Straight Choices : The Psychology of Decision Making book cover
2nd Edition

Straight Choices
The Psychology of Decision Making

ISBN 9781848722835
Published June 11, 2015 by Psychology Press
318 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Should I have this medical treatment or that one?

Is this computer a better buy than that one?

Should I invest in shares or keep my money under the bed?

We all face a perplexing array of decisions every day. Thoroughly revised and updated throughout, the new edition of Straight Choices provides an integrative account of the psychology of decision-making, and shows how psychological research can help us understand our uncertain world.

Straight Choices emphasises the relationship between learning and decision-making, arguing that the best way to understand how and why decisions are made is in the context of the learning and knowledge acquisition which precedes them, and the feedback which follows. The mechanisms of learning and the structure of environments in which decisions are made are carefully examined to explore their impact on our choices. The authors then consider whether we are all constrained to fall prey to cognitive biases, or whether, with sufficient exposure, we can find optimal decision strategies and improve our decision making.

Featuring three completely new chapters, this edition also contains student-friendly overviews and recommended readings in each chapter. It will be of interest to students and researchers in cognitive psychology, behavioral economics, and the decision sciences, as well as anyone interested in the nature of decision making.

Table of Contents

1. Falling off the Straight and Narrow  2. Decision Quality and an Historical Context  3. Stages of Judgment I: Discovering, Acquiring and Combining Information  4. Stages of Judgment II: Feedback Effects and Dynamic Environments  5. Appraising Probability Judgments 6. Judgmental Heuristics and Biases  7. Associative Thinking  8. Analysing Decisions I: A General Framework  9. Analysing Decisions II: Prospect Theory And Preference Reversals 10. Decisions from Experience 11. Decisions Across Time  12. Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn  13. Optimality and Expertise  14. Two Systems of Judgment and Decision Making?  15. Emotional Influences on Decision Making  16. Group Decision Making  17. Applying Psychological Insights to the World Outside the Laboratory  18. Learning to Make Good Decisions. When, How and Why (Not)?

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Ben R. Newell is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, Australia

David Lagnado is Senior Lecturer in Cognitive and Decision Sciences in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College London, UK.

David Shanks is Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences and Professor of Psychology at University College London, UK.


‘This excellent book is a rare combination – an enjoyable read that beginners will like and a serious text that scholars will study’. - Daniel Kahneman, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, USA

‘The perfect introduction to the latest developments in the fascinating field of judgement and decision making, setting classic findings and latest research firmly in the wider context of current thinking in the behavioural and cognitive sciences.’ - Nick Chater, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK

'As a student, trying to find my way, I often wished for an accessible introduction to decision science, from the classics through the reigning paradigms to the cutting edge. Straight Choices is that book. Student or seasoned researcher, the reader will appreciate this fresh, highly readable narrative, which interweaves the psychology of decision-making with insights from cognitive science'. - Ralph Hertwig, Center for Adaptive Rationality, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Germany