Most theories of choice are """"""""consequentialist"""""""", in the sense that they assume human choice behavior to be determined by the subjective value of potential consequences. The present project is concerned with people's internal conflict in choice and judgement. It posits that people's decision behavior is the result not simply of a concern for value- maximization but is, instead, guided by the need to increase subjective confidence and resolve the conflict inherent to the decision making situation. We suggest that people are """"""""non-consequentialist"""""""", in the sense that they frequently behave in ways that are incompatible with a prevailing focus on the value of consequences. The research is organized under the major topics of choice and judgment. Various choice-situations are investigated that explore people's reluctance to choose in situations of conflict, and their willingness to wait or pay for information that has no bearing on their preference, but may increase their confidence in making the choice. Their concern with conflict and confidence, moreover, is predicted sometimes to lead people to choose in ways that are inconsistent with their actual preferences. A preoccupation with internal conflict is assumed to contribute to a somewhat cursory evaluation of the actual consequences. This, in turn, leads to inappropriate estimates in judgmental situations. Diverse choice and judgment situations will be investigated in a variety of ways. Among other methods, subjects' responses to hypothetical questions, computer generated situations, and actual choice scenarios will be collected. An understanding of the role of internal conflict in choice and judgment, it is argued, may shed light on other, well-known phenomena in game theory, reasoning, judgment and decision making is presented. The research is intended to shed light on important psychological factors that guide human judgement, decision making, and reasoning. It may thus contribute both to the improvement of decision making practices in general, and in the medical field in particular, as well as to an increased understanding of aberrant behaviors related to decision making, judgment, and reasoning.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
First Independent Research Support & Transition (FIRST) Awards (R29)
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Cognition, Emotion, and Personality Research Review Committee (CEP)
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Princeton University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Downs, J S; Shafir, E (1999) Why some are perceived as more confident and more insecure, more reckless and more cautious, more trusting and more suspicious, than others: enriched and impoverished options in social judgment. Psychon Bull Rev 6:598-610
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