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Dimensions Of Decision-Making Behavior

Estelle Singer, Thornton B. Roby

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Most laboratory research on decision making has been derived from normative theories, whose purpose is to advise the decision maker on what he should do. The present study, however, approached the problem of pinpointing the variables which are most relevant to unguided decision making behavior. A factor analysis was done of a battery of 70 scores which included a wide sample of decision-making behavior and certain cognitive and personality measures. The decision behavior was obtained in a variety of laboratory tasks designed to measure different traits. The cognitive and personality measures were included to help clarify the behavior represented by each factor. Eight oblique, but nearly orthogonal, factors were obtained: (1) readiness to make distinctive or informationally more certain responses, (2) intellectual passivity, (3) rational, active approach to new problems, (4) formation of sound concepts, combined, in decision making, with mimicry of the outcomes of prior events, (5) pessimism, with unstructured or global responses, (6) constrictive rigidity when required to make too many decisions in a short time, (7) consideration of each decision element independently, with active search for information and (8) contemplative appreciation of the structure of events.