Project Bröder

"Intuitive" and "deliberate" processes in decision making from memory

Decisions based on information in memory have been shown to differ from those based on information visually present during the decision process. In memory-based decisions, people use simpler heuristics, or even dispense with cue-based rules and use exemplar-based strategies instead (Bröder & Schiffer, 2003, 2006; Bröder, Newell, & Platzer, 2010). A framework assuming two capacity "bottlenecks", knowledge acquisition and knowledge application, has been partly validated in recent work. If cue abstraction during knowledge acquisition is difficult, participants tend to rely on exemplar rather than rule knowledge. If working memory load is high during knowledge application, i.e. decision making, simple rather than complex cue-based strategies are used. Branches 1 and 2 of the proposed project aim at refining and validating this framework. Branch 1 aims at formally modeling the learning processes operating at the first "bottleneck". This will effectively dispense with the oversimplified notion of a rule-exemplar dichotomy which has sometimes also been viewed as a dichotomy between an "intuitive" versus a "deliberate" system. Branch 2 investigates working memory load as a potential explanation for conflicting results in the literature. Glöckner and Hodges (2011) recently found compensatory decision making in memory-based decisions, which they labeled intuitive, whereas earlier studies mostly found simple non-compensatory and sequential rule-based strategies. Investigating factors affecting the framework's presumed second "bottleneck" may illuminate these apparent conflicts. Finally, elaborating the second "bottleneck" leads to a straightforward alternative interpretation of Dijksterhuis' (2004) notion of "unconscious thinking". This alternative explanation will be addressed in Branch 3.



Prof. Dr. Arndt Bröder

Chair of Experimental Psychology, University of Mannheim

Tel: +49 (0) 621 181 2137

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Dr. Michael Gräf

Chair of Experimental Psychology, University of Mannheim

Tel: +49 (0) 621 181 3098

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Student Research Assistants:

Ariane Dallmann

Leslie Melchiors


Research groupPublicationsActivitiesSummer School 2015Small Group Meeting 2017