text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text
Transcoder Skip top navigation and go to page content
National Science Foundation
People & Society
next page People & Society Home
 
next page More Research Overviews

People’s choices depend upon how alternatives are presented. Most people prefer the first option in the top scenario, the second option in the bottom scenario even though the two versions of the problem are the same, because the people who will be saved in one version are the same people who will not die in the other.
Credit: DaleGlasgow.com

How Do People Make Decisions?
How do individuals and groups make decisions? How do they perceive and risks?

"Make up your mind!" is sometimes said in exasperation. Some people may seem indecisive or inconsistent. They may avoid making decisions as long as possible. The same reluctance to make decisions also happens in organizations or institutions.

On the other hand, some people and groups may be accused of "leaping to conclusions" or making a decision "without considering all the facts." This implies that decisions should be made by collecting and weighing various elements in a rational way.

Just how do people and organizations make decisions? This is a crucial question for individuals and societies. Researchers use scientific approaches and methods -- such as experiments and models of the process -- to improve our understanding of various elements of decision making, such as how people make judgments. Researchers have discovered a great deal about what people consider risky and why they decide to take (or not take) various risks. Studies of public policy and managerial decision-making can provide useful information to policy makers and leaders.

How Do Social Institutions Develop? [Next]