Psychology 707
Theory of Decision and Choice
Fall, 2001

1128 Biology/Psychology
Monday, 9-11:45 NOTE TIME CHANGE
Dr. Thomas S. Wallsten
1145A Biology/Psychology Building
Office hours: 3:30-4:30 TuTh

This course is designed to introduce students to the expanding area of behavioral judgment and decision theory (BJDT). We will approach the topic initially from an historical perspective, then turn to the formal underpinnings of research in this area, and finally consider the experimental work as it relates to the models and theories in the area. BJDT research has its roots in economics and is closely tied to issues in psychological measurement. At the same time, some of the most exciting recent developments stem from considerations of cognition and human information processing limitations.

If time permits, this survey will conclude with some consideration of the applied part of the field, which is generally called decision analysis or risk analysis. Examples will be drawn from applications in areas such as medical or legal decision-making, pollution control, nuclear power plant siting, or others, depending on the interests of the students in the class. Regardless of the example selected, we will consider the role of human judgment in attempting to make the best possible inference, prediction, diagnosis, or decision.

The prerequisite for the course is PSYC602 and permission of the instructor. Although we will consider formal models in the course, I will not expect students to have mathematical training beyond that needed for PSYC602. I will be happy to provide additional readings and discussion for students with stronger mathematical backgrounds.

The format of the class will be both lecture and discussion. Discussion will be encouraged by requiring students to argue for assigned positions on a topic (even if their actual positions is different). There will be a midterm and a final exam. Questions will be handed out a week, or so, ahead of time. Those appearing on the exam will be drawn from that set.


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