1995 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award

Ward Edwards

Wise Decisions, Inc.

The Association for Psychological Science names Ward Edwards as a James McKeen Cattell Fellow in recognition of his sustained and seminal contributions to the technology of decision making and to behavioral decision theory.

Edwards’ early research on the descriptive adequacy of subjective expected utility (SEU) models provided major impetus to the many later studies of human decision competence. Two early literature reviews brought decision making to the attention of psychologists as a topic for behavioral research, and gave behavioral decision theory its name. Edwards brought the Bayesian view of probability to the attention of psychologists and pioneered research comparing human performance with that optimal model. His understanding of the difficult issues in the assessment of multiattribute utilities led to innovations in the technology of utility measurement. His focus since 1970 has been entirely on how to help people who must make difficult real choices. His current research is on the automation of decision technology. Edwards has directed two prominent centers for the study of decision-related issues: The Engineering Psychology Laboratory at the University of Michigan, and the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Southern California.

The James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award in Psychology is given in recognition of his leadership in the study of human capabilities and limitations in decision making, and for his invention of ways to assist decision makers in performing their three key intellectual tasks: evaluation, inference, and choice.