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Cognitive processes, models and metaphors in decision research

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Author(s): Ben Newell | Arndt Broder

Journal: Judgment and Decision Making
ISSN 1930-2975

Volume: 3;
Issue: NA;
Start page: 195;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: cognitive models | modeling | metaphors.NAKeywords

ABSTRACT
Decision research in psychology has traditionally been influenced by the extit{homo oeconomicus} metaphor with its emphasis on normative models and deviations from the predictions of those models. In contrast, the principal metaphor of cognitive psychology conceptualizes humans as `information processors', employing processes of perception, memory, categorization, problem solving and so on. Many of the processes described in cognitive theories are similar to those involved in decision making, and thus increasing cross-fertilization between the two areas is an important endeavour. A wide range of models and metaphors has been proposed to explain and describe `information processing' and many models have been applied to decision making in ingenious ways. This special issue encourages cross-fertilization between cognitive psychology and decision research by providing an overview of current perspectives in one area that continues to highlight the benefits of the synergistic approach: cognitive modeling of multi-attribute decision making. In this introduction we discuss aspects of the cognitive system that need to be considered when modeling multi-attribute decision making (e.g., automatic versus controlled processing, learning and memory constraints, metacognition) and illustrate how such aspects are incorporated into the approaches proposed by contributors to the special issue. We end by discussing the challenges posed by the contrasting and sometimes incompatible assumptions of the models and metaphors.

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