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Judgment and Decision Making

  • Teacher(s):   U.Hoffrage  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 3 credits
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2020-2021, 2.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Management

    Bachelor (BSc) in Economic Sciences
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Good judgment and decision making skills are important, both in private and professional life. Not doubting that making wise decisions can be considered an art, the present course focuses on the scientific aspects. The goal is to equip students with an overview of major paradigms in judgment and decision making research, including both interesting phenomena and theoretical frameworks.


We start with historical foundations of behavioral decision making, then (critically) discuss some common judgmental biases and decision traps, have a closer look at models of bounded rationality and at decisions under uncertainty and risk, and finally cover some applications. Specifically, the course consists of the following units (subject to change):


History and Foundations

Heuristics and Biases

Heuristic and Biases Revisited

Fast and Frugal Heuristics as Models of Bounded Rationality

Preferential Choices under Risk

Some Selected Phenomena and Applications


All materials can be downloaded from the course page. For the slides, two parallel versions exist (one in English, one in French; though the French set may contain some English pages). The literature (journal articles, book chapters) that is relevant for the assignments is exclusively in English.


No pre-requisits.

Corona and Attendance: Two central concepts for judgment and decision making are risk and uncertainty. The current pandemic serves as an excellent example that stresses the importance of these two concepts: People can catch SARS-CoV-2 (risk) and no one knows how the measure will continue and how this will affect this course (uncertainty). At the moment, it seems we will start online-only. The zoom link will be provided on the course page on moodle. Maybe we will turn to classroom session on campus later during the semester.

To allow for some planning security, it will be possible to get credits for this course without entering a classroom, this means, physical presence will be at no point in time required. Even if I will, from some point on, give the lecture in the classroom, it will be in a hybrid format, that is, with online streaming. Moreover, the zoom sessions will be recorded (*) and the videos will be made available via the moodle page, independent of whether it will be an online session only, or a hybrid session (with me plus some students in an HEC auditoire). This means, you can follow the course even if you would never come to the campus, and even if you cannot attend the sessions on Wednesday 8:30-10:00.

(* The recordings will be done with speaker's view, that is, only my face will be visible next to the slides - or the face of the student who raises a question or provides an answer to a question that i may pose during the lecture.)

Note that this lecture is closely related to my other class ("Jugdment and Decision Making - Seminar"), not only timewise (the lecture is on Wednesday 8:30-10:00 and the seminar is on Wednesday 10:15-11:45) but also contentwise. While the lecture is teaching ex-catedra, the seminar is highly interactive and hinges on your input and contribution with lots of discussions that deepen your learning. Taking both courses is recommended, but each is designed such that attendence is possible even if you do not attend the other.


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  

The final grade will be determined exclusively by assignments. For each unit (except for the first), your understanding will be tested by a set of questions for which you will to upload your answers on the moodle. Most questions will be open questions with word limits for your answers. You will, for instance, be asked to explain concepts, summarize theories in your own words, provide examples, comment on texts, make (and justify) predictions, discuss statements. For each of these assignments, you will have one week time.

Language: The questions will be in English only, but your answers can be in English or in French.


Without exam (cf. terms)  

In case you fail the first attempt, all assignments need to be redone, but these will have some new and some modified questions.

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