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Judgment and Decision Making

  • Teacher(s):   U.Hoffrage  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 3 credits
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2021-2022, 2.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Bachelor (BSc) in Economic Sciences

    Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Management
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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 the 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 list of topics looks as follows (subject to change):

  • Introduction
  • 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 on moodle.

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.



Note that this lecture is closely related to my other class ("Risk Savvy"), not only timewise (JDM is on Wednesday 08:30-10:00 and Risk Savvy is on Wednesday 10:15-11:45 Swiss time) but also content-wise. However, the two courses differ drastically in terms of the teaching method. While JDM is teaching ex-cathedra, Risk Savvy 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 attendance is possible even if you do not attend the other.

- Corona and Attendance: Two central concepts for judgment and decision making are risk and uncertainty. The corona pandemic serves as an excellent example that stresses the importance of these two concepts: People can get SARS-Cov-2 (risk) and no one knows how the measure will continue and how this will affect this course (uncertainty). At the moment, the plan is to begin with in-campus lectures – but this hinges on the policy that will be set and communicated by our authorities. Such sessions will also be streamed online. This way you can decide whether to enter the classroom or whether you follow the sessions on zoom. Depending on the corona situation, we might be forced to go fully online at some point during the semester. Irrespective of the corona situation, each session will be recorded, and videos will be made available on the moodle, independent of whether the session will be in an auditorium, with some students being physically present, or whether it will take place online only. 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 08:30-10:00.


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  

The final grade will be determined exclusively by three assignments that will be delivered during the semester. In each of these assignments, your understanding of the units (except for the first) will be tested by a set of questions for which you will have 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 the first assignment, you will have one week, for the second you have two weeks, and for third you have three weeks’ time. The final grade will be determined by the weighted average of the three assignments (where the weights are the points that can maximally be achieved in these assignments).

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


Without exam (cf. terms)  

In case your weighted average of the three assignments results in a failing grade, you will have to deliver a retake assignment that will cover all the material.

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