21

·       Alter, A. L., Oppenheimer, D. M., Epley, N., & Eyre, R. N. (2007). Overcoming intuition: metacognitive difficulty activates analytic reasoning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General136(4), 569-576.

·       Inbar, Y., Cone, J., & Gilovich, T. (2010). People’s intuitions about intuitive insight and intuitive choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology99(2), 232-247.

·       Kahneman, D. & Klein, G. (2009). Conditions for Intuitive Expertise: A failure to disagree. American Psychological Association64(6), 515-526.

·       Simmons, J. P., & Nelson, L. D. (2006). Intuitive confidence: choosing between intuitive and nonintuitive alternatives. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General135(3), 409-428

Recommended further reading:

·       Alter, A. L., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2006). Predicting short-term stock fluctuations by using processing fluency. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences103(24), 9369-9372

·       Hernandez, I., & Preston, J. L. (2013). Disfluency disrupts the confirmation bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(1), 178-182



Counterfactual thinking ·       Kruger, J., Wirtz, D., & Miller, D. T. (2005). Counterfactual thinking and the first instinct fallacy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology88(5), 725-735

·       Medvec, V. H., Madey, S. F., & Gilovich, T. (1995). When less is more: counterfactual thinking and satisfaction among Olympic medalists. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology69(4), 603-610

·       Miller, D. T., & Taylor, B.R. (2002). Counterfactual Thought, Regret, and Superstition: How to Avoid Kicking Yourself. In T. Gilovich, D. Griffin, & D. Kahneman (Eds.). Heuristics and biases: The psychology of intuitive judgment. Cambridge University Press. (Pages 367-378).

·       Zeelenberg, M. (1999). Anticipated regret, expected feedback and behavioral decision making. Journal of behavioral decision making12(2), 93-106

Recommended further reading:

·      Miller, D. T., & McFarland, C. (1986). Counterfactual thinking and victim compensation a test of norm theory. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin12(4), 513-519



Prospect theory ·       Thinking Fast and Slow – Chapters 25-29

·       Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1984). Choices, values, and frames. American psychologist39(4), 341-350.

·       Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H. (1991). Anomalies: The endowment effect, loss aversion, and status quo bias. The journal of economic perspectives5(1), 193-206.

·       Pope, D., & Simonsohn, U. (2011). Round numbers as goals: Evidence from baseball, SAT takers, and the lab. Psychological Science22(1), 71-79

Recommended further reading:

·       Chow, R. M., & Galak, J. (2012). The effect of inequality frames on support for redistributive tax policies. Psychological Science23(12), 1467-1469




Mental accounting ·       Arkes, H. R., & Blumer, C. (1985). The psychology of sunk cost. Organizational behavior and human decision processes35(1), 124-140

·       Arkes, H. R., Joyner, C. A., Pezzo, M. V., Nash, J. G., Siegel-Jacobs, K., & Stone, E. (1994). The psychology of windfall gains. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes59(3), 331-347

·       Fox, C. R., Ratner, R. K., & Lieb, D. S. (2005). How subjective grouping of options influences choice and allocation: Diversification bias and the phenomenon of partition dependence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General134(4), 538-551

·       Shafir, E., & Thaler, R. H. (2006). Invest now, drink later, spend never: On the mental accounting of delayed consumption. Journal of Economic Psychology27(5), 694-712

Recommended further reading:

·       Heath, C., & Soll, J. B. (1996). Mental budgeting and consumer decisions. Journal of Consumer Research23(1), 40-52

Spring Break!


Construction of preferences ·       Ariely, D., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2006). Tom Sawyer and the construction of value. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization60(1), 1-10.

·       Burson, K. A., Larrick, R. P., & Lynch, J. G. (2009). Six of one, half dozen of the other: Expanding and contracting numerical dimensions produces preference reversals. Psychological Science20(9), 1074-1078.

·       Hsee, C. K. (1998). Less is better: When low-value options are valued more highly than high-value options. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making107-121.

·       Sharot, T., Velasquez, C. M., & Dolan, R. J. (2010). Do decisions shape preference? Evidence from blind choice. Psychological Science21(9), 1231-1235

·       Wilson, T. D., & Schooler, J. W. (1991). Thinking too much: introspection can reduce the quality of preferences and decisions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology60(2), 181-192.


Recommended further reading:

·       Dayan, E., & Bar-Hillel, M. (2011). Nudge to nobesity II: Menu positions influence food orders. Judgment and Decision Making6(4), 333-42.



Emotions in judgment and decision-making ·      Hayakawa, S., Costa, A., Foucart, A., & Keysar, B. (2016). Using a Foreign Language Changes Our Choices. Trends in Cognitive Sciences20(11), 791-793.

·       Hsee, C. K., & Rottenstreich, Y. (2004). Music, pandas, and muggers: On the affective psychology of value. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General133(1), 23-30.

·       Levav, J., & McGraw, A. P. (2009). Emotional accounting: How feelings about money influence consumer choice. Journal of Marketing Research46(1), 66-80

·       Small, D. A., Loewenstein, G., & Slovic, P. (2007). Sympathy and callousness: The impact of deliberative thought on donations to identifiable and statistical victims. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes102(2), 143-153


Recommended further reading:

·       Gigerenzer, G. (2004). Dread risk, September 11, and fatal traffic accidents. Psychological Science15(4), 286-287



Empathy gaps in judgment and decision-making ·       Ariely, D., & Loewenstein, G. (2006). The heat of the moment: The effect of sexual arousal on sexual decision-making. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making19(2), 87-98

·       Nordgren, L. F., Van Harreveld, F., & Van der Pligt, J. (2009). The restraint bias: How the illusion of self-restraint promotes impulsive behavior. Psychological Science20(12), 1523-1528

·       Risen, J. L., & Critcher, C. R. (2011). Visceral fit: While in a visceral state, associated states of the world seem more likely. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology100(5), 777-793

·       Van Boven, L., Loewenstein, G., Welch, E., & Dunning, D. (2012). The illusion of courage in self‐predictions: Mispredicting one’s own behavior in embarrassing situations. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making25(1), 1-12


Recommended further reading:

·       Nordgren, L. F., van der Pligt, J., & van Harreveld, F. (2007). Evaluating Eve: Visceral states influence the evaluation of impulsive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology93(1), 75-84.



Risk perceptions ·       DeKay, M. L., Patiño‐Echeverri, D., & Fischbeck, P. S. (2009). Better safe than sorry: Precautionary reasoning and implied dominance in risky decisions. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making22(3), 338-361.

·       Rottenstreich, Y., & Hsee, C. K. (2001). Money, kisses, and electric shocks: On the affective psychology of risk. Psychological Science12(3), 185-190.

·       Slovic, P., Finucane, M. L., Peters, E., & MacGregor, D. G. (2004). Risk as analysis and risk as feelings: Some thoughts about affect, reason, risk, and rationality. Risk analysis24(2), 311-322

·       Song, H., & Schwarz, N. (2009). If it’s difficult to pronounce, it must be risky: Fluency, familiarity, and risk perception. Psychological Science20(2), 135-138.

·       Yamagishi, K. (1997). When a 12.86% mortality is more dangerous than 24.14%: Implications for risk communication. Applied Cognitive Psychology11(6), 495-506


Recommended further reading:

·       Morewedge, C. K., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2005). The least likely of times: How remembering the past biases forecasts of the future. Psychological Science16(8), 626-630.



Magical thinking ·       Converse, B. A., Risen, J. L., & Carter, T. J. (2012). Investing in karma when wanting promotes helping. Psychological Science, 23(8) 923–930

·       Risen, J. L., & Gilovich, T. (2008). Why people are reluctant to tempt fate. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology95(2), 293-307.

·       Rozin, P., Millman, L., & Nemeroff, C. (1986). Operation of the laws of sympathetic magic in disgust and other domains. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology50(4), 703-712.

·       Tykocinski, O. E. (2008). Insurance, risk, and magical thinking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34 (10), 1346-1356


Recommended further reading:

·       Risen, J. L., & Gilovich, T. (2007). Another look at why people are reluctant to exchange lottery tickets. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology93(1), 12-22



Seeking advice ·       How We Know What Isn’t So – Chapter 7

·       Gino, F. (2008). Do we listen to advice just because we paid for it? The impact of advice cost on its use. Organizational behavior and human decision processes107(2), 234-245

·       Helzer, E. G., & Dunning, D. (2012). Why and when peer prediction is superior to self-prediction: the weight given to future aspiration versus past achievement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology103(1), 38-53.

·       Yaniv, I., & Choshen-Hillel, S. (2012). When guessing what another person would say is better than giving your own opinion: Using perspective-taking to improve advice-taking. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(5), 1022-1028


Recommended further reading:

·       Yaniv, I. (2004). The benefit of additional opinions. Current Directions in Psychological Science13(2), 75-78.



Behavioral policies ·       Datta, S., & Mullainathan, S. (2014). Behavioral design: A new approach to development policy. Review of Income and Wealth60(1), 7-35.






























































































































































































































Shai Davidai is Assistant Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research. He received his PhD in Social Psychology at Cornell University. Recent courses taught at The New School include the Psychology of Happiness and Judgment and Decision Making.

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