An introduction to current research and theory, asking how should we think, and what, if anything, determines our thinking and how can we improve our thinking and decision-making. The book is intended for students of psychology and education and those disturbed by human irrationality.Beginning with its first edition and through subsequent editions.
Thinking and Deciding has established itself as the required text and important reference work for students and scholars of human cognition and rationality. In this, the fourth edition, Jonathan Baron addressed to the key questions addressed in the previous editions How should we think? What, if anything, keeps us from thinking that way? How can we improve our thinking and decision making? and his expanded treatment of topics such as risk, utilitarianism, Baye’s theorem, and moral thinking. With the student in mind, the fourth edition emphasizes the development of an understanding of the fundamental concepts in judgment and decision making. This book is essential reading for students and scholars in judgment and decision making and related fields, including psychology, economics, law, medicine, and business.”
Jonathan Baron is professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies intuitions and judgment biases that impede maximization of utility (good) by democratic government. These include parochialism, the act-omission distinction, moralistic values, and the isolation effect. Relevant rubrics are Behavioral Public Finance, Behavioral Public Economics, and Behavioral Law and Economics. He is also interested in experimentation and data analysis.
Although exceeding five hundred pages of dense text, this book was hard to put down. Baron surveys a wide variety of research concerning human thought processes. It is written from a psychological perspective, rather than a neurological one, which makes it more practical.
Thinking about actions, beliefs, and personal goals can all be described in terms of a common framework, which asserts that thinking consists of search and inference. We search for certain objects and then we make inferences from and about them.
We search for three kinds of objects: possibilities, evidence, and goals.
1. Possibilities are possible answers to the original question, possible resolutions of the original doubt. Notice that possibilities can come from inside yourself or from outside. (This is also true of evidence and goals.)
2. Evidence consists of any belief or potential belief that helps you determine the extent to which a possibility achieves some goal.
3. Goals are the criteria by which you evaluate the possibilities. Some goals are usually present at the time when thinking begins. Additional goals must be sought.
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