Skip to content
University of Oregon

Decision Making Focus Group

The Decision Making Focus Group meets every other week for discussions about published articles of interest to decision making researchers (which will be distributed in advance), or projects in progress that are related to judgment and decision making, broadly defined.

**This year Troy Campbell, new professor in Marketing, will lead the Decision Making Focus Group.  Welcome Troy!**

Please send Troy Campbell ( an email if you would like to be added to the email list announcing meetings and topics. Reminder: all focus group members shall be general members of the ICDS. Membership in the ICDS is available to interested faculty, students, and community members. For consideration, send a brief letter of request and a curriculum vita via email, or by post.

Upcoming meetings…

Wednesday May 25, 2016 at Noon in Straub 401

It’s that time of quarter again. It is time for the . . .

“The Useful Adjacents”

401 Straub Hall in the Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences

It is an event designed so that every single person who attends is always talking! Come again for another fun time and be a superhero and help “rescue” four research projects!  + Snacks. Last time we had milkshakes.

How it works: 

Pre-selected presenters will present new ideas for about 3 minutes to rotating small groups of adjacents that give them feedback in 15 minute blocks.

What is an adjacent?

You are! An adjacent is someone who does research in an adjacent field to others and by being close but not too close to the topic they can offer very useful insights. It is Elliot Berkman’s term and he is super smart, so you know this is a good idea.

P.S.  There might be a slight “Captain America” theme to it in honor of the new Captain America Avenger movie



This week DMFG has two parts
Noon to 12:30: How to Get Subjects, Better Subjects, & More Data
A discussion of the best ways to get subjects in Eugene including new subject pools, the Olympic trials, big data, EMU experiments, using IRB ‘templates,’  and more . . .
12:30 to 1: Can We Scientifically Study Storytelling 
By Troy Campbell and Alec Tefertiller
A proposal of a research agenda to experimentally manipulate and measure response to story. Is this a good idea? Is it too far fetched? Give your thoughts.
Wednesday Week 7
May 11, 2016, Noon-Straub 401
Then Week 9 is the final Adjacents Assemble: Idea Royalle of the 2015 to 2016 year.


Wednesday April 27, 2016 at Noon in Straub 401

“Does Religion Have a Prayer as a Meaningful Individual Difference? Evidence from Singapore, South Korea, and Sustainability”

Professor Lynn Kahle

Lundquist Business School

See you there for a cross disciplinary event!


Wednesday April 13, 2016 at Noon in Straub 401

“What Makes Shapes and Products Seem Gendered?”

Wendy Paik and Colleagues

Lundquist Business School

Come learn and give feedback on this interesting new upstart project.


Wednesday February 3, 2016 at Noon in Straub 401

“How does perceptions of economic inequality affect brand perceptions.”

Josh Beck

Lundquist Business School

 Come out for a project that marries social psych, choice, business, and a timely issue.


Wednesday January 20, 2016 at Noon in Straub 401
DMFG continues
Every Odd Week at Noon in Straub 401

Last semester we had self-deception, a new model of self-control, evolutionary anthropology, product design, and an Avengers themed rapid feedback day. Expect more of these talks and events in DMFG this quarter as we help each other out as the “useful adjacents.”

“Irrational Blame for Victims of Harmful Product Failures”
Brandon Reich
Lundquist Business School

Quick Summary:

Brandon has some data that suggests people will blame customers when it is actually the company’s fault. He is looking to figure out how to develop the idea forward.


Wednesday January 6, 2016 at Noon in Straub 401
Marcus Wardley and John Price Lundquist
“Exciting findings about the affect heuristic: The thrill of possibly losing”Quick Summary:Marcus and John will talk how a potential loss can add excitement to a situation. Their work shows how considering excitement makes predictions that existing theories would not make. They will present on four experiments and get feedback on those and their plans for improving and extending the project. The project is nuanced, novel, and potentially interesting to a wide range of ideas from risk, to choice, to enjoyment, and to more.


Wednesday November 25, 2015 – Noon in Straub 401

As Part of the Something Different Series

Psychology of Product Design

Professor Aparna Sundar

New Professor at Lundquist College of Business

Former Product Designer and Architect


Aparna will teach us a little bit about the general ideas of the psychology of product design. Then she’ll present on her recent work and you’ll give some feedback if you want.

What is the Something Different Series?

Get exposure to a different idea. Speakers will take time to explain their field, methods, and ideas. They will present a specific project. We will be invited to ask questions we have always had about the field or that will come up. It will hope to generate interesting hypotheses and thinkings.


DMFG Presents: Something Different Series

Wednesday November 11 – Noon in Straub 401

Evolutionary Anthropology

“From Wargames to Warfare: A Study of Male Coalitions in Forager Societies”

Marcela Mendoza

What is the Something Different Series?

Get exposure to a different idea. Speakers will take time to explain their field, methods, and ideas. They will present a specific project. We will be invited to ask questions we have always had about the field or that will come up. It will hope to generate interesting hypotheses and thinkings.

 Who is Marcela Mendoza: Quick Bits

-Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences researcher

-Evolutionary anthropologist

-Has some really cool fieldwork experience

Her work gets at the ideas of:

-*editor note from Troy*: because she uses such different methods and thinking than us it is really fascinating to hear here and totally gets you thinking of new things in the normal areas you think in

-are humans good or bad?

-how does behavior get socialized?

-some team sports as remnants of ancestral evolutionary adaptation—originally used for hunting and warfare

-encourages revisiting the adaptive value of team play

-out-group hostility and aggression.

Marcela Mendoza: Long Bits

I’m anthropologist interested in evolutionary anthropology. I studied hunter-gatherer societies in the field, and understand that, in the recent past, people in marginalized regions of the world were living in small-scale egalitarian societies. These have changed rapidly during the twentieth century. I uphold the idea that forager groups observed in previous centuries can open-up a window to the lifeways of ancestral human groups. Hunter-gatherers practiced warfare; although they also had other ways to solve intergroup conflicts, and exchange partners. Lethal raiding was conducted by coalitions of males.

With Michelle Scalise Sugiyama, we are looking into old ethnographies written before the 1930s, when forager groups were still conducting raids, ambushes, and surprise-attacks against their neighbors, and against the non-indigenous settlers and soldiers. We also look into old first-hand accounts, and narratives where former forager subjects remembered the time of their grandparents. Our research has a triple focus: (a) we are looking for accounts of men playing competitive games, and participating in ceremonial fights with men from different groups; (b) we are looking for accounts of warfare training for youth; and (c) we are looking for accounts on pre-adolescent boys playing wargames and competitive team games. We are generating hypothesis on these three areas.

Our research could contribute to (a) viewing the movements and skills built in some team sports as remnants of ancestral evolutionary adaptation—originally used for hunting and warfare; (b) from the point of view of cognitive development, it could encourage revisiting the adaptive value of team play in preadolescent boys; and (c) more generally modeling how foragers handled intragroup cooperation and in-group cohesion while playing out intergroup competition, and out-group hostility and aggression.

We would love to improve the fitness of our explanatory models with feedback from colleagues with different backgrounds. We hope our research would inspire psychologists to make predictions and theories about developmental processes, adaptive functions of play behaviors, and costs & benefits of intergroup and out-group aggression in our current social and cultural environments.


Wednesday (Oct 28) at Noon

401 Straub Hall in the Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences

The first ever …”Idea Royale and the Useful Adjacents”

Read the following, seriously 🙂

At DMFG we are the “useful adjacent” and for the first “Idea Royale” you will be completely fulfilling that role.

A useful adjacent is someone who does research in a adjacent field to others and by being close but not too close to the topic they can offer very useful insights.

Further they can help the scientist with the idea to see the forest for the trees, not just focus on the bark on an individual tree. Too often we do these “bark” studies where we miss the bigger picture, the better methods, the connections to other existing ideas, and the larger relevance. Your job this week as the useful adjacent will be to help others avoid doing “bark” studies and help them do studies that illuminate the understanding of the entire forest. #strainedmetaphor

Full Details

So last time in DMFG we had a single person present for a long time on one idea. It was awesome. This week we are going to have many people present for a short time. It will also be awesome. This week will be all about you giving feedback in the role of the useful adjacent.

This is how an “Ideal Royale” works. Pre-selected presenters will present new ideas. Then in rotating small groups of adjacents we will all give them feedback. After the hour is up, you are encouraged to stay around longer to give feedback and connect further will idea presenters.

P.S. This week will feature healthy snacks!


WEDNESDAY, September 30, 2015 at noon in 401 Straub Hall

Please join us Wednesday for our first meeting and a presentation by Troy Campbell “Implication Management” The psychology of marketing to reduce racism, improve health behaviors, encourage responsible consumption, and generally save the world.


WEDNESDAY, April 29, 2015 at noon in 401 Straub Hall

Please join us Wednesday for a talk by Sean Laurent.

Some of my recent work has shown that the rules people use for when to assign blame may differ quite a bit from those used to give praise, suggesting fundamental differences in the two concepts. I am interested in why this should rationally be the case, and in finding interesting and novel ways to study the concept of praise and contrast praising with blaming. I will present some data in support of my initial arguments, and provide a (undercooked) theoretical framework for understanding blame/praise asymmetries. Most importantly, I’m looking for feedback, advice, and discussion from all of you on how to do this. As a note, this topic certainly has application to those interested in marketing as well as basic social cognition!


WEDNESDAY, May 13, 2015 at noon in 401 Straub Hall

We talked at our last meeting about reading a Troy Campbell paper and discussing it for our NEXT meeting. Brandon has recommended this one (here).

We’ll be talking about it at our meeting NEXT week (Weds, May 13 at noon in 401 Straub).


WEDNESDAY, April 29, 2015 at noon in 401 Straub Hall

Please join us Wednesday for a talk by Marcus Wardley (right – he’s the one that’s NOT Mayorga or Mariota). Marcus will be
talking about the following:

Ever wonder why people watch horror movies, go bungee jumping or pickup skydiving? If hedonism’s prime directive is
to pursue pleasure and avoid pain why do people willingly consume these aversive events? On Wednesday I will be
discussing preliminary data from my dissertation research entitled “Arousal Conversion and the Hedonic Equation: A
new framework for understanding the consumption of aversive experiences.” In addition to data and theory there will
be homemade brownies and a short horror movie!

We’ll be in 401 Straub at noon on Weds April 29. Feel free to bring your lunch (just in case those brownies aren’t
for real!).


WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2015 at noon in 401 Straub Hall

Our next decision making focus group features Brandon Reich. Unlike our last 2 meetings, this won’t be a formal presentation and Brandon would really like our feedback and ideas on the following project:

I’m interested in starting a project about blaming victims of unethical corporate behavior. I’ll be looking at a couple of the usual individual differences as predictors (trait empathy and belief in a just world) as a proposed pilot study. I have a couple follow-up experiments planned to show causation and a potential moderator, and ideally down the road would like to connect this victim blaming tendency to moral anger and consumer action against the company. I have not collected any data yet, everything is in a planning stage.


WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2015 at noon in 401 Straub Hall

Lynn Kahle
Our first Decision Making Focus Group of Spring term 2015 will be Professor Lynn Kahle, from over Lillis way.  He’ll be talking about work done in collaboration with Namika Sagara and Cindy Wang, titled:

“You Look Marvelous Everywhere:  Nations and Ingratiations.”

This first meeting is April 1, at noon (feel free to bring lunch). We’ll be in our bigger digs – Straub 401, which is rightfully within the Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences facilities!


WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2015 at noon in 401 Straub Hall

Nina Strohminger

The Essential Moral Self
Abstract: Ever since Locke, it has been postulated that personal identity is judged on the basis of mental features.  However, the possibility that certain parts of the mind are especially central to identity has not been systematically investigated.  In this talk, I lay out the evidence that our sense of identity—both in ourselves and in others—arises primarily from the continuity of moral traits.  This pattern emerges repeatedly across a variety of domains, from brain damage and drug use to folk beliefs about reincarnation and the soul.  Data from children and Eastern populations indicates that this privileging of moral character emerges early and is cross-culturally robust. Furthermore, identity change mediates real-world outcomes such as the robustness of personal relationships.  Potential explanations for this phenomenon, along with implications for the field, are discussed.


WEDNESDAY, February 18, 2015 at noon in 383 Straub Hall

This week’s talk (Weds Feb 18 at noon) will be Gus Skorburg. Gus’s title and abstract are below. We’ll be in 383 Straub; feel free to bring a lunch. Hope to see you there!

“Extended Knowledge, the Recognition Heuristic, and Epistemic Injustice”

Recognition is the thinnest and most basic form of memory: to recognize something, all you need to do is be aware
that you’ve encountered it before.  You needn’t remember any particular information about it, how you came to be
acquainted with it, or what it’s nature is.  Gerd Gigerenzer has shown that people often use their recognitional
capacities in decision-making: if you recognize only one of two items, you’ll tend to infer that it is larger on many
important dimensions.  For instance, if you recognize only one of two cities, you will tend to infer that the
recognized city is more populous than the unrecognized city, and if you recognize only one of two universities, you
will tend to infer that the recognized university is more prestigious than the unrecognized university.
This heuristic works, when it does, because newspapers and other media tend to discuss bigger cities and prestigious
universities more than they discuss smaller cities and less prestigious universities.  It is thus an example of
extended (embedded) cognition and knowledge.  The reliability of the recognition heuristic for a particular criterion
variable (e.g., population) in a given context (e.g., Western European cities) depends on the extent to which
intensity of media coverage correlates with the criterion variable.  Using data-mining techniques, we show that there
are systematic biases in the US press against reporting on cities outside of the United States and Western Europe.
This constitutes a form of epistemic injustice because it leads to decreased recognition of these cities, and hence
to worse decision-making by consumers of the media.


WEDNESDAY, February 4, 2015 at noon in 383 Straub Hall

Marcus Mayorga’s will be talking.   His synopsis:

On July 1st 2015, Oregon will join Colorado and Washington in legalizing recreational marijuana. However, very little is known about the effect of legalization on adolescent risk perceptions of substance use. Additionally, there are concerns that edible marijuana products will marketed toward children or perceived as less harmful by adolescents. Following association & imagery methods from Benthin et al. (1995), I plan to study an at-risk adolescent sample, pre & post legalization, to capture possible shifts in perceived risk and benefits of marijuana, and their relation to rates of substance (ab)use. Additionally, I plan to test marijuana product packaging (hypothetical and following Colorado’s current example) for perceived consumer appeal among children.

All are welcome.  Feel free to bring a lunch.


WEDNESDAY, January 21, 2015 at noon in 383 Straub Hall

Our next Decision Making Focus Group features Brandon Reich, who will be talking about a project in the beginning stages – he’d like our input.

Accessibility-based Inferences of CSR Motives

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the practice of for-profit companies doing something ostensibly pro-social or altruistic (e.g., charitable donations, social justice campaigns, etc.). All else held constant, consumers infer different motives of a company for engaging in CSR, a phenomenon which must logically be based on individual differences. I propose that consumer personality is one such individual difference. Specifically, due to an accessibility-based theory of inference making, altruistic consumers are more likely to infer altruistic motives of the company, Machiavellian consumers are more likely to infer exploitative motives of the company, etc. A preliminary descriptive study demonstrates these correlations, but I’m interested in a stronger, causal test involving trait-priming. I am also still considering what the most sensible/interesting “next steps” would be and am looking for ideas from other researchers.


We’ll be meeting in 383 Straub, which now has a projector in it (yay!) at noon on Weds Jan 21. Feel free to bring a lunch.

hope to see you there,


WEDNESDAY, January 7, 2015 at noon, 383 Straub Hall

On the first week of the term (Weds Jan 7), we will meet at noon to plan the term. If we outgrow that space, we can look for a new home. At some point, when the Institute is more fully furnished/unpacked, we will be able to meet in their swanky new seminar room!

Bring your calendars (and your lunch, if you like) this Wednesday.

see you then,

As always, feel free to bring your lunch.


THURSDAY, November 20, 2014 at 4 pm (not our regular day OR time) also in 271-B Franklin

Please mark your calendars for an upcoming Decision Making Focus Group talk at an irregular time:

Gabriella Eriksson (a guest and research collaborator of Decision Research) from the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) will speak THURSDAY, November 20 at 4 pm (not our regular day OR time) also in 271-B Franklin about “Mental Representations in Driving: Affect, Actor and Perceptions”:

Drivers need to make judgements related to driving speed, such as braking capacity, in order to make optimal choices of vehicle speed. Our studies show that driver’s mental representations differ from the physical world. Drivers overestimate braking capacity and their judgements are susceptible to problem scenarios with varying affective outcomes and main actor. In this talk I will also present studies on drivers’ mental representations of travel time and some ideas on how judgements of braking capacity and travel time can be aided.


Wednesday, November 12, 20104  at noon, 271-B Franklin Building

This week’s Decision Making Focus Group (Weds, 11/12 at noon in 271-B Franklin) features Sean Laurent who is taking about some of his new ideas for blame and praise research:

When social perceivers assign blame or accord praise, judgments may sometimes be made holistically and/or rapidly, based on agents’ actions and how perceivers feel about those actions. However, perceivers also likely take into account assumptions or information about agents’ mental states in order to determine how much blame or praise is appropriate. When considering known asymmetries between how people blame and praise, the mental states underlying agents’ actions may become particularly important for understanding the decision-making process underlying these asymmetries. My plan is to discuss some of my past work and thinking that has focused on decision-making regarding blame, and to present/solicit input on some of my (admittedly, not fully worked out) ideas on how thinking about blame and praise differs.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014  at noon, 271-B Franklin Building

Bob Rocklin, Cancelled.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at noon, 271-B Franklin Building

Marcus Mayorga,

Here’s a tantalizing description of today’s Decision Making Focus Group talk about work in progress by Marcus Mayorga (noon, 271-B Franklin):

Our previous research has documented a phenomenon of perceived inefficacy in prosocial or charitable scenarios, especially situations where some needy individuals remain “out of reach”. However, some people show a boost in perceived efficacy and motivation to help in these scenarios. This has led us to consider that prosocial self-efficacy as an individual difference measure that may moderate in several biases in prosocial contexts (e.g. the identifiable victim effect, singularity effect). Thus, I am seeking advice and feedback from the focus group in designing this Prosocial Self-Efficacy Scale.

Hope to see you there (feel free to bring a lunch).


Wednesday, October 1, 2014  at noon, 271-B Franklin Building

Initial gathering. Bring your calendars and think about signing up for a time to speak!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at noon, 271-B Franklin Building

At the next Decision Making Focus Group Gus Skorburg will be speaking.  Gus has given us a background reading (here) to provide the historical backdrop for the work he’ll be talking about (done in collaboration with Mark Alfano).


Wednesday, May 14th at noon, 271-B Franklin Building

At the Decision Making Focus Group on Weds 5/14, we’ll hear from (the very soon to be Dr.) Cat Soule and Brandon Reich, who will be talking about “Demarketing.”

The research explores consumer response to a new type of demarketing, green demarketing (GD). GD refers to a message strategy whereby a firm encourages consumers to buy less at the category level through purchase of the firm’s brand. Positive consumer response may depend on the firm’s perceived motive to demarket.

Cat & Brandon have provided us with a background reading (here). They are planning on doing a 20-30 minute presentation on the conceptual framework and some preliminary studies to leave time for discussion and input from the group.


Wednesday, April 30th at noon, 271-B Franklin Building

At the next Decision Making Focus Group Robert Mauro will be speaking.  Topic: “Problems with Practical Risk Assessment:  The Middle Way.”


Wednesday, April 16th at noon, 271-B Franklin Building – We will be reading  “Assessing ”Economic Value”: Symbolic-Number Mappings Predict Risky and Riskless Valuations” paper by Ellen Peters and her colleague and discussing it April 16th in the Decision Making Focus Group (click here for the paper, plus supplementary materials). As a reminder, Ellen will be giving a talk on May 9 at 4:00 in 128 Chiles.


Wednesday, March 5th at noon, 271-B Franklin Building – Robin Quirke:  Robin will be talking about her Low Impact Lifestyle Study. Writes Robin:

Most of the literature in environmental psychology is focused on individuals with pro-environmental behaviors, but these same individuals could still have an average or even high carbon footprint when compared to the average American. My study is an exploratory one, in which I am conducting qualitative interviews with individuals who have organized their lives in a way that produces less than half the carbon emissions of the average American.  The overarching question: From a social psychological angle, what makes these people different from the average American?


Wednesday, February 19th at noon, 271-B Franklin Building – Mark Alfano:  “Mapping Human Values.” In collaboration with Jacob Levernier (UO) and Andrew Higgins (Urbana-Champaign), Mark is working on a project to map human values by data-mining obituaries. He’ll present some of the maps. Mark says to see why obituaries might be a good source, watch John Cleese eulogize Graham Chapman: (…but not necessarily with small children nearby).

Join us in 271-B Franklin, at noon (actually, more like 12:05) on Wednesday February 5. Feel free to bring your lunch!


Wednesday, February 5th at noon, 271-B Franklin Building – Sara Hodges and Bethany Lassetter:  “The curious case of credible liars”.
This week, it’s Bethany Lassetter and Sara talking about “The curious case of credible liars.” Bethany’s thesis (long defended!) started out probing a finding by a pair of psych & law researchers. They’d found that witnesses who lied on the stand were actually viewed as more credible than witnesses who provided misinformation for another reason (specifically, because they were mixed up). The thesis wasn’t enough – down the rabbit hole we went! Several studies later, we can tell what we know (and still don’t know) about this curious phenomenon and some possible boundary conditions. And we’d also love to hear your ideas about it.

Join us in 271-B Franklin, at noon (actually, more like 12:05) on Wednesday February 5. Feel free to bring your lunch!


Wednesday, January 22nd at noon, 271-B Franklin Building – Marcus Mayorga

The title of  Marcus’ paper is ” Whoever Saves One Life Saves the World: Confronting the Challenge of Pseudoinefficacy”. He is hoping for discussion regarding the overall theory, specific hypotheses, and methodology he presents around the idea of pseudoinefficacy. He also hopes to  generate ideas for future research.

Please note that the paper is under review, so please contact Marcus  (Marcus Mayorga, with any questions.

Hope to see many of you in Franklin 271-B at noon (or a few minutes after; Marcus, myself, and maybe a few others will be coming from “campus” just before and it’s a bit of a hike) on Jan. 22nd. Feel free to bring your lunch!


Wednesday, November 13th at noon, 271-B Franklin Building.

We’ll be discussing the attached article this week in the Decision Making Focus Group as part of my attempts to lure people interested in reactions to climate change into this group. 🙂

All are welcome. We will meet at noon in 271B of the Franklin Building on Weds Nov 13. Feel free to bring a lunch.


Wednesday, October 30 at noon, 271-B Franklin Building.

Our speaker for this week had to postpone, so we will be reading the attached paper on motivated numeracy and discussing it. This paper got a lot of press in September, and in line with us discussing it the day before Halloween, many have said it is kind of “scary.”


See you Weds at noon in 271-B Franklin – feel free to bring lunch, and also to pass this email along to anyone who might be interested.


Wednesday, October 16 at noon, 271-B Franklin Building. We’re very pleased to have a new UO faculty member (and ICDS member) Mark Alfano from Philosophy presenting at the next Decision Making Focus Group.  Mark will be talking about, “The Recognition Heuristic: An International Perspective.”

Feel free to bring a lunch.


The first meeting of the Decision Making Focus Group (part of the Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences) will be Wednesday, Oct 2 starting at noon (bring your lunch!) in 271-B Franklin Building. (The Franklin Building is the temporary home of the ICDS while Straub Hall is being renovated.)

To get there, get yourself to the north side of Franklin Blvd; the Franklin Building is the UO signed building between the two Best Western motels and just east of “The Bridge” restaurant (the Franklin Building is also known as “the Old ORI building”). To enter the building, walk around back through the parking lot to the face of the building furthest from Franklin Blvd and enter through those doors (if you encounter locked doors, you have not yet walked far enough away from Franklin Blvd). 271-B is on the second floor and I won’t try to say more than that other than a) the Franklin Building has a somewhat confusing layout but b) no one yet has become permanently lost in it.

Our first meeting will be introductory and organizational – to find out who wants to present and what we’d like to talk about this term. Subsequent meetings will be every other Wednesday at noon – that is, on “odd” week Wednesdays of fall term (weeks 3, 5, 7, & 9).

If you have any questions, let me know.

If you’d like to be removed from this list, just send me an email. If you know someone who should be added, tell me that too.


Meeting, March 6, 2013, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. Prof. Lynn Kahle will be our speaker in the Decision Making Focus Group (12:00, room 143 Straub). He’ll be talking about “How Stable Are Social Values?”

Meeting: February 20, 2013, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. This week Jeffrey Xie & Elizabeth Minton from Lundquist, will talk to us about a project they’ve been working on that explores “The Dark Side of Mental Simulation.” An abstract follows; There are also two papers that inspired their work, that may be useful background (see below).
ABSTRACT: Prior research has shown the benefits of mental simulation but has failed to address potential drawbacks. This research provides an initial view into the dark side of mental simulation where encouraging simulation actually harms consumer affect, perceptions, and product evaluations. This research is conducted in the context of health halos where addition of a health cue on packaging or in advertising increases health perceptions on the product. Findings reveal that mental simulation overrides creation of a health halo because cognitive capacity is consumed during the simulation process. Implications and suggestions for further research are discussed.  Link to Taylor, et al paper. Link to Escalas paper.


Meeting: February 6, 2013, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. We’ll be reading the article by Fernbach, Darlow, & Sloman about considering alternative causes for our next meeting, Weds Feb 6, in 143 Straub, at noon. (The article is about alternative causes, generally – not solely about “alternative causes for our next meeting!”) Link to Fernbach paper.


Meeting: May 2, 2012, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. We will be discussing some interesting work on cultural cognition and how it relates to risk.

Who Fears the HPV Vaccine, Who Doesn’t, and Why?
An Experimental Study of the Mechanisms of Cultural Cognition

ABSTRACT: The cultural cognition thesis holds that individuals
form risk perceptions that reflect their commitments
to contested views of the good society. We conducted a
study that used the dispute over mandatory HPV vaccination
to test the cultural cognition thesis. Although public health
officials have recommended that all girls aged 11 or 12 be
vaccinated for HPV—a sexually transmitted virus that
causes cervical cancer—political controversy has blocked
adoption of mandatory school-enrollment vaccination programs
in all but one state. An experimental study of a large
sample of American adults (N = 1,538) found that cultural
cognition generates disagreement about the risks and benefits
of the vaccine through two mechanisms: biased
assimilation, and the credibility heuristic. We discuss theoretical
and practical implications.

As always, the DMFG meets at noon in Straub 143.

See you on Wednesday

Link to Slovic paper.


April 4th, 2012, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. For the first DMFG meeting, we will be starting off with a provocative article by Hank Greeley, entitled “Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy.” I think that the article raises some very interesting and debatable points at the intersection of Decision making and public policy.

As always, DMFG meets on Wednesday, at noon in Straub 143. This quarter we have the “odd” weeks, same as last quarter.

Hope to see you there.

Link to Greely paper.


March 7th, 2012 Ulrich Mayr, Psychology, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. Lynn Kahle, Marketing


Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. Shalvi et al. article “People Avoid Situations that Enable them to Deceive Others” Link to paper.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. Well, the new quarter is upon us, and it is time to get the Decision Making Focus Group back into action! Please come to our first meeting, this Wednesday, in Straub 143 from 12-1p. It will be an organizational meeting to set forth an agenda for the term. Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall. Reading: LeBoeuf, R. A., & Norton, M. (in press). Consequence-cause matching: Looking to the consequences of events to infer their causes. Journal of Consumer Research. This article documents a bias in people’s causal inferences, showing that people nonnormatively consider an event’s consequences when inferring its causes. Across experiments, participants’ inferences about event causes were systematically affected by how similar (in both size and valence) those causes were to event consequences, even when the consequences were objectively uninformative about the causes. For example, people inferred that a product failure (computer crash) had a large cause (widespread computer virus) if it had a large consequence (job loss) but that the identical failure was more likely to have a smaller cause (cooling fan malfunction) if the consequence was small—even though the consequences gave no new information about what caused the crash. This “consequence-cause matching,” which can affect product attitudes, may arise because people are motivated to see the world as predictable and because matching is an accessible schema that helps them to fulfill this motivation.  Link to paper.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 12:00 PM, 143 Straub Hall Organizational meeting.


Wednesday, June 3, 2011 Decision Making Docus Group social event


Wednesday, May 18, 2011 Galak, J., Kruger, J., & Loewenstein, G. (2011). Is variety the spice of life? It all depends on the rate of consumption. Jundgment and Decision Making, 6, 230-238.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011 Quoidbach, J. & Dunn, E.W. (2010). Personality neglect: The unforeseen impact of personal dispositions on emotional life. Psychological Science, 21, 1783-1786.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011 Sunstein, C.R. (Winter 2002-2003). The paralyzing principle. Regulation, 32-37. Thaler, R.H. & Sunstein, C.R. Libertarian paternalism. AEA Papers and Proceedings, 93, 175-179.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011 Presentation by Ezra Markowitz: “Looking back to think ahead: Intergenerational reciprocity in the face of future climate change.”


Wednesday, March 9, 2011 Presentation by Josh Weller


Wednesday, February 23, 2011 Presentation by Sara Hodges & Nicole Lawless: “Projection in interactions: Surprising result and future directions.”


Wednesday, February 9, 2011 Kim, J., Natter, M., & Spann, M.  (2009). Pay what you want: A new participative pricing mechanism. Journal of Marketing, 73, 44-58.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011 No meeting


Wednesday, January 12, 2011 Schuldt, J.P., & Schwarz, N. (2010). The “organic”  path to obesity? Organic claims influence calorie judgments and exercise recommendations. Judgment and Decision Making, 5, 144-150.