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

Member updates

16 February 2017

Papers

Barbara Summers has had the following paper accepted for publication: Duxbury, Darren & Summers, Barbara (in press), On Perceptions of Financial Volatility in Price Sequences, European Journal of Finance.

Gulbanu Kaptan has had the following two papers accepted:

  • Kaptan G., Fischer A.R.H., & Frewer L.J. Extrapolating understanding of food risk perceptions to emerging food safety cases. Journal of Risk Research.
  • Frewer L.J, Coles D, Dijkstra A.M., Kuznesof S., Kendall H., & Kaptan G. Synthetic biology applied in the agrifood sector: societal priorities and pitfalls. APSTRACT.

Wandi Bruine de Bruin had a paper accepted in the Journal of Economic Psychology, entitled "Measuring expectations of inflation: Effects of survey mode, wording, and opportunities to revise." (with Wilbert van der Klaauw at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Maarten van Rooij and Federica Teppa at the Dutch Central Bank, and Klaas de Vos at Centerdata)

She also had a paper accepted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, entitled "Eliciting probabilistic expectations: Collaborations between psychologists and economists". PNAS has an impact factor of 9.4 and ranks as the fourth journal in the world in the multidisiplinary science category of Incites Journal Citation Reports, after Nature, Science, and Nature Communications. The paper was co-authored with Baruch Fischhoff from Carnegie Mellon University.

Reports

Wandi Bruine de Bruin co-authored the new report released by the US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the topic of "Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda." The report highlights the complexity of effectively communicating about science, especially when dealing with contentious issues, and proposes a research agenda to help science communicators and researchers identify effective methods. (http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=23674&_ga=1.222863259.1213463510.147489301) A presentation of the report, as given at the launch event in Washington DC on 10 January 2017, can be downloaded from http://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/dbassesite/documents/webpage/dbasse_176564.pdf

Research Grants Awarded

Gulbanu Kaptan received a grant from the German Research Foundation as a collaborator, with PI and Co-I’s from the Universities of Pennsylvania (USA) and Konstanz (Germany), and collaborators from the Universities in Brazil, Ghana India, Japan, France, and Mexico to work on a cross-cultural project on Why People eat in a Traditional or Modern Way (€286,180).

EU PROJECT ON IMPROVING EMERGENCY EVACUATIONS: Dr Natalie van der Wal received a 2-year EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (worth ~200k in euros) to work with Prof. Wandi Bruine de Bruin in the Centre for Decision Research and the Leeds University Business School. Dr. van der Wal is currently an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The project will aim to improve speed and survival in emergency evacuations, through the combined insights from agent-based computer modeling, risk communication/decision research, and an advisory board of emergency responders.

Conferences

Wandi gave a presentation at the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement (NETSPAR) International Pension Workshop, Leiden, the Netherlands entitled "Measuring expectations of inflation: Effects of survey mode, wording, and opportunities to revise." (with Wilbert van der Klaauw at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Maarten van Rooij and Federica Teppa at the Dutch Central Bank, and Klaas de Vos at Centerdata)

Other

Wandi gave an invited presentation on ageing and decision-making competence at the University of Huddersfield's Department of Psychology.

Gulbanu Kaptan was an invited speaker at the ESRC funded research seminar series on Food Options Opinions and Decisions (FOOD) that was held in Banbury on 17th January 2017. 

EU Project on Improving Emergency Evacuations

8 February 2017

Dr Natalie van der Wal has received a two-year EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (worth ~200k in euros) to work with Professor Wandi Bruine de Bruin in the Centre for Decision Research and Leeds University Business School.

Dr van der Wal is currently an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The project will aim to improve speed and survival in emergency evacuations, through the combined insights from agent-based computer modeling, risk communication/decision research, and an advisory board of emergency responders. 

Recent highlights

8 December 2016

PUBLICATIONS

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)

CONFERENCES

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'.

OTHER/OUTREACH

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

All News