How Do People Evaluate Risk in Everyday Situations?

Is  Confidence in Decisions Related to Feedback? Evidence-and Lack of Evidence-from Random Samples of Real-World Managerial Behavior? (Click Here For Paper)

Abstract (Via Pompeu)

Confidence in decision making is an important dimension of managerial behavior. However, what is the relation between confidence, on the one hand, and the fact of receiving or expecting to receive feedback on decisions taken, on the other hand? To explore this and related issues in the context of everyday decision making, use was made of the ESM (Experience Sampling Method) to sample decisions taken by undergraduates and business executives. For several days, participants received 4 or 5 SMS messages daily (on their mobile telephones) at random moments at which point they completed brief questionnaires about their current decision making activities. Issues considered here include differences between the types of decisions faced by the two groups, their structure, feedback (received and expected), and confidence in decisions taken as well as in the validity of feedback. No relation was found between confidence in decisions and whether participants received or expected to receive feedback on those decisions. In addition, although participants are clearly aware that feedback can provide both “confirming” and “disconfirming” evidence, their ability to specify appropriate feedback is imperfect. Finally, difficulties experienced in using the ESM are discussed as are possibilities for further research using this methodology.

What risks do people perceive in everyday life? A perspective gained from the experience sampling method (ESM) (Click Here For The Paper)

Abstract (Via Pompeu)

The experiential sampling method (ESM) was used to collect data from 74 parttime students who described and assessed the risks involved in their current activities when interrupted at random moments by text messages. The major categories of perceived risk were short-term in nature and involved “loss of time or materials” related to work and “physical damage” (e.g., from transportation). Using techniques of multilevel analysis, we demonstrate effects of gender, emotional state, and types of risk on assessments of risk. Specifically, females do not differ from males in assessing the potential severity of risks but they see these as more likely to occur. Also, participants assessed risks to be lower when in more positive self-reported emotional states. We further demonstrate the potential of ESM by showing that risk assessments associated with current actions exceed those made retrospectively. We conclude by noting advantages and disadvantages of ESM for collecting data about risk perceptions.

Regions of rationality: Maps for bounded agents (Click Here For The Paper )

Abstract (Via Pompeu)

An important problem in descriptive and prescriptive research in decision making is to identify “regions of rationality,” i.e., the areas for which heuristics are and are not effective. To map the contours of such regions, we derive probabilities that heuristics identify the best of m alternatives (m > 2) characterized by k attributes or cues (k > 1). The heuristics include a single variable (lexicographic), variations of elimination-by-aspects, equal weighting, hybrids of the preceding, and models exploiting dominance. We use twenty simulated and four empirical datasets for illustration. We further provide an overview by regressing heuristic performance on factors characterizing environments. Overall, “sensible” heuristics generally yield similar choices in many environments. However, selection of the appropriate heuristic can be important in some regions (e.g., if there is low inter-correlation among attributes/cues). Since our work assumes a “hit or miss” decision criterion, we conclude by outlining extensions for exploring the effects of different loss functions.

On heuristic and linear models of judgment: Mapping the demand for knowledge (Click Here For The Paper)

Abstract (Via Pompeu)

Research on judgment and decision making presents a confusing picture of human abilities. For example, much research has emphasized the dysfunctional aspects of judgmental heuristics, and yet, other findings suggest that these can be highly effective. A further line of research has modeled judgment as resulting from “as if” linear models. This paper illuminates the distinctions in these approaches by providing a common analytical framework based on the central theoretical premise that understanding human performance requires specifying how characteristics of the decision rules people use interact with the demands of the tasks they face. Our work synthesizes the analytical tools of “lens model” research with novel methodology developed to specify the effectiveness of heuristics in different environments and allows direct comparisons between the different approaches. We illustrate with both theoretical analyses and simulations. We further link our results to the empirical literature by a meta-analysis of lens model studies and estimate both human and heuristic performance in the same tasks. Our results highlight the trade-off between linear models and heuristics. Whereas the former are cognitively demanding, the latter are simple to use. However, they require knowledge – and thus “maps” – of when and which heuristic to employ.

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25. November 2009 by Miguel Barbosa
Categories: Curated Readings, Psychology & Sociology | Leave a comment

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