Making Decisions That Matter: How People Face Important Life Choices

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9780805833973: Making Decisions That Matter: How People Face Important Life Choices

Researchers studying decision making have traditionally studied the phenomenon in the laboratory, with hypothetical decisions that may or may not involve the decision maker's values, passions, or areas of expertise. The assumption is that the findings of these well-controlled laboratory studies will shed light on the important decisions people make in their everyday lives. This book examines that assumption.

The volume begins by covering four basic phases of decision making: setting or clarifying goals, gathering information, structuring the decision, and making a final choice. Comprehensive reviews of existing literature on each of these topics is provided. Next, the author examines differences in decision making as a function of several factors not typically discussed in the literature: the type of decision being made (e.g., legal, medical, moral) and the existence of individual differences in the decision maker (developmental differences, individual differences in style or temperament, differences as a function of expertise). The author then examines the topic of group decision making, contrasting it with individual decision making. The volume concludes with some observations and suggestions for improving peoples' everyday decision making.

This book is intended for use as a core textbook or supplement for courses in psychology, education, or allied disciplines. It will also be an invaluable resource for people who work with people making decisions in various applied settings, such as schools, universities, and health care centers.

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About the Author:

Kathleen M. Galotti holds a B.A. in psychology and economics from Wellesley College, as well as an M.A. and a Ph.D. in psychology and an M.S.E. in computer and information sciences from the University of Pennsylvania. At Carleton College she holds the title Professor and Director of Cognitive Science, an interdisciplinary program, which she helped establish in 1989. She also is a former department chair of Psychology. She teaches courses in cognitive and developmental psychology and cognitive science, and has also taught courses in statistics and introductory psychology. Dr. Galotti is the author or coauthor of dozens of peer-reviewed studies in cognitive and developmental psychology. Her research centers on the development of reasoning and decision-making skills from the preschool period through adulthood and on the styles with which adolescents and adults plan for the future, make important life commitments, and learn new information. Her research has been funded through the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. She is the author of Making Decisions That Matter: How People Face Important Life Choices (Erlbaum, 2002), as well as a textbook, Cognitive Development: Infancy Through Adolescence (SAGE, 2011).

Review:

This is a good short introduction to some of the issues involved in decision making and will be useful to those of us who view this process as an essential clinical issue. Galotti's review of various styles of decision making should prove helpful to the clinician who hopes to assist patients (or ourselves) in making more effective and satisfying decisions.
Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy

...a solid introduction to the field that is comparable in length and treatment to what might be included in the portion of an undergraduate course in cognition that is dedicated to decision making... .a nicely written, brief overview of the field of decision making, this is a great little book for you.
Contemporary Psychology APA REVIEW OF BOOKS

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