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Decision Making in Academia[edit]

This comment seems spiteful (or maybe just irreverent). It should be deleted.

Done. (I forgot that I wasn't signed in) Dujang Prang 14:26, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Logical decision making is an important part of all science-based professions, where specialists apply their knowledge in a given area to make informed decisions. For example, medical decision making often involves making a diagnosis and selecting an appropriate treatment. Some[which?] research using naturalistic methods shows, however, that in situations with higher time pressure, higher stakes, or increased ambiguities, experts use intuitive decision making rather than structured approaches, following a recognition primed decision approach to fit a set of indicators into the expert's experience and immediately arrive at a satisfactory course of action without weighing alternatives. Recent robust decision efforts have formally integrated uncertainty into the decision making process. However, decision analysis, recognized and included uncertainties with a structured and rationally justifiable method of decision making since its conception in 1964.

Regarding this paragraph, the source is Gary Klein and his studies in decision making.

"Previously unpublished synthesis" tag[edit]

Somebody put this tag on the article, with a rather cryptic edit summary. I don't have a problem with the tag, but I'm wondering what this is all about. Lou Sander (talk) 14:19, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Because I saw this edit come up on my watchlist, and I agreed with the IP's sentiment. So rather than revert, I dug up a template that seemed appropriate. I wanted to see if we could get a discussion going around making this article more useful for readers. Right now, it contains a lot of good citations, but the overall organization seems kind of haphazard (e.g. "Information Overload" is its own section, following a fairly detailed discussion of information overload in a previous section--a discussion which links to the article on information overload!).
There are also a lot of ways in which the article is written that I would like to see changed to comply better with our MOS:
  • "Decision making techniques can be separated into two broad categories." (weasel words)
  • "It is important to differentiate between problem analysis and decision making." (editorializing)
  • "Yet, at another level, it might be regarded as a problem solving activity which is terminated when a satisfactory solution is reached." (original research?)
  • "This area of decision making, although it is very old and has attracted the interest of many researchers and practitioners, is still highly debated" (expressions of doubt)
More generally, I think the article is wayyy too jargony to be useful as a general reference about a major concept, and could also be substantially pruned down. Decision-making has been an area of scientific and philosophical inquiry for centuries, but there is little sense of the origins of our conception of decision-making here; mostly we get a bunch of competing theories, and most of them relatively recent. So the article ends up seeming like a clearinghouse of various scientific theories and specialized terminology, without much cohesion or flow. The articles on Cognition and Problem solving (which is linked to from this article, confusingly, as problem analysis) both do a reasonably good job of presenting the basic information about the concepts they describe from various historical, geographical and disciplinary perspectives. I think this article could benefit from a similar approach. But I think to do so we would have to tear it down to its foundations and reconfigure it.
From its edit history, the article has been under extensive development for years, mostly by well-meaning contributors but without much collaboration. If there are two or three others who would want to undertake a re-write, I think we could improve the article substantially. Any takers? - J-Mo Talk to Me Email Me 21:49, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I could be involved in this, but I don't want to do any heavy lifting. I'm the major contributor to Analytic hierarchy process, though my expertise in the field came mostly from hammering out the article. I DO have access to experts in AHP and decision making, and I know pretty much about editing Wikipedia. Additionally, there is an ISAHP conference in Washington, DC, in mid-2014, at which they want to talk about the desirability of AHP concepts getting wider use in the world at large. I don't have any AHP axe to grind, but if I were involved in this project, I could maybe take some insights to the ISAHP folks. Lou Sander (talk) 22:43, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Removed sentence[edit]

I removed the following sourced sentence: "Most decisions are followed by some form of cost-benefit analysis.<ref>{{cite journal |last=Doya |first=Kenji |coauthors=Michael N Shadlen |title=Decision Making |journal=Current Opinion in Neurobiology |year=2012 |volume=22 |issue=6 |pages=911–913 |doi=10.1016/j.conb.2012.10.003}}</ref>"

Unfortunately I don't have access to the source, but this sentence was originally added by Barrie99. To me, the original sentence written by Barrie99 sounds like a probable misrepresentation of the source. "Decisions are likely to be involuntary and following the decision, we spend time analyzing the cost and benefits of that decision." Decisions are likely to be involuntary - to the best of my knowledge, this is just a theory, and not yet accepted facts. And do we really make a cost-benefit analysis after the involuntary decision?? So I removed the sentence, but please feel free to put it back in if you do have access to the article, and the sentence is correct and I am wrong! Lova Falk talk 19:08, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Economics example[edit]

Currently the section "Rational and irrational decision making" says:

In economics, it is thought that if humans are rational and free to make their own decisions, then they would behave according to rational choice theory.[ref name=Schacter]]Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner (2011). Psychology. Worth. pp. 368–370.  ] This theory states that people make decisions by determining the likelihood of a potential outcome, the value of the outcome, multiplying the two, and then choosing the more positive of the two outcomes. For example, with a 50% chance of winning $20 or a 90% chance of winning $10, people are thought to be more likely to choose the first option (.50 X $20 = $10 : .90 X $10 = $9 :: $10 > $9).[ref name=Schacter/]

Sorry, but that's just a ridiculous misstatement of rational choice theory. See for example Expected utility theory. If the cited psychology textbook actually says this, then it's not a reliable source, at least not for statements about rational choice theory. That's why I'm removing the example from the article. Loraof (talk) 19:55, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Not only that, but next it says

In reality, however, there are some factors that affect decision-making abilities and cause people to make irrational decisions, one of them being availability bias. Availability bias is the tendency for some items that are more readily available in memory to be judged as more frequently occurring.[1] For example, someone who watches a lot of movies about terrorist attacks may think the frequency of terrorism to be higher than it actually is.

Well, in rational decision theory that's not considered irrational, since subjective probability can differ from objective probability, and rational behavior is rational given one's perceptions. So I'll change this too. Loraof (talk) 20:13, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Schacter was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Partnoy book[edit]

I recently attempted to add a "Further reading" section with this book:

Frank Partnoy (2013). Wait: The Art and Science of Delay. PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1610392471. 

User:Biogeographist reverted this addition with the edit summary "appears similar to Janis & Mann's Decision Making (1977); if not, add info from book to article body". Wikipedia is supposed to be the first source that people turn to for information on a topic, not the last one. The point of the "Further reading" section is to give readers sources that contain more detail than the article can have, or which have content which is of interest but not appropriate for the article (partisan opinions, official homepages, how-to advice, atlases, galleries, etc.) In this case, the book takes a different and specific angle on the topic than the Wikipedia article, which I thought would make interesting reading. I don't know how similar it is to the cited 1977 book, but even if that is the case, I don't see that as a reason not to list it (or the 1977 book, if that has better information despite being 36 years older) in "Further reading". I don't have any particular claims I wish to add to the article; I'm just hoping to restore this section. -- Beland (talk) 17:25, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

I see your point about the Portnoy book providing more recent information than Janis & Mann's classic book. I don't have any objection to a "Further reading" section in principle, but my other concern is that such a section with only one book in it could give the impression that the book is authoritative on the topic. In fact, I recently added a "Further reading" section with only one item to another article but in that case I think the item truly is authoritative: it is on the same topic as the article, with the same title as the article, in another (but more specialized) encyclopedia, by an expert in the field, published last year. I could find nothing comparable to it. In contrast, popular/trade books on decision making are numerous, and often cover the same ideas already covered in more highly-cited books already mentioned in this article, such as Irving Janis & Leon Mann's Decision Making (5,343 citations on Google Scholar) or Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (9,618 citations on Google Scholar). In contrast, Portnoy's book is cited a mere 18 times on Google Scholar. So it doesn't seem to me that Portnoy's book deserves a section to itself compared to these other giants. However, if you gather a few other books that are notable in the psychology of decision making (and not already cited in this article) and mix Portnoy's book in with them in a "Further reading" section, I see no reasons to object. Biogeographist (talk) 22:14, 10 August 2016 (UTC)


As agreed to in other discussions, this may not have enough notoriety for it's own wikipage, but as a subsection of this page, it is certainly meritorious.GESICC (talk) 02:39, 21 August 2016 (UTC)

The big problem here is that the steps are not verifiable (WP:OR) and User:GESICC, who added the steps, has a close connection to RiskAoA. See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/RiskAoA. I've added Template:Original research section rather than delete it again. Biogeographist (talk) 13:25, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
The steps are inherent in use of the program, easily covered in the verifiable descriptions from the validated source. Elaboration by someone who can put it in context and format of the page is not a crime. GESICC (talk) 13:39, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
"Elaboration" is original research. And when it is done by someone who was involved in creating the item being described, it raises the issues described at WP:PROMOTION: "It can be tempting to write about yourself or projects in which you have a strong personal involvement. However, remember that the standards for encyclopedic articles apply to such pages just like any other. This includes the requirement to maintain a neutral point of view, which can be difficult when writing about yourself or about projects close to you." Biogeographist (talk) 13:54, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Excellent, then review the article yourself, and write down the steps yourself. It's all there: Used to discriminate between alternatives, criteria, inputs, etc.. No original research required, and you could probably improve on this desription. GESICC (talk) 14:33, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
There is nothing even close to the steps listed here in any of the available sources on RiskAoA. There is no way I could synthesize steps like the ones listed here from the article in Defense AT&L magazine, for example. The information is just not there. I think you may be experiencing the curse of knowledge. The other subsections here simply report steps that are explicitly listed in the sources. Biogeographist (talk) 14:56, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
From the Defense AT&L article: the article states what it is for, -step 1. It needs alternatives, step 2, defining what is important to the study, "Critical-etc", for weights, cites "dependent risk" how to, Categories for intrinsic and environmental variables, I just added the Universal based on reviewing the citation, the entries of High medium, low... in short, all the steps are there in the AT&L article. GESICC (talk) 16:06, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
In the Defense AT&L article there's nothing even close to the steps listed here. The article says: "High, Medium, Low, or Negligible inputs are entered into the Catastrophic, Critical, Moderate, and Negligible columns. Note that quantitative assessments can also be entered. The final input—Universal Risk—is the ability of the risk to impact the entire program." These statements are not summarized as steps, and do not correspond to the steps listed in the Wikipedia article. It's not clear that it is necessary to follow a fixed set of steps when using RiskAoA. The decision-making steps listed in the Wikipedia article are original research, just as they would be if I tried to synthesize a completely different set of, say, seven or twelve steps. Biogeographist (talk) 16:38, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
And yet you read it well enough to contradict the entry, and if you desired to, correct it! (Though Crit-etc, are just generic entries, part of the textual and user defined data). Obviously there is good matter there that someone interested could reiterate sans bias. GESICC (talk) 17:30, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Whatever steps are prescribed by RiskAoA are far from "obvious" in the Defense AT&L article. I consider RiskAoA to be out of place in Decision-making § Steps; all the other subsections contain prescriptive steps that are explicitly listed in the sources, whereas such explicit steps are not available for RiskAoA, and can only (with some imagination) be synthesized through an editor's original research. I have no interest in "correcting" (although it would not be a correction, since it would be my own original research!) a section that should not even exist. Biogeographist (talk) 17:53, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
You were able to correct or provide input to it by reading the journal. Explicit is not required. Closed.GESICC (talk) 01:25, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
RiskAoA is out of place here for the reasons given above. I am removing the section on RiskAoA because it is original research and promotion of a software package by the software's creator, whereas this article is supposed to be about the psychology of decision making. Biogeographist (talk) 01:55, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't know why you're removing it. However, it does me no good to promote it, and it does not contain original research. You seem to be dodging and weaving for any reason to remove it, when you demonstrated quite clearly you yourself could extrapolate the process, and you seem unable to accept @MrOllie views on the subject. GESICC (talk) 03:29, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I've provided plenty of reasons above why this section is unacceptable. I absolutely cannot extract the steps that you claim to have extracted from your own published article. From my point of view, you are the one who is "dodging and weaving for any reason" to cite your own work. You have openly admitted at Talk:RiskAoA that you are motivated by "pride" for this software. You seem narrowly focused on using this article to cite your own publication, your own ideas, and the product you helped produce, rather than trying to take a comprehensive, unbiased, scholarly, encyclopedic approach. There are so many excellent sources on the psychology of decision making; if you are serious about improving this article, why don't you cite one of the numerous books available on decision making, instead of proudly citing your own work? Choose a solid text or two written by somebody else that clearly and explicitly prescribes a set of decision-making steps that you find helpful and useful, and write about it. Prove that you can add a contribution that does not involve any conflict of interest or original research, and on which we can reach consensus, by writing about an approach that you hold in high regard but to which you have no personal connection. Put on your scholar's hat and take some time to think about how you could accomplish this. Biogeographist (talk) 04:38, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure where you got the idea that Biogeographist is 'unable to accept' my views on the subject. I fully support his removals here: I do not think that section should be on this article, it has no independent sources. - MrOllie (talk) 13:10, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
It doesn't require independent sources if it is not an actual article. This contradicts what you said immediately below, as far as waiting for whether or not it will be deleted. But that IS consensus. Peace. As far as sources, one was found on Headlights as you recall, and that is one cited here. Highbeam isn't an acceptable? GESICC (talk) 19:20, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
3 days ago I wasn't sure if independent sources would be found. Today, I am convinced that they won't be. And they are required, per WP:WEIGHT. Even if some are found, we still don't have any independent sources here, on this article. The timing doesn't really bother me either way, we're not working on a deadline here. But if Biogeographist wants to remove it now, that is fine, and as someone with a conflict of interest you should not be edit warring to keep it in. Highbeam is a search engine, not a source. - MrOllie (talk) 19:43, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
If the AFD closes as delete due to the lack of independent sources, the references on this page should be removed as well per the policy on due and undue weight. - MrOllie (talk) 14:49, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
Undue weight maybe a elsewhere, but doesn't apply here, it is not the primary topic and references are sufficient. Please review the article for context, especially in light of the other approaches, which are present to rival undue weight. GESICC (talk) 16:12, 21 August 2016 (UTC)