New Research on Judgment and Decision-Making From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research on judgment and decision-making published in Psychological Science and Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Negotiation Topic as a Moderator of Gender Differences in Negotiation

Julia B. Bear and Linda Babcock

Although research has shown that women are less likely to initiate negotiations than men are, research in this area has focused mostly on negotiations of “masculine” issues, such as monetary compensation or legal situations. In this study, the researchers changed a traditionally masculine-centered negotiation task that involved bargaining for the price of motorcycle headlights into one in which participants were negotiating for the price of beads used to make jewelry. The researchers found that women negotiated more poorly than men in the motorcycle scenario but performed as well as men in the bead scenario. This indicates that gender differences in negotiation may depend on the negotiation topic.

Published in the July 2012 issue of Psychological Science

Comparability Effects in Probability Judgments

Timothy J. Pleskac

Support Theory has a strong assumption of independence known as the product rule. This rule indicates that there should be no interaction between the competing hypotheses under consideration. However, researchers are still unsure whether decision makers violate this rule when making subjective probability judgments. Participants were shown sprinting, climbing, or both sprinting and climbing statistics for two bicycle racers and were asked to make probability judgments about who would win a race. The researchers found that when the racers were similar in one trait (e.g., climbing), participants gave more weight to the other trait (sprinting) when making judgments. This suggests a need for a theory of judgment that takes into account people’s comparison of hypotheses.

Published in the August 2012 issue of Psychological Science

The Tiger on Your Tail: Choosing Between Temporally Extended Behaviors

David A. Rosenbaum

Few studies have examined choice relating to temporally extended behaviors — activities that take time. Participants viewed photos of a room set up for a task and were asked to indicate which path around the table in the middle of the room (left or right) would lead them to complete the task the fastest. Researchers found that participants were slower to choose a path when both were of similar lengths and faster to choose a path when they were of obviously different lengths. This is not what would be expected if participants were mentally simulating each path sequentially before making their decisions and suggests that participants chose their paths using a parallel search or sequential-sampling procedure.

Published in the August 2012 issue of Psychological Science

Using Game Theory to Examine Incentives in Influenza Vaccination Behavior

Gretchen B. Chapman, Meng Li, Jeffrey Vietri, Yoko Ibuka, David Thomas, Haewon Yoon, and Alison P. Galvani

What influences an individual’s decision to get vaccinated? In this study, researchers utilized game theory to examine the conditions under which people would choose to get vaccinated. Undergraduate students participated in a computer-based group game in which they were assigned the role of an elderly or a young person and won or lost money based on their vaccination choices. In some instances, a participant’s payout was based on his or her own individual performance and in others it was based on the group’s performance as a whole. Elderly players were more likely to get vaccinated when payoffs were based on the participant’s individual performance, and young people were more likely to get vaccinated when payoffs were based on the group’s performance. These findings suggest that payoff structures may influence people’s vaccination choices.

Published online July 18, 2012 in Psychological Science

It’s All Relative: Sexual Aversions and Moral Judgments Regarding Sex Among Siblings

Debra Lieberman and Adam Smith

For most people, the thought of a sexual relationship with a sibling elicits feelings of intense disgust, but some are not as disgusted by the thought of sibling incest as others. Lieberman and Smith suggest that duration of cohabitation and maternal-infant perinatal associations are two main cues through which siblings are identified. They posit that individuals who do not experience these sibling cues — such as siblings raised apart — might experience lower levels of disgust at sibling incest.

Published in the August 2012 issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science

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