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

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.

Professor Wandi Bruine de Bruin gives presentation at the University of Trieste

2 November 2016

Professor Wandi Bruine de Bruin gave a presentation on 24 October at the University of Trieste's Department of Life Sciences, on the topic of "Behavioural decision making approaches to developing effective communications".

Professor Bruine de Bruin also met with CDR member Alessia Rosi for a project meeting with Fabio Del Missier, associate professor, who has research interests in general psychology, psychobiology, and psychometrics at Trieste.

CDR members’ paper is tenth most accessed

10 October 2016

A paper written by Andrea Taylor (first author), Wandi Bruine de Bruin and Suraje Dessai was the tenth most accessed paper on the Risk Analysis website during 2015.

The paper – “Climate change beliefs and perceptions of weather-related changes in the United Kingdom” (2014) – is available to view online. You can see the full list of most accessed papers on the Wiley Online Library website.

Andrea has also had a new paper accepted: Otto J, Brown C, Buontempo C, Doblas-Reyes F, Jacob D, Juckes M, Keup-Thiel E, Kurnik B, Schulz J, Taylor AL et al. (In Press). Uncertainty: Lessons learned for climate services. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. (Impact factor: 7.929)

Dinos Hadjichristidis has had a paper accepted for publication in Journal of International Business Studies, ABS 4. The paper - "How foreign language affects decisions: Rethinking the brain drain model" - is co-authored with Janet Geipel and Luca Surian.

Economic psychology: the science of economic mental life and behaviour. Wiley: Chichester, (in the British Psychological Society Textbook series), edited by Rob Ranyard, has gone into production for publication in 2017, with chapters by Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Simon McNair, Cäzilia Loibl and Rob Ranyard.7.929

Andrea gave a talk at the International Conference on Climate Science and Climate Services in Exeter this month entitled: “Communicating Confidence and Uncertainty in Seasonal Forecasts”.

She also presented “Validating Communication: A test of strategies for communicating uncertainty in seasonal climate prediction” with Suraje Dessai at the European Meteorological Society Annual Conference in Trieste, Italy, in September.

Hannah Preston, who provides administrative and communications support for the Centre for Decision Research, has been promoted to Research Support Officer.

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