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Séminaire: Jugement et prise de décision

  • Teacher(s):  
  • English title: Seminar: Judgment and decision making
  • Course given in: French
  • ECTS Credits:
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2018-2019, 2.0h. course (weekly average)
      WARNING :   this is an old version of the syllabus, old versions contain   OBSOLETE   data.
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  • site web du cours course website
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A central concept for Judgment and Decision Making is Risk. This course looks at various facets that this concept invokes. The first part is devoted to the Psychology of Risk and asks descriptive questions: How do people make decisions in situations characterized by risk and/or uncertainty? What are typical and interesting phenomena? What theoretical approaches exist? The second part is centered around Risk Competencies and asks prescriptive questions: What do you need to know to make better decisions in risky and/or uncertain situations? How can pitfalls be avoided? Naturally, this second part is mostly applied and covers fields such as management, leadership, medicine and social psychology.


The content of this seminar and of our discussions is largely determined by the chapters of Gerd Gigerenzer’s book “Risk Savvy” that we will read together during the semester. Its table of content provides the structure of the seminar, and is reflected in the titles of the sessions:

PART I: The Psychology of Risk
1. Are People Stupid?
2. Certainty Is an Illusion
3. Defensive Decision Making
4. Why Do We Fear What's Unlikely to Kill Us?

PART II: Getting Risk Savvy
5. Mind Your Money
6. Leadership and Intuition
7. Fun and Games
8. Getting to the Heart of Romance
9. What doctors Need to Know
10. Health Care: No Decision About Me Without Me
11. Banks, Cows, and Other Dangerous Things

PART III: Start Early
12. Revolutionize School

Each session (except for the first and the last) is centered around one chapter. For a given session, you will have to read the corresponding chapter and comment on it (written assignment). These comments will build the basis for a class discussion (moderated by you - who will be the moderator will rotate across sessions). In addition, there will be a background paper that is related to the target chapter. Who of you will present this background paper will also rotate across sessions. Most likely, the class discussions will be moderated and the background papers will be presented by two students, but this ultimately hinges on the number of students who will attend the seminar. (for more details, see the section on evaluations, below).


Gerd Gigerenzer (2014). Risk Savvy: How to make good decisions. New York: Viking/Penguin. The book is available on or To give you some time to purchase the book, copies of the first chapters are available on the moodle. All other articles and book chapters that we will also discuss in this seminar are also available on the moodle.


First pre-requisite: Interest in the topic and willingness to actively follow the class and to prepare each session.

Second pre-requisite: You can talk, write and present in English OR French– as you prefer. Most likely, both languages will be used in the classroom and hence you should be able to understand each of them. The book only exists in an English and in a German version (but not in French).

Third pre-requisite: Note that this seminar is closely related to my lecture ("Jugdment and Decision Making"), not only timewise (the lecture is on Wednesday 10:15-11:45 and the seminar is on Wednesday 8:30-10:00) 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 you can follow it without attending the other one.


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  

The grade is determined by multiple components and assignments. First, participation during class over the entire semester (15%). Second, reflections (45%): For a typical session, you will have to read one chapter of the book and provide an input for the discussion during class (about 150-200 words, to be uploaded on the moodle not later than Sunday 23:59 before class). This should NOT be a summary of the chapter, but your own point of view, or a debate on the author’s assertions, or a provocative statement, or related materials that you found elsewhere and that you considered to be useful for a discussion of the chapter content … whatever (each input will be graded and the average of the best 9 grades will be included in the final grade with a weight of 45%). In addition, there are two group assignments. Specifically, third, a presentation of a scientific article related to the chapter discussed in a given session, or an equivalent task (25%). Fourth, moderation of the discussion during class, based on your peers’ input (15%). Each of you has to take over one of these special tasks (i.e., the third and fourth component), but for two different sessions. Both the presentation of an article (third component) and the discussion moderation (fourth component) should be presented to Ulrich Hoffrage (prof) or Konstantinos Armaos (teaching assistant) beforehand and you will receive feedback on your slides and on your presentation before you give it in front of the class. This coaching aims at boosting your soft skills.


Without exam (cf. terms)  

The grades for the first and the fourth component (see above) cannot be changed, but the other components can be replaced by new assignments.

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