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Decision science: a new hope

Curley, Lee J.; Maclean, Rory; Murray, Jennifer; Laybourn, Phyllis


Lee J. Curley

Phyllis Laybourn


Decision science is an area of enquiry that crosses many disciplines, from psychology to economics, each with their own perspective of decision making. Traditionally, mathematicians have envisaged decision making as a purely rational endeavour, whereas psychologists and behavioural economists have critiqued this narrative, and suggested that cognitive short cuts are the real mechanisms behind how decisions are made. However, contemporary dual process theorists argue that two systems of the mind exist: system one (intuitive decision making); and, system two (rational decision making). The current review will present a relatively new metaphor for decision making: the unified threshold model. This model is a global approach to decision making which allows both intuitive and rational decision making processes to be explained in a more flexible manner than the dual process model. This review will introduce the reader to different types of threshold models (Counter and Diffusion), their assumptions, and their ability to explain decision making behaviour. Implications and future research will also be discussed. In summary, the aim of this review is to highlight that the unified threshold model of decision making may be a more adequate explanation of decision making data in comparison to previous models and theories


Curley, L. J., Maclean, R., Murray, J., & Laybourn, P. (2019). Decision science: a new hope. Psychological Reports, 122(6), 2417-2439.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 4, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 2, 2018
Publication Date Dec 1, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 2, 2018
Journal Psychological Reports
Print ISSN 0033-2941
Publisher Ammons Scientific
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 122
Issue 6
Pages 2417-2439
Keywords Decision science, normative decision making, Bayesian theorem, heuristics and biases, unified threshold model , Diffusion Threshold Model
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