Essays on Judgment and Decision Making
DeWees, Bradley R.
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CitationDeWees, Bradley R. 2019. Essays on Judgment and Decision Making. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractJudgment and choice under uncertainty does not occur in a vacuum—instead, it occurs amidst a rich web of social and contextual cues that profoundly shape how individuals navigate their worlds. Each of the essays in this dissertation, while primarily intended as an independent research project, examines how social and contextual factors shape fundamental judgments and choices. The first examines how accountability pressures shape decisions characterized by ambiguity, when the probabilities associated with decision options are vague or unknown. While prior work has shown that accountability amplifies ambiguity aversion, this essay, based on the flexible contingency model, predicts that accountability amplifies ambiguity aversion only under certain conditions. It finds in four experiments that, while accountability amplifies ambiguity aversion when decision makers lack knowledge about the decision domain, accountability actually attenuates ambiguity aversion when decision makers are highly knowledgeable. The second essay examines the influence of observation on decisions involving trade-offs between the values of equality and efficiency. In an extension of the value pluralism model, it finds that observation increases equal (yet inefficient) allocations, even with real financial stakes. Further, it finds that choosing equality is, on average, a politically savvy response to observation—observers trust equal allocators more than efficient allocators. The third essay examines how task flow affects judgments of the ideas and contributions of others. Results from seven experiments with both lay and expert individuals show that committing to one’s own point of view before evaluating a peer’s judgment or choice (relative to the reverse order), leads evaluators to derogate peers’ ideas and make negative inferences about them. The results reveal a social cost to independent judgments within groups.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029732
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