A Handbook of Process Tracing Methods for Decision Research: A Critical Review and User’s Guide, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Handbook of Process Tracing Methods for Decision Research

A Critical Review and User’s Guide, 1st Edition

Edited by Michael Schulte-Mecklenbeck, Anton Kuehberger, Rob Ranyard

Psychology Press

272 pages | 36 B/W Illus.

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This handbook provides a critical review and user’s guide to conducting and reporting process tracing studies of decision making. Each chapter covers a specific method that is presented and reviewed by authors who are experts in the method’s application to decision research. The book ultimately illustrates and presents a multi-method approach and is essential reading for graduate students and researchers wishing to undertake such studies on decision making.


"The editors have done a terrific job in bringing together key players who are at the cutting-edge of decision research. From the groundbreaking work with Mouselab, via the innovative use of eye-tracking technology, to the exciting new developments of rTMS, this book provides researchers with indispensable information on an excellent range of tools for seeing ‘inside the minds’ of decision-makers. A comprehensive and invaluable guide for anyone interested in the process of decision making."

-Ben Newell, University of New South Wales, Australia, Author of Straight Choices

"Decision research is in the midst of another cognitive revolution. At last, theories that dare to predict behavior and the processes driving it are replacing 'as-if' models of inference and preference. This terrific book will act as a major catalyst in this revolution. It is a practical and thoughtful source for any researcher who aims to investigate not only what decisions are made but how real human beings make them."

-Ralph Hertwig, Professor of Psychology, University of Basel, Switzerland

"This volume is essential reading for all those conducting research on human judgement and decision making. It sets out the rationale for investigating the mental states underpinning human judgement and choice and reviews a variety of methods for doing this.

There is a dearth of books on research methods for those wishing to conduct research on human judgement and decision making. This book fills part of this gap by providing a very detailed review of methods designed to open up the ‘black box’. The volume is essential reading for new researchers wishing to understand why it is important to investigate the mental states underpinning human decision making and the methods needed to do this; it is also essential reading for experienced researchers wishing to update and extend their current understanding of these methods.

Each chapter is written by leading researchers who have a wealth of experience using and developing the method under review. The authors provide a rationale for using the method, outline its strengths and weaknesses, provide very useful worked examples and case studies, discuss data analysis and end each chapter with very helpful further reading.

Methods reviewed include process tracing using electronic information boards, eye fixations and active information search; verbal protocols; physiological using skin conductance, pupil dilation, and brain imaging; and response latency. There is also some discussion of how and why these methods can be combined.

This is an excellent volume and a key source for those wishing to conduct research on the mental states underpinning human judgement and choice."

- John Maule, Director of the Centre for Decision Research, Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, UK

Table of Contents

A. Kühberger, M. Schulte-Mecklenbeck, R. Ranyard, Windows for Understanding the Mind: Introduction to Handbook of Process Tracing Methods for Decision Research. Part 1. Methods for Tracing Information Acquisition. M. Willemsen, E.J. Johnson, Visiting the Decision Factory: Observing Cognition with MouselabWEB and Other Information Acquisition Methods. J.E. Russo, Eye Fixations as a Process Trace. O. Huber, O.W. Huber, M. Schulte-Mecklenbeck, Determining the Information Participants Need: Methods of Active Information Search. Part 2. Methods for Tracing Information Integration and Evaluation. K.A. Ericsson, J. Moxley, Thinking Aloud Protocols: Concurrent Verbalizations of Thinking During Performance on Tasks Involving Decision Making. R. Ranyard, O. Svenson, Verbal Data and Decision Process Analysis. Part 3. Methods Tracing Physiological, Neurological, and Other Concomitants of Cognitive Processes. W. Gaissmaier, M. Fific, J. Rieskamp, Analyzing Response Times to Understand Decision Processes. B. Figner, R.O. Murphy, Using Skin Conductance in Judgment and Decision Making Research. J.T. Wang, Pupil Dilation and Eye-Tracking. G. Coricelli, E. Rusconi, Probing the Decisional Brain with rTMS and tDCS. J. Payne, V. Venkatraman, Opening the Black Box: Conclusions to Handbook of Process Tracing Methods for Decision Research.

About the Series

The Society for Judgment and Decision Making Series

Life is a series of decisions. We make choices every day, small and large; sometimes we choose wisely and other times we choose foolishly. Understanding how people and organizations make decisions is a first step in helping people and organizations to make better decisions.

The Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) was formed to bring together researchers in a variety of disciplines who study how people and organizations make choices in the face of uncertainty and conflicting goals. SJDM's membership includes researchers in psychology, economics, management, marketing, accounting, medicine, law, public policy, and other disciplines.

The goal of the SJDM book series is two-fold: To provide an outlet for researchers to share their work with others within the field, and to disseminate the latest findings from the field to a broader audience in the service of addressing pressing societal, political, and environmental problems.

A complete list of titles in the SJDM series, which is overseen by the Publications Committee of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, can be found on the Society's website, sjdm.org.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Experimental Psychology