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Catalysing Decisions

Applicant Greifeneder Rainer
Number 159445
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Fakultät für Psychologie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.02.2016 - 31.12.2020
Approved amount 442'356.00
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Keywords (5)

Decision Making; Affective and Cognitive Feelings; Psychological Distance; Social Psychology; Social Cognition

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Menschen treffen täglich eine Vielzahl an Entscheiden. Einige davon sind einfach, doch bei anderen fällt die Wahl schwer, zum Beispiel weil jede Entscheidungsalternative Gutes und Schlechtes mit sich bringt. In diesem Forschungsprojekt untersuchen wir, wie in Situationen der Unentschiedenheit das Treffen von Entscheiden unterstützt werden kann. Angelehnt an die Begrifflichkeit in den Naturwissenschaften bezeichnen wir dies als „Katalysieren“ von Entscheiden.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Während der Begriff „Entscheide katalysieren“ auf den ersten Blick stutzig machen mag, sind den meisten Menschen eigene Beispiele bekannt. Unentschieden zwischen zwei Alternativen werfen sie beispielsweise eine Münze—doch wenn diese fällt, sind sie erstaunlicherweise mit dem Ergebnis zufrieden oder nicht, so als wären sie zuvor doch nicht unentschieden gewesen. Auf Ebene psychologischer Prozesse stösst der Münzwurf etwas an (katalysiert den Entscheid), indem er die Perspektive von einer offenen Wahlsituation zu einer konkreten Entscheidung verändert. Dabei kann es zur veränderten Gewichtung von Informationen kommen, und/oder zur stärkeren Berücksichtigung von affektiven und kognitiven Gefühlen. Wir untersuchen, ob und wann diese Veränderungen dazu führen, dass Menschen (gute) Entscheide treffen.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Dieses Projekt leistet Beiträge zur Grundlagen- und Anwendungsforschung in der Sozial- und Entscheidungspsychologie. Es wird untersucht, wie Entscheide trotz Unentschiedenheit erleichtert werden können. Unsere Befunde sind gesellschaftlich relevant, weil Menschen viele Entscheide treffen und dabei häufig zwischen Alternativen mit unterschiedlichen Vor- und Nachteilen unentschieden sind, und weil durch den Aufschub solcher Entscheide hohe Kosten entstehen können (z.B. Altersvorsorge).

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.05.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Solve the dilemma by spinning a penny? On using random decision-making aids
JafféMariela E., DounevaMaria, GreifenederRainer (2020), Solve the dilemma by spinning a penny? On using random decision-making aids, in Judgement and Decision Making, 15(4), 561-571.
Catalyzing decisions: How a coin flip strengthens affective reactions
Jaffé Mariela E., Reutner Leonie, Greifeneder Rainer (2019), Catalyzing decisions: How a coin flip strengthens affective reactions, in PLOS ONE, 14(8), e0220736-e0220736.
Toss and turn or toss and stop? A coin flip reduces the need for information in decision-making
Douneva Maria, Jaffé Mariela E., Greifeneder Rainer (2019), Toss and turn or toss and stop? A coin flip reduces the need for information in decision-making, in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 83, 132-141.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Multi-group research center “Contextualized Decision Making”/University of Mannheim Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Schwarz, Norbert/University of Southern California United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Rieskamp, Jörg/University of Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Mata, Rui/University of Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Trope/NYU United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
diss:kurs – Basler Doktorierende und Post-Doktorierende präsentieren ihre Forschung Talk given at a conference Heads or tails? Coin flips in decision making. 19.11.2020 Basel, Switzerland Douneva Maria;
EASP General Meeting 2020 (postponed) Poster Random suggestions can license self-interested behavior – but for whom? 30.06.2020 Krakow, Poland Douneva Maria;
EASP General Meeting 2020 (postponed) Poster Letting chance help you make a decision: How individuals perceive the use of coin flips as decision-making aids 30.06.2020 Krakow, Poland Jaffé Mariela;
Judgment and Decision Making Preconference at SPSP Annual Convention Poster Random suggestions can license self-interested behavior – but for whom? 27.02.2020 New Orleans, United States of America Douneva Maria;
SPSP Annual Convention Poster Random suggestions license self-interested behavior 27.02.2020 New Orleans, United States of America Douneva Maria;
Society for Judgment and Decision Making Meeting Poster Responsibility and accountability for decisions when flipping a coin 15.11.2019 Montreal, Canada Douneva Maria;
17th Conference of the Social Psychology Section (FGSP) Talk given at a conference Flipping a coin to decide – emotional and behavioral consequences 16.09.2019 Köln, Germany Douneva Maria;
21st ESCON Transfer of Knowledge Conference Talk given at a conference Toss and turn or toss and stop? A coin flip reduces the need for information in decision-making 02.09.2019 Bordeaux, France Douneva Maria;
Social Cognition Preconference at SPSP Annual Convention Poster Are you with me or against me? How flipping a coin impacts thoughts of forfeiture in consumer choices. 07.02.2019 Portland, United States of America Jaffé Mariela;
SPSP Annual Convention Poster Flipping a coin to decide – emotional and behavioral consequences 07.02.2019 Portland, United States of America Douneva Maria;
SPSP Annual Convention Poster Heads or tails? How a coin flip affects the need for further information in decision-making. 01.03.2018 Atlanta, United States of America Douneva Maria;
18. ESCON Transfer of Knowledge Conference Talk given at a conference Donations for pandas and investments in stocks: Catalyzing decisions increases the reliance on feelings 24.08.2016 Lissabon, Portugal Jaffé Mariela;
EASP General Meeting Talk given at a conference Looking at it this way, I feel what I want: Implications of rendering decisions quasi-factual 05.07.2016 Granada, Spain Jaffé Mariela;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Münzwürfe können helfen UNI NOVA - Das Wissenschaftsmagazin der Universität Basel German-speaking Switzerland International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Should You Let the Dice Decide? Psychology Today International 2020
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Don't Leave Your Decision to Chance, Flip a Coin Psychology Today International 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Ein Münzwurf hilft beim Entscheiden (auch wenn man sich nicht dran hält) Watson German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Entscheidungen und Münzwürfe UNI NOVA - Das Wissenschaftsmagazin der Universität Basel International German-speaking Switzerland 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Entscheidungsfindung - Münze werfen hilft! Deutschlandfunk International 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Münzwurf hilft beim Entscheiden studium.at International 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Warum der Münzwurf psychologisch sinnvoll ist Telebasel German-speaking Switzerland 2019

Awards

Title Year
SPSP Graduate Student Poster Award runner-up 2020
Finalist (Top 4) für den ESCON Best Paper Award 2019
Stipendium des Karriereprogramms antelope@university der Universität Basel 2017

Abstract

Individuals are faced with a multitude of decisions every day. Some decisions are clear-cut, but for others, individuals are torn between options. The present project investigates the pioneering notion of catalysing decisions. The term catalysis is borrowed from the natural sciences and is here used in the conceptual meaning of initiating, accelerating, or guiding the selectivity of the decision process. A catalyst is conceived of as a means or setting that renders a decision quasi-factual, that is, as if decided. Examples of catalysts include, but are not limited to: tossing a coin, counting-out rhymes, throwing a dice, considering a decision as already made, etc. While more than one option is usually viable before a decision is made, the catalyst presets a choice and thereby moves the decision from the realm of hypotheticality to the here and now. This change in psychological distance causes critical changes on the level of cognitive construal and of feelings. As a result, content information that existed but was not considered before may come to the forefront; moreover, feelings may be stronger and different in nature. Together these changes allow for a different perspective, which may help to arrive at a decision where individuals were undecided beforehand. The catalytic process is conceptualised to bring about change, which may often, but not invariably, result in better decisions; investigating favourable conditions is therefore critical. The project is structured along four objectives, with emphasis placed on underlying processes and boundary conditions. Using state-of-the-art social cognitive methodology and carefully designed experiments, the project will allow for conceptual contributions within the suggested framework and beyond; moreover, it will offer practical implications, given the many situations in which individuals are undecided, and the costs potentially associated with not deciding.
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