This inaugural Strüngmann Forum Report explores the human ability to make decisions, consciously as well as without conscious control. It explores decision-making strategies, including deliberate and intuitive; explicit and implicit; processing information serially and in parallel, with a general-purpose apparatus, or with task-specific neural subsystems. The analysis is at four levels—neural, psychological, evolutionary, and institutional—and the discussion is extended to the definition of social problems and the design of better institutional interventions. The results presented differ greatly from what could be expected under standard rational choice theory and deviate even more from the alternate behavioral view of institutions. New challenges emerge (for example, the issue of free will) and some purported social problems almost disappear if one adopts a more adequate model of human decision making.
List of Contributors: Robert Boyd, Anne K. Churchland, Jonathan D. Cohen, Peter Dayan, Stanislas Dehaene, Merlin Donald, Christoph Engel, Gerd Gigerenzer, Paul W. Glimcher, Andreas Glöckner, Werner Güth, Peter Hammerstein, Timothy D. Hanks, Reid Hastie, Eric J. Johnson, Christian Keysers, Roozbeh Kiani, Robert Kurzban, Mark Lubell, Stefan Magen, Kevin McCabe, Richard M. McElreath, Gail McKoon, Randolf Menzel, Elizabeth Phelps, Hilke Plassmann, Michael Platt, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Roger Ratcliff, Peter J. Richerson, Arthur Robson, Bettina Rockenbach, Jonathan W. Schooler, Lael J. Schooler, Reinhard Selten, Michael N. Shadlen, Tania Singer, Wolf Singer, Elizabeth Spelke, Jeffrey R. Stevens, Julia Trommershäuser, Elke U. Weber.
Photographie: U. Dettmar
Additional support is gratefully acknowledged from the German Science Foundation (DFG), the City of Frankfurt, and the Dresdner Bank.
"An impressive, fascinating, and even amazing book. Among scholars and the general public, there is mounting interest in the unconscious mind and its implications for private and public institutions; this is the state-of-the-art treatment."
Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor, Law School and Department of Political Science, University of Chicago