Psychology of Decision Making

Course NamePsychology of Decision Making
Course CodePSY285 / PSY585
DescriptionYou and I make many decisions each day, some of them unconsciously and some with deliberation. We make decisions about how to use our time, what to prioritize, what to do about interpersonal conflicts, and where to go for lunch. We also make decisions with farther-reaching consequences like our next career move, who we want to date, and about the lifestyle we want to pursue. Social scientists study how people make these kinds of decisions and which processes produce the best results, the most happiness, and greatest good. There is much to be gained by examining and applying the science and ancient wisdom of decision-making in our own lives.

This course is an exploration of making every day and long-term decisions through the lens of social science. We will examine why people make the decisions they do and practical, research-based ways to make better decisions personally and professionally. Topics will include cognitive biases in decision making, moral psychology of choice, creative problem-solving, insights from behavioral economics, the role of values/spirituality, leadership ethics, and group decision-making. The overall goals will be both to understand the dynamics involved in making decisions and to construct a framework by which students can make good decisions that can lead to theirs and others’ well-being, success, and greater meaning in work and life.
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course, students should be able to:
– Apply a research-based framework to a longer-term decision the student is currently making;
– Analyze the role of personality and cognitive bias in the choices one makes;
– Practice a process of creative problem-solving to widen one’s options;
– Assist another student in applying the principles of good decision-making to their lives;
– Assess the role of assumptions and framing in a decision-making process;
– Formulate an ethical framework for making character-based decisions;
– Construct a research-based guide for overcoming a chosen psychological barrier to/facilitator of good decision making;
– Diagnose the challenges to group problem solving in an organizational context.
SchoolThe School of Humanities & Social Sciences 
LevelBachelor / Master
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS