What is Decision Research?

Left to right: Barbara Summers, Andrea Taylor, Yasmina Okan, Simon McNair, Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Richard Hodgett, Alan Pearman and Gulbanu Kaptan
Centre for Decision Research

Decision Research focuses on the way individuals, groups and organisations make decisions. It involves perspectives that are:

  • Descriptive - why and how decisions are made the way they are,
  • Normative - how decisions should be made in some ideal sense, and
  • Prescriptive - how can decision making be made more effective.

It is concerned with how people make judgments and take decisions, particularly in situations involving risk and uncertainty. The research has provided important insights into how and why people do what they do, why they make mistakes that can lead to poor outcomes for themselves and their organisations, and how we can use this knowledge to help them do it better.

Theories and findings from decision research have been applied extensively in such areas as political science, finance, marketing, health, medicine, management and the law. These applications have provided important insights into how decisions are taken in these areas, some of the errors and mistakes made by people, including experts, and how to improve these decisions.

The Centre

Founded in March 1996, the Centre brings together researchers from across the University of Leeds, and other local Universities, who have an interest in human decision making. Its strong multi-disciplinary focus has led to research collaborations across a wide range of disciplines e.g. Computer Studies, Business and Management, Psychology, Philosophy, Transport Studies, Health Studies, Medicine, Civil Engineering, Geography, Law, Education. Despite the different fields of application, much of this work is based on a broadly shared theoretical and methodological core.

Members of the Centre carry out a broad range of research, much of it funded externally, publish extensively in academic journals, edited books and practitioner journals, as well as presenting at major national and international conferences. 

Latest News

Recent highlights

8 December 2016


Sajid Siraj has had two papers accepted for publication:

  • “NS-2 Based Simulation Framework for Cognitive Radio Sensor Networks”, Wireless Networks, Springer (ISSN:1022-0038)
  • “PRACB: A Novel Channel Bonding Algorithm for Cognitive Radio Sensor Networks”, IEEE Access, IEEE (ISSN:2169-3536)


Wandi Bruine de Bruin chaired a tribute to Baruch Fischhoff at the Society for Judgment and Decision Making conference in Boston, which included Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, Maya Bar-Hillel, Ruth Beyth-Marom, Lisa Schwartz, Steven Woloshin, and others. Wandi received her PhD while working with Baruch (see picture to the right). Video and photos of the event will be shared on the Centre for Decision Research website soon.

Wandi chaired a session on cognitive ageing at the Psychonomic Society conference in Boston, in which she presented a paper entitled "Choosing to be happy? Age differences in ‘maximizing’ decision strategies and experienced emotional well-being."

Wandi gave a presentation on "developing communications for ageing audiences" at the 11th Annual Pension Conference in London. She also gave a presentation on ageing and decision making at the University of Maastricht Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement (NETSPAR) conference on “Engaging pension plan participants: Challenges and insights.”

Yasmina Okan presented the poster 'Biasing and debiasing health decisions with bar graphs: Costs and benefits of graph literacy' (with Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Edward Cokely, and Antonio Maldonado) at the 37th Annual Conference of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making in Boston, US, in November.

At the same conference, Simon McNair presented: 'Age effects in moral judgment: Older adults are more deontological than younger adults' (Authors: Simon McNair, Yasmina Okan, Constantinos Hadjichristidis, Wändi Bruine de Bruin). A paper was also presented at the conference which was co-authored by Yasmina and Wandi (as well as Jonathan Parillo, Eric Stone, and Andrew Parker) -  'When context matters: The impact of different probability sizes and risk reductions on graphical display effects'.


Wandi gave a presentation on ageing and decision making at the Leicester Secular Society.

Two undergraduate students working with Barbara Summers and Bridgette Bewick (Leeds Institute of Health Sciences) have had their work presented at the 2016 Annual Symposium of the Society for the Study of Addiction. Gergana Genova (Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship) and Luke Turner (Q-STEP placement) both did work on the concept of digital addiction and how students conceptualize problem online use. This work was also part of a presentation by Bridgette Bewick at the ESRC seminar series on this topic. Gergana’s poster was highly commended by the poster judges, which is a great achievement for a first year undergraduate.

  • Genova, G.P., Bewick, B.M., and Summers, B. Student Perceptions of Digital Addiction, SSA Annual Symposium 2016
  • Turner, L., Bewick, B.M., Summers, B, Bryant, L. Student Perceptions of Digital Addiction: Q Study, SSA Annual Symposium 2016

The Effects of Time Pressure on Managerial Decision Making

8 December 2016

Emeritus Professor and Centre for Decision Research member, John Maule, gave a presentation on the effects of time pressure on managerial decision making.

Conferences and blog posts

11 November 2016

Alan Pearman gave an invited paper at the European Road Infrastructure Congress held at the Armouries in Leeds, 18th – 20th October 2016.  His paper was entitled ‘Two hundred and forty-four years of decision research in Leeds: is our road infrastructure any the better?’.

Barbara Summers gave an invited talk entitled - “What’s my motivation?” - at the 3rd Motivation & Self-Control Symposium held at Cologne in October. The talk looked at the difficulties in understanding others’ motivations and their model of the world.

Wandi Bruine de Bruin gave an invited seminar on environmental communications at the University of Trieste, Department of Life Sciences, Trieste, Italy (see previous post for photo). She also gave an invited seminar on ageing and decision making at the University of Essex, Department of Psychology, Colchester, UK.

Wandi was an invited participant and discussant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Conference on Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics, Cleveland OH, US. 

Mirta Galesic and Wandi Bruine de Bruin wrote a blog post about their research on polling for the US election, which was published via the University of Southern California's The Evidence Base and was reposted on the Leeds University Business School Research and Innovation Blog.

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