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Decision Making: Theory and Practice


Admission requirements

Master students specialisation Applied Cognitive Psychology and other Master students in Psychology


Will it rain tomorrow? Shall I buy a travel insurance? Is this person guilty? And should I worry about this medical test outcome? We all face a perplexing array of judgments and decisions every day. In this course, we review the main theories in judgment and decision making, and we consider applications in both every day and professional decision problems.

Course objectives

Specialised knowledge about psychological theories of judgment and decision making, and reflection on possibilities and limitations of applying this knowledge in various practical domains.


Decision Making: Theory and Practice (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures (including guest lectures from professional decision making experts). The student will have specialized knowledge about formal and psychological theories of Decision Making, and how these theories apply in various domains: e.g., the fields of medical, political, and legal decision making.

  • Workgroup sessions. The student learns to design, carry out and report the results of a paper and pencil experiment, in a research team with three (on average) other students. The experiment tests either a basic effect (e.g. anchoring, preference reversals) in decision making or an application to the field of the team’s choice (e.g. consumer behaviour).

Assessment method

  • Exam; multiple choice and essay questions about the book

  • Report of results in a mini-poster of an experiment carried out in research team

  • Oral Presentation of research proposal

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

  • Newell, B.R., Lagnado, D.A., and Shanks, D.R. (2007). Straight Choices. The psychology of decision making. Psychology Press.

  • Further reading to be selected by research teams


Course enrolment

Students need to enrol for the course via uSis on the master’s introduction and course enrolment day that takes place at the start of each semester. Please, consult the master’s agenda Psychology.

Exam registration

Students must register for each examination. Students, who haven’t registered, cannot participate in an exam

Contact information

Dr. F. Poletiek
Room 2-B24
Tel.: 071-5273641