How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making

How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making
Course Trailer
Thinking Scientifically about Decisions
1: Thinking Scientifically about Decisions

Have you ever wondered why people make the decisions they do? Using the metaphor of manufacturing, learn what science has revealed about human decision making: informational raw materials go in, the cognitive machinery processes, control mechanisms guide the machinery, and a decision is made....

31 min
The Two-System Model of Decision Making
2: The Two-System Model of Decision Making

What's going on in your cognitive machinery as you manufacture your decision? Delve into the two-system model of decision making: System 1 is your automatic and intuitive processor, your earlier system from an evolutionary perspective; and System 2 is the flexible, powerful serial processor that you think of as you....

30 min
The Role of Heuristics in Decisions
3: The Role of Heuristics in Decisions

Heuristics are the decision shortcuts that people use every day. While too imprecise to lead to optimal decisions, they are powerful tools that allow you to make appropriate decisions fairly easily. However, if you don't understand the limitations of heuristics, they can easily lead you astray from the truth into stereotyping and assumptions....

30 min
How Habits Make Decisions Easier
4: How Habits Make Decisions Easier

Habits are our immediate automatic responses-good and bad-to situations when we don't take the time to manufacture a purposeful decision. Decision science gives us the psychological framework within which to understand how habits form and are activated, and how best to change them when we want to....

28 min
Self-Regulation and Choice
5: Self-Regulation and Choice

Have you ever felt that your mind was so overworked you just could not make one more decision? Learn about the "cognitive fuel" needed for System 2 to rein in the automatic responses of System 1, and figure out how to recognize when you really are too resource-depleted to make your best decisions....

30 min
The Value Curve and Human Decisions
6: The Value Curve and Human Decisions

Prospect Theory reveals the ways in which our decision-making machinery values an item and why. Learn how to make better decisions by understanding appropriate reference points, sensitivity to changes in value, and the super-sensitivity we all experience when it comes to potential loss....

29 min
Emotional Influences on Decision Making
7: Emotional Influences on Decision Making

Have you ever driven a bit recklessly when you felt angry or frustrated? If so, you know that emotions affect our decisions. Recently, scientists have discovered that our emotions play an even larger role than previously thought; in fact, they are an integral and necessary part of our cognitive machinery....

30 min
How Goals Guide Our Decisions
8: How Goals Guide Our Decisions

Can you influence the cognitive machinery that manufactures your decisions? Absolutely. Learn why and how our goals motivate us, which goals inspire our greatest effort, and how best to motivate others to help them meet their own goals-whether it's your sales team at work or your children at home....

31 min
Reason-Based Choice
9: Reason-Based Choice

Even when manufacturing the seemingly simplest of decisions, our control panel can steer us in the wrong direction. Learn why our cognitive machinery often over-weights attributes, considers information that really has no bearing on the decision at hand, and sometimes makes short-term evaluations that won't serve us well later....

29 min
Mental Accounting as a Factor in Decisions
10: Mental Accounting as a Factor in Decisions

Mental accounting is a powerful decision-making tool we can employ to improve our lives. Learn how the process of partitioning objects and experiences in purposeful ways-everything from money and food to debt and social obligations-can increase happiness, decrease pain, and lead to better physical and emotional health....

31 min
The Role of Mindsets in Decision Making
11: The Role of Mindsets in Decision Making

We don't make decisions in a vacuum. Before we even have the opportunity to decide our next action, before a stimulus even comes our way, we are mentally prepared to receive it. Our mindset, that stage of mental preparation, significantly affects how we perceive and process information and the decisions that result....

31 min
How Consistency Drives Decisions
12: How Consistency Drives Decisions

Learn how the strong desire for consistency-between beliefs and actions, and between current and past actions-drives both our decision making and our judgment of others' actions. But what happens when our own actions are not consistent with our stated beliefs? Decision science reveals that we tend to make a surprising accommodation....

29 min
Social Influences on Decision Making
13: Social Influences on Decision Making

Our relationships with others and broader societal pressures influence our decision making, whether or not we're aware of it. Learn how we look to others for guidance in the most subtle of ways, and consider the many decisions we make to try to mimic or please those whom we perceive to be powerful....

29 min
Nonconscious Influences on Decision Making
14: Nonconscious Influences on Decision Making

Can subliminal messages cause us to make decisions almost against our will? Although a major hoax perpetrated on a panicked public caused us to believe just that for a while, science has demonstrated that we have more control than that-but there is still reason to be wary. Learn about the scientifically proven ways in which we are subtly influenced by subliminal messages and environmental cues....

31 min
An Evolutionary View of Decision Making
15: An Evolutionary View of Decision Making

You might never have thought to blame a bad decision on your ancestors' development millennia ago, but there just might be reason to. Learn about the often surprising and unexpected ways in which evolutionary drives-hidden beneath the surface of our control panel-guide our decision processes even today, for better or for worse....

30 min
Regulatory Focus and Human Motivation
16: Regulatory Focus and Human Motivation

For centuries, decision-making motivation was seen in the context of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. But recent scientific research reveals a more complex framework. Regulatory Focus theory shows that we operate from four motivational states, not two, and it reveals a richer and more accurate framework for understanding our decisions....

30 min
Decision Rules
17: Decision Rules

How much information do you collect before making a decision? How much is optimal? Do you focus on the pertinent data or let extraneous information affect your choices? Discover the decision rules we use every day, and learn about the many fascinating real-world ways in which we evaluate and compare choices....

29 min
How Context Influences Choice
18: How Context Influences Choice

Uncover the many unexpected ways in which information context affects our decisions. What happens when our mind acts like a big shovel, scooping up all the data in its path and processing that information together, whether relevant or not? Scientific studies reveal how the choice context can lead to some surprising decisions....

28 min
How Framing Effects Guide Decisions
19: How Framing Effects Guide Decisions

Even as children, we learned that the way in which we presented a choice to our parents was often as important as the specific question we asked. Decision science reveals just how that tool-decision framing-can be used to our benefit, and how it is used to manipulate our choices as consumers....

28 min
The Role of Memory in Decisions
20: The Role of Memory in Decisions

In addition to the new information your brain is constantly acquiring, you use memory in your decision-making process. In fact, the quality of any decision often depends on accessing the appropriate memories at the appropriate time. Learn how some surprising tools can help you recall those memories more effectively....

28 min
Assortments, Variety, and Choice
21: Assortments, Variety, and Choice

Although consumers almost always say they want more options, research shows that when faced with too many choices, consumers are sometimes unable to make any decision at all. Decision science reveals the best tools to use to narrow your choices when deciding on everything from a movie to a soul mate....

30 min
How Evaluability Affects Decisions
22: How Evaluability Affects Decisions

Research shows that when evaluating options, we tend to place more importance on attributes we understand and less importance on those we don't-without considering relevance to the decision at hand. Learn how to better evaluate the choices in front of you and to avoid as many poor-decision pitfalls as possible....

28 min
Halo Effects and Choice
23: Halo Effects and Choice

Can a marketing campaign affect how a food tastes? Even though you know the ad hasn't changed the food itself, medical imaging reveals that your brain reacts as if it did! Learn about the fascinating ways in which this halo effect can hinder or help the accuracy of your decision making....

29 min
The Four Rs of Decision Making
24: The Four Rs of Decision Making

Scientists don't anticipate developing one unified theory to model decision making; human beings are just too complex. But you can improve your own decision making-as well as your ability to understand and influence the decisions of others-with these powerful empirical generalizations: reference points, reasons, resources, and replacement....

34 min
Ryan Hamilton

Marketing is the process of facilitating exchanges that create value for customers, collaborators, and the company. And marketing creates this value by developing an understanding of what customers want and need.

ALMA MATER

Northwestern University

INSTITUTION

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

About Ryan Hamilton

Professor Ryan Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, where he has taught since 2008. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

In 2013, he was recognized by the Marketing Science Institute as one of the most productive young scholars in his field. Professor Hamilton also has received multiple teaching excellence awards from his M.B.A. students at Emory and, in 2011, was named one of "The World's Best 40 B-School Profs under the Age of 40" by Poets & Quants, an online magazine covering the world of M.B.A. education.

Professor Hamilton is a consumer psychologist whose research investigates shopper decision making: how brands, prices, and choice architecture influence decision making at the point of purchase. His research findings have been published in prestigious peer-reviewed marketing and management journals, including the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Marketing, Management Science, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. His findings also have been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Financial Times, CNN Headline News and more.

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