Psychology 458: Judgment & Decision Making

Spring 1999

Dr. Sara Hodges
Straub Hall 331, Phone: 346-4919
Office Hours: Wed 1:30-3:30, or by appointment
email address:
Sherrie Brunell-Neuleib
Straub Hall 339, Phone: 346-1997
Office Hours: Mon 12-2, or by appointment
email address:  



NEW! The web address for the last reading in this class has CHANGED: The new address is

See the guide to peer editing under "Useful links"

The Kahneman, Knetsch, & Thaler article is optional for 5/10
The Moorehead, Ference, & Neck artcle is optional for 5/14
The Paulos article is optional for 5/17

5/4/99 - You may have until MONDAY, 5/10, to turn in your paper outlines. Drafts of the paper will be due Monday, 5/17. Readers/editors will return the papers to the writers by Friday, 5/21. Final versions of the paper will be due 5/26.

5/2/99 - Here are the answers to the assignments due Monday:
Decision Models and Bayes' Theorem

5/2/99 - Sample paper outline (outline is due 5/10/99)

5 references for paper due 4/23 click here for assignment

4/4/99 - Two upcoming readings have been made OPTIONAL: For 4/7, the Tversky & Kahneman (1974) paper and for 4/14, the Wilson et al. (1993) paper.

4/1/99 - Want to see a sample journal entry? Click here to read about someone who found an example of how expectations influenced his perceptions.

4/31/99 - The bookstore is temporarily out of the textbook (Plous) for the class. However, because it is THEIR FAULT, they will provide you with a photocopy of the first few chapters of the book for free. These copies will be probably be available starting 4/1/99, but I would call to check to be sure. Add'l copies of the text will probably arrive in a week or so.

There is also a copy of the book on reserve in the library.

Questions about the Readings and Notes from Lectures

Class 1 Notes
Class 2 Questions Notes
Class 3 Questions Notes
Class 4 Questions Notes
Class 5 Questions Notes
(Class 6 was a quiz and group meetings)
Class 7 (Guest Lecturer - Patty Bruininks) Questions Notes
Class 8 Questions Notes
Class 9 Questions (student presentation)
Class 10 Questions (student presentation)
Class 11 Questions (student presentation)
(Class 12 was a quiz and group meetings)
Class 13 Questions Notes(student presentation)
Class 14 Questions Notes
Class 15 Questions Notes
Class 16 Questions Notes (student presentation)
Class 17 Questions Notes (student presentation)
(Class 18 is a quiz)
Class 19 Questions Notes(student presentation)
Class 20 Questions Notes (student presentation)
Class 21 Questions Notes
Class 22 Questions Notes and more notes (student presentation)
Class 23 Questions Notes
Class 24 is a quiz and discussion of student papers
Class 25 Questions Notes student presentation
Class 26 Questions Notes
Class 27 Questions Notes
No class on Memorial Day! :-)
Class 28 Questions

Groups for presentations

Worksheets distributed in class

Decision Models (distributed 4/28, due 5/3)
Bayes' Theorem (distributed 4/30, due 5/3)


Final Grades
Quiz 1
Quiz 2 NOTE: Add 4 points to your quiz 2 grade to get the curved score
Quiz 3
Quiz 4
Journal grades so far (5/24/99)

Useful Links
Writing Hints - a list of common problems in writing psychology papers
Reading Hints - how to read the reading packet articles
Editing Hints - a guide to peer editing papers
UO Psych Dept Homepage
Academic Learning Services
Peer Library Advisors
Society for Judgment and Decision Making
American Psychological Society
American Psychological Association

Grad student paper assignment


This course examines the psychology of human decision making and judgment. How do we make judgments? What influences our choices? We will cover basic models and strategies of decision making and look at applications of these models in a variety of fields, including consumer choice, medicine, law, and public opinion. We will try to integrate the study of judgment and decision-making with its psychological Aneighbors,@ social and cognitive psychology. Although a pronouncement of human decision making abilities as either Agood@ or Abad@ is sort of pointless, we will touch on relative strengths and weaknesses and compare human judgment to various ideals and standards. In addition, we will look at possible ways that performance may be improved.

By the end of the course, you should have a good understanding of some of the major topics of study and how research in this field is conducted. The content of the course is research based, meaning that the information taught is mostly derived from empirical research in the fields of judgment and decision making and cognitive and social psychology. Thus, you will not only study theories of judgment and decision making, but also study experiments and observations that have been carried out to test and demonstrate these theories. The readings in the reading packet are mostly Aprimary sources@ -- that is to say, reprints of original journal articles. For this reason, Psychology 302 and 303 (Statistical Methods and Research Methods), or their equivalents, are required as prerequisites for this course.

In order to consolidate and reinforce your understanding of the topics in this course, you will be encouraged to look for examples of topics covered in class in the world around you. Take note of your own judgment and decision making and that of other people throughout the term.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please make arrangements to meet with me soon. Please request that the Counselor for Students with Disabilities send a letter verifying your disability.


1) Course readings: The required readings for this course are The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making by Scott Plous and the course reading packet (available at the bookstore). A few required readings are on reserve at the Knight Library and not in the packet (check the schedule to see which). Reading assignments should be completed before lecture on the day they are listed on the syllabus. Some information in the reading will not be covered in class. Thus, you must do the reading to cover the full subject matter. Allow yourself ample time for doing ALL the readings in this class. Plous=s book is written clearly and in an engaging style. The readings in the reading packet are mostly journal articles. You may find that they are harder to digest. If you are having troubles reading the articles, you should read the Ellyson and Halberstadt article on reserve at the Knight Library.

2) Class participation and attendance: You are expected to attend class. Some topics not found in the reading will be covered in lecture. In addition, there will some in-class activities in which you will be expected to participate. Furthermore, your contributions to the class are a potentially valuable resource to the other class members. I don=t plan on taking attendance regularly, but I may do so periodically, and absences will count against your participation grade.

I strongly recommend planning to attend EVERY class. If you miss a quiz or an in-class assignment, you cannot make it up. If you miss more than two classes, I will not use office hours to go over what you missed. (I reserve the right to grant exceptions to the two previous statements under dire circumstances, but don=t count on being an exception.) If you know you must miss a class, I would appreciate you telling me in advance.

I hope to foster a class environment in which you will feel comfortable speaking up in class, but I realize that it=s hard to speak up with 60+ other students. You may feel more comfortable making your comments over e-mail, or writing them down and giving them to me, or speaking with me or the GTF.

Your attendance at the scheduled exam period (10:15, Monday, June 7) is mandatory. If you do not attend, you will fail the course.

3) E-mail communication: If you don=t already have an e-mail account, please get one, as there may be additional class information that I will distribute via e-mail. In general, I will not use e-mail to discuss things that have not been previously introduced or announced in class. Thus, I may use e-mail to remind you of an assignment that is already on the syllabus or was announced in class, or I may use e-mail to answer a question that someone asked after class. If something is announced first on e-mail, it is almost definite that you will have been told in class that such an announcement is impending and that you should check your e-mail for it, or it will be an announcement that would have been impossible to make in class (for example, if class has to be unexpectedly canceled). The idea is that e-mail will ADD to the amount of instruction you get in this course, rather than REPLACE any traditional instruction.

If you need help getting an account, go to the University Computing Center. Once you have your account, or if you already have one, send an E-mail message to me ( so I will know you are on-line. (The content of the message is up to you--you can just say hi, or tell me about a particular interest or reason you are taking Psych 458 or something else about you, or even just send a blank message).This is your first class assignment and it is due no later than April 5. If you are having trouble with it, please let me or the GTF know. You will also be using e-mail as a means of communicating your Adecision making diary@ to your study group and you are encouraged to use it to help in preparing your group presentation (both described below). As soon as you have your group, exchange e-mail addresses with them.

If you send me e-mail questions about the class, I will try to answer them as soon as I can; however, if they are long or complicated, it is possible (but unlikely) that you will have to wait until my next office hours for an answer.

4) Term paper: You will write one term paper (6-20 pages of text) for this class. Although you may petition to do otherwise, you are encouraged to write your paper on some topic related to your group project. The purpose for this encouragement is twofold: Your additional research for your paper will enrich the group presentation, and working on the same topic for two assignments will deepen your understanding of your topic.

At various points during the course, there will be opportunities for you to receive feedback about your paper from your group members and to give them feedback about their papers. These activities are required. More information about the paper itself and these assignments will be distributed in class.

All papers in this class will be typed in a readable font, double-spaced, left justified only, and with margins of one inch at the top, bottom, left side and right side (these are all consistent with the APA style). Use the APA Publication Manual (4th edition) style for reference citations. A reference copy of the manual is available in the Knight Library. If you foresee problems meeting these qualifications, please discuss them with me.

Your final draft of your term paper is due at the beginning of class on Monday, May 24, 1999. Papers turned in after the start of class are half a day late, with a 5% penalty, up until 4:30 pm of the due date; papers turned in after 4:30 are 1 day late with a 10% penalty. Each subsequent day rolls over at 4:30 pm, with an additional 10% penalty. Do not plan to skip class to finish your paper--your paper will be penalized anyway, and you will miss class and get behind.

5) Quizzes/Final Exam: There will be 5 quizzes during the quarter and a final exam during exam week. The quizzes will take approximately 20 minutes (probably 10 short answer questions). Your lowest quiz grade will be dropped. If you plan to drop the last quiz, you don=t have to take it, but please come to class anyway. Quizzes are designed primarily to make you keep up with the reading and pay attention in class, but questions may test your ability to apply concepts in addition to the ability to define or identify them. Quizzes will cover class material and reading since the last quiz (i.e., they are not cumulative, although later concepts that build on earlier ones are fair game). The final exam is cumulative.

6) ADecision journal@: Each week, you are required to make an entry in your Adecision journal.@ These entries can be as short as a paragraph or two. They can be longer too, but should not ramble. In addition to sending these entries to the instructors, you will share these entries with other members of your group. These entries can address a variety of topics:

a. Describe a decision you made, or observed someone else make. Why was it hard? Was it a good decision? Why or why not?

b. Describe a research idea for a judgment or decision making study.

c. Provide an example of something discussed in class (e.g., a heuristic), either from your life, someone else=s life or the media (e.g., the movies, news, or a song).

d. Suggest a way of improving an institution, policy, or aspect of life, based upon what you have learned in this class.

e. Comment on a report of judgment and decision making research (either in a journal, book, or news report)

f. Report other thoughts that you have that are related to the subject matter of the class.

Entries are to be sent to AND to your group members by 5 pm each Friday. Please note the address above is NOT my regular E-mail address and should be used for journal entries only. You MUST put AJDMJE@ (for Judgment and Decision Making journal entry), the date, and your first initial and last name in the Aheader@ of the E-mail. You get two weeks Aoff@ from submitting entries (your choice which weeks). If you write something every week, it is conceivable (but not assured) that extra entries may count towards extra credit.

7) Group Presentation - You will be assigned a group, based upon your interest in presentation topics. Each group (of approximately 5 - 8 people) will be responsible for preparing a class long (50 minutes) presentation. This presentation should cover the readings assigned for that day, but MUST also go beyond the readings, by presenting additional research on that topic, with a demonstration or learning activity, with an application of the topic, or some combination of these. Your grade will be based mostly on the quality of the presentation (same for everyone in the group), but also on your group=s ratings of your contributions to the presentation. It is highly recommended that your group consult with the instructor or the GTF before your presentation.



5 quizzes, dropping the lowest one, leaving 4 quizzes @ 30 points each = 120 points

Term paper = 100 points

Editing points = 10 points

Decision journals - 8 entries@5 points each = 40 points

Group presentation = 75 points

(60 points for presentation, 15 points for group grade)

Final exam = 80 points

Class participation, attendance, and in-class activities = 25 points

There are a total of 450 points. Final grades will be curved upwards if I think it is necessary at the end of the quarter.


Readings note: Readings are to be completed BY the day they are listed. The schedule listed here will be adhered to as closely as possible, but is subject to change. Should changes occur, you will be notified.

APlous@ = Plous, S. (1993). The psychology of judgment and decision making. New York: McGraw-Hill.

ARP@ = Course reading packet. Please note the articles in the reading packet are in alphabetical order by author, not in the order we will read them. Some readings are not in the reading packet; they can be found on reserve at the Knight Library.

Mon Mar 29 Introductory class no reading
Wed Mar 31 Selective Perception and Interpretation Read the syllabus!
Plous 1 & 2
Optional: Ellyson & Halberstadt AOn Reading the Research Literature@ (on reserve, Knight Library)
Fri Apr 2 Memory, Hindsight, & Context Plous 3 & 4
Mon Apr 5 Believing and Explaining RP: Gilbert, D. (1991). How mental systems believe. American Psychologist, 46, 107-119.

RP: Ross, L., Lepper, M. R., Strack, R. & Steinmetz, J. (1977). Social explanation and social expectation: Effects of real and hypothetical explanations on subjective likelihood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 817-829.

**Last day to send first email to your instructor!**

Wed Apr 7 Heuristics Plous 10 & 11

RP: OPTIONAL: Tversky, A. & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science, 185, 1124-1131.

Fri Apr 9 Quiz 1; Group planning meetings
Mon Apr 12 Framing Plous 5& 6

Wed Apr 14 Reasons for judgments

RP: Shafir, E., Simonson, I., & Tversky, A. (1993). Reason-based choice. Cognition, 49, 11-36.

RP: OPTIONAL: Wilson, T. D., Lisle, D. J., Schooler, J. W., Hodges, S. D., Klaaren, K. J. & LaFleur, S. J. (1993). Introspecting about reasons can reduce post-choice satisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 331-339.

Fri Apr 16 Group Presentation: Medical decisions RP: Arkes, H. R., Faust, D., Guilmette, T. J., Hart, K. (1988). Eliminating the hindsight bias. Journal of Applied Psychology, 73, 305-307.

Dawes, R. M. (1994). Prediction and diagnosis: More myths of expertise. In House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy built on myth (pp. 75-105). New York: Free Press. [NOT IN READER]

Mon Apr 19 Group Presentation: Political decisions RP: Greenwald, A. G., Carnot, C. G., Beach, R., & Young, B. (1987). Increasing voting behavior by asking people if they expect to vote. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72, 315-318.

RP: Houston, D. A., Doan, K. A., & Roskos-Ewoldsen, D. (in press). Negative political advertising and choice conflict. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

Wed Apr 21 Group Presentation: Relative comparisons RP: Hsee, C. K. (1996). The evaluability hypothesis: An explanation for preference reversals between joint and separate evaluations of alternatives. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 67, 247-257.

RP: Hodges, S. D. (1997). When matching up features messes up decisions: The role of feature matching in successive choices. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 1310-1321.

Fri Apr 23 Quiz 2; Discuss paper topics with group, list of 5 references due
Mon Apr 26 Group Presentation: Putting a price on the environment RP: Diamond, P. A., & Hausman, J. A. (1993). On contingent valuation measurement of nonuse values. In J. A. Hausman (Ed.), Contingent valuation: A critical assessment (pp. 3-38). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

RP: Sherman, S. J., Ahlm, K., Berman, L. & Lynn, S. J. (1978). Contrast effects and their relationship to subsequent behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 14, 340-350.

Wed Apr 28 Decision making models Plous 7 - 9

Fri Apr 30 Heuristics II Plous 12-15
Mon May 3 Group Presentation: Assessing risk RP: Slovic, P. (1987). Perception of risk. Science, 236, 280-285.

RP: Flynn, J., Slovic, P., & Mertz, C. K. (1994). Gender, race, and perception of environmental health risks. Risk Analysis, 14, 1101-1108.

Wed May 5 Group Presentation: The role of emotion in judgment RP: Klaaren, K. J., Hodges, S. D. & Wilson, T. D. (1994). The role of affective expectations in subjective experience and decision-making. Social Cognition, 12, 77-101.

RP: Bechera, A., Damasio, H., Tranel, D., & Damasio, A. R. (1997). Deciding advantageously before knowing the advantageous strategy. Science, 275, 1293-1295.

RP: Kahneman, D., Fredrickson, B., Schreiber, C. A., & Redelmeier, D. A. (1993). When more pain is preferred to less: Adding a better end. Psychological Science, 4, 401-405.

Fri May 7 Quiz 3; Paper outlines due, paper trouble shooting
Mon May 10 Group Presentation: Loss and regret RP: Medvec, V. H., Madey, S. F., & Gilovich, T. (1995). When less is more: Counterfactual thinking and satisfaction among Olympic medalists. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 603-610.

[OPTIONAL] RP: Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H. (1991). The endowment effect, loss aversion and status quo bias. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5, 193-206.

Wed May 12 Group Presentation: Sexual decisions RP: Hodges, S. D., Klaaren, K. J., & Wheatley, T. P. (in press). Talking about safe sex: The role of expectations and experience.u>

RP: Loewenstein, G., Nagin, D., & Paternoster, R. (1997). The effect of sexual arousal on expectations of sexual forcefulness. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 34, 443-473.

Fri May 14 Group decision making Plous 17 & 18

[OPTIONAL] RP: Moorhead, G., Ference, R., & Neck, C. P. (1994). Group decision fiascoes continue: Space Shuttle Challenger and a revised groupthink framework. In E. Krupat (Ed.), Psychology is social: Readings and conversations in social psychology (pp. 185-195). New York: Harper Collins.

Mon May 17 Group Presentation: Legal decisions RP: Hastie, R., Penrod, S. D., & Pennington, N. (1983). The psychology of juror and jury decision making. In Inside the Jury (pp. 15-36). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

[OPTIONAL] RP: Paulos, J. A. (1995). DNA fingers murderer. In A mathematician reads the newspaper (pp. 72-73). New York: Harper Collins.

** Draft of term paper due**

Wed May 19 Traps

Plous 19 - 21

**Return paper drafts to writers today or Friday**

Fri May 21 Quiz 4; Paper reports

**Last day to return paper drafts to writers**

Mon May 24 Group Presentation: Improving human judgment RP: Lord, C. G., Lepper, M. R. & Preston, E. (1984). Considering the opposite: A corrective strategy for social judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1231-1243.

RP: Nisbett, R.E., Fong, G. T., Lehmen, D. R., & Cheng, P. W. (1987). Teaching reasoning. Science, 238, 625-631.

Wed May 26 Rethinking judgments of human judgment (I) Plous AAfterward@

RP: Buss, D. M. (1999). Evolutionary cognitive psychology. In Evolutionary psychology: The new science of the mind (pp. 374-382). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

**Final draft of term paper due**

Fri May 28 Rethinking judgments of human judgment (II) RP: Lopes, L. L. (1991). The rhetoric of irrationality. Theory and Psychology, 1, 65-82.

Mon May 31 NO CLASS - Memorial Day Holiday
Wed June 2 Decision making on Mt. Everest

Website reading: (Into Thin Air - article from Outside Magazine)

Fri June 4 Quiz 5, Wrap-up


Final Exam: Monday, June 7, 10:15.


Group A - Medical Decisions
Adam Tang
Christina McClory
Chris Golec
Lisa Head
Tabitha Croy
Cindy Achord
Mo Morrision
Group B - Political Decisions

Jeremy Corey
Nicole McElhany
Hadley Morotti
Jennifer Orengo
Abby Friedrich
Aaron Glasgow
Group C - Relative Comparisons

Sakiko Endo
Nicole Stevens
Barbara Dean
Ashley Collins
Lindsey Wilson
Michael Bergland
Group D - Putting a price on the environment
Kevin Sharp-Smith
Chris Wolter
Missy Koke
Kim Bell
Nicole Chan
Erin Leuallen
Kristen Puderbaugh
Group E - Assessing Risk
Cole Miller
Melanie Ayres
Zac Schneider
Eric Morey
Tina Tompkins
Ramie Lundy
Josh McHugh
Group F- Emotion in Judgment
Shannon Allen
Michelle Sutherland
Jill Heffner
Kirsten Schmieding
Kathryn DePorter
Jessie Burch
Heidi Stoker
Group G- Loss & Regret
Ingrid Perdew
Davina Ormsby
Kathryn Serra
Jennifer Conley
Alexis Rund
Jennifer Greenberg
Weston Potter
Group H- Sexual Decision Making
Jennifer Hoenigsberg
Marisa Berninghausen
Kent Herfindal
Andrew Johnson
Laura Befeler
Katie Mann
Andrea Wulf
Group I- Legal Decision Making
Kenny Kennedy
Aaron Rauschert
Ryan Rees
Kate Rowe
Monica Toma
Reilly Dunn

Group J - Improving Human Judgment
Lindel Evers
Chikako Sako
Quinton M
Makiko Matsumoto
Natalie Ballard
Sara Blakely
Jeff Harris