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Deliberation and implementation activity in forced-choice decision making environments: variations in information processing within a neurocognitive framework

Humann, Michael (2011) Deliberation and implementation activity in forced-choice decision making environments: variations in information processing within a neurocognitive framework. Doctoral thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

This thesis examined decision making in the context of forced-choice situations, as characterised by high-risk consequences and time-limited conditions, within an experimental decision paradigm. By mapping onto basic decision-making stages relating to evaluation, deliberation and implementation of a choice, this research looks at how environmental conditions (emotion) and information (advice) affect cognitive processing in forced-choice or “do or don’t” scenarios. In order to identify these variations on a more fundamental level, a methodological framework was developed, which incorporates neurocognitive, behavioural and qualitative measures. Results identified the distinct sequence of cognitive processes as predicted from basic decision-making models. When individuals lacked any meaningful information to assist in solving the tasks, their responses varied based on the consequential conditions they faced, leading to an accelerated engagement with the decision and faster response, the riskier the outcome. On the other hand, when information was available during the task, differences in responses followed predictions about information processing and cognitive effort required for the different levels of clarity. Here, the consequential conditions did not affect performance, as individuals prioritised the information available. Further, when solving a task lacking any meaningful information on which to base their choice, individuals still engaged in redundant deliberation. Taken together, the research suggests that outcome uncertainty and task ambiguity have a demonstrable effect on the decision-making process. This research, incorporating neurocognitive measures, showed a robust framework to advance current understanding about the interplay of affecting factors and basic decision-making processes. Providing an additional reference, this approach contributes to a more in-depth picture of underlying processes.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Science > Department of Psychology
Status:Unpublished
ID Code:5653
Deposited On:09 Aug 2012 12:12
Last Modified:09 Aug 2012 12:12

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