How do managers, politicians and judges make decisions? What are the consequences for the law and for the design of organisations? Are there specific decision-making techniques that can be learned from professional decision-makers? These and other questions like them are investigated in the research group Intuitive Experts, as a collaborative effort of psychologists, lawyers, and economists.
Recent findings in decision research indicate that under certain circumstances individuals are able to make high quality decisions even in highly complex decision tasks and under time pressure (Glöckner & Betsch, 2008, JEP:LMC; Glöckner & Betsch, 2008, OBHDP; Glöckner & Herbold, in press, JBDM). The degree of complexity and the short decision times point to the fact that these decisions are not based on deliberate mathematic calculations. The usage of intuition seems to be a better explanation. But what is intuition? Which cognitive processes does intuition rely on? And under which conditions does intuition lead to good decisions?
Glöckner and Betsch (2008, JDM) propose a parallel constraint satisfaction network model that allows us to exactly simulate intuitive processes and to predict the resulting decisions. Two core proposition of the model are a) that humans are able to efficiently combine intuitive and deliberate cognitive processes to make good decisions, and b) that intuition relies on information structuring processes similar to those used in perception.
Decision experts have learned to make efficient use of these processes (Herbig & Glöckner, 2008, PrePrint). An initial analysis of aspects of German law indicates that parts of the law are already designed to institutionally support these processes (e.g., latitude of judgment; cp. Glöckner, 2007).
The group aims to contribute to psychological scientific advancement by improving our understanding of the interaction between deliberate and intuitive processes in decision-making and by identifying and teaching efficient decision-making strategies (among other things). Furthermore, from the perspective of the legal sciences, the group aims to assess and (if necessary) to suggest ways of optimizing the legal system, taking into account theses results and conducting direct empirical tests concerning legal issues.
Selected Recent Projects (updated 12/2010)
a) Book “Foundations for Tracing Intuition” by Andreas Glöckner & Cilia Witteman (Eds.) (upcoming February, 2010 – order at Amazon)
This book provides theoretical foundations for tracing intuition and gives an overview over recent methods to measure intuition including questionnaires, classic behavioral methods but also more complex measures such as eye-tracking and physiological measures.
b) We recently developed an extended statistical method to test process models for intuition based on Maximum-Likelihood estimation (Glöckner, 2009, JDM; Jekel, Nicklisch & Glöckner, 2010).
c) Tools for decision research can also be used to provide insights into specific decision deficits by clinical patients. We recently investigated the decision behavior of patients with schizophrenia (Glöckner & Moritz
, 2009, JDM).
d) Eye-tracking has been proven to be an extremely useful method to investigate automatic-intuitive processes in decision making (Horstmann, Ahlgrimm, & Glöckner, 2009, JDM; Glöckner & Herbold, in press, JBDM).
e) Voluntary contribution to a public good can be increased by a leader that appears to make a sacrifice with his or her contribution (Glöckner, Irlenbusch, Kube, Nicklisch, & Norman, in press, Economic Inquiry).
f) To solve complex cases jurors have at least partially to rely on their intuition. We have investigated the positive aspects but also the downside of using intuitive-automatic processes and try to answer the question: can we trust intuitive jurors? (Glöckner & Engel
, 2008, PrePrint).
g) The German legal system does not rely on jurors. Lay jurors (“Schöffen”) play an important role instead. We conducted a study to investigate the decision behavior of Lay jurors in Germany.
Some background information have been published in German (Deutsche Publikationen zu rechtlichen Entscheidungen: Glöckner, 2008).
[ Deutsch: In einer umfangreiche Studie untersuchten wir Entscheidungen von Schöffen.
Die Kernergebnisse dieser ersten experimentellen Studie zum Entscheidungsverhalten von Schöffen sind, dass sich Schöffen a) in einigen Persönlichkeitsmerkmalen wie beispielsweise Gerechtigkeitssensitivität aber auch Gewissenhaftigkeit systematisch von der Durchschnittsbevölkerung unterscheiden, ihnen b) systematische Urteilsverzerrungen unterlaufen, die bei unzureichenden Gegenmaßnahmen zu Fehleinschätzungen führen können und sie c) ihre Tätigkeit und die Zusammenarbeit mit den Richtern ausgesprochen positiv einschätzen sowie insgesamt den Gerichten ein sehr gutes Zeugnis ausstellen. Der Forschungsbericht zum Projekt kann hier heruntergeladen werden.
Most recent and upcoming papers are available for free at SSRN.
Max-Planck research groups are a special kind of research body of the Max Planck Society, which allow young researchers to independently investigate important research questions in a team. The group Intuitive Experts is managed by Andreas Glöckner.