Individual and Group Decision Making: Current Issues

By N. John Castellan Jr. | Go to book overview

(e.g., Muchinsky & Dudycha, 1975; Sawyer, 1991; Sniezek, 1986).6 Meaningfulness and salience are factors in several current theories and models, often descriptive in nature, of decision making under uncertainty, which offer productive avenues to follow. Examples include Image Theory ( Mitchell & Beach, 1990) and the work on strategies discussed in chapter 2 by Payne, Bettman, and Johnson.

Edgell argues that whether dimensional or configural information is used (weighted) more in the judgment task is meaningless because of context effects. I would argue that it is not meaningless, but that we need a method for transforming physical dimensions into underlying psychological or sensory dimensions. That may be the key to understanding the real effect of configurality on judgment. And that is what Sawyer has begun to do for us with his scaling of value functions.

The underlying theme in these remarks is the need for models. In all cases, models are the key to explanation. Models are almost always wrong, but they help us eliminate alternative explanations and can lead us to new insights. These papers have given us important clues about information processing and decision making. We now need unified theories and models that explain as well as predict behavior. Moreover, good theories and models should enable us to begin to generalize meaningfully our experimental results. The papers in this section give us some of the basic ingredients of such theories.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Stephen Edgell, Scott Tindale, John Sawyer, and Bernhard Flury for their comments on an earlier version of this chapter.


REFERENCES

Anderson N. H. ( 1979). "Algebraic rules in psychological measurement". American Scientist, 67, 555-563.

Anderson N. H. ( 1986). "A cognitive theory of judgment and decision". In B. Brehmer, H. Jungermann , P. Lourens, & G. Sevón (Eds.), New directions in research on decision making (pp. 63-108). Amsterdam: North-Holland.

Carroll J. S. ( 1980). "Analyzing decision behavior: The magician's audience". In T. S. Wallsten (Ed.), Cognitive processes in choice and decision behavior (pp. 69-76). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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6
Strictly speaking, one should make a distinction between salience and meaningfulness, because one can easily conceive of cues that are salient but not meaningful and cues that are meaningful but not salient. The critical issue for the discussion here is that a dimension has characteristics other than its statistical properties, which renders it more distinctive than other dimensions.

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