Decision making is usually viewed as involving a period of thought, while the decision maker assesses options, their likely consequences, and his or her preferences, and selects the preferred option. The process ends in a terminating action. In this view errors of thought will inevitably show up as errors of action; costs of thinking are to be balanced against costs of decision errors. Fast and frugal heuristics research has shown that, in some environments, modest thought can lead to excellent action. (...) In this paper we extend this work to situations in which action is taken after little or no thought. We show that these `highly active' or `decision cycles' processes can lead to excellent results at the cost of almost no thought. The paper examines the settings in which this effectiveness is possible, and lists a number of environmental features that are required for decision cycles to work well. Several research directions for analytical, laboratory, and field-based research are identified. (shrink)
This research examines the moderating role of regret aversion in reason-based choice. Earlier research has shown that regret aversion and reason-based choice effects are linked through a common emphasis on decision justification, and that a simple manipulation of regret salience can eliminate the decoy effect, a well-known reason-based choice effect. We show here that the effect of regret salience varies in theory-relevant ways from one reason-based choice effect to another. For effects such as the select/reject and decoy effect, both of (...) which were independently judged to be unreasonable bases for deciding, regret salience eliminated the effect. For the most-important attribute effect that is judged to be normatively acceptable, however, regret salience amplified the effect. Anticipated self-blame regret and perceived decision justifiability consistently predicted preferences and thus offer a parsimonious account of both attenuation and amplification of these reason-based choice effects. (shrink)
Mercier and Sperber (M&S) argue that reasoning has evolved primarily as an adjunct to persuasive communication rather than as a basis for consequential choice. Recent research on decision-related regret suggests that regret aversion and concomitant needs for justification may underpin a complementary mechanism that can, if appropriately deployed, convert M&S's facile arguer into an effective decision maker, with obvious evolutionary advantages.
Regret is often symptomatic of the defective decisions associated with “temporary preference” problems. It may also help overcome these defects. Outcome regret can modify the relative utilities of different payoffs. Process regret can motivate search for better decision processes or trap-evading strategies. Heightened regret may thus be functional for control of these self-defeating choices.