10 1 discussion decision making

Think of recent decisions you have had to make. They could be something big, for example, related to your education or career, or something simpler, like finding a place to eat. Select two decisions that you have made using different processes, and describe those decisions using terms from this week’s readings. For example, did you use heuristics for one decision and deductive reasoning for another? Address the strengths and weaknesses of your decision-making process and the outcomes of your decisions in terms of what theories of cognitive psychology tell us about how humans make decisions. If you were to apply foundational theories of decision making to your process, how would it help or hinder your ability to make decisions?

In your responses to your peers, use information from the module content to suggest alternative decision-making processes or methods that your peer could have used.

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.



In our everyday lives we are faced with decisions. Some of these are huge decisions that take a lot of mental effort, time, and research, while others are small enough that we could probably just flip a coin to make said decision. For this discussion, two decisions that I have had to make in my life are A) where to move, and B) what car should we buy.

For example, A) where to move, is a huge decision that me and my husband must make every few years. He is in the Army and every 2-3 years we are faced with the process of deciding where our next duty station might be. Lucky for us, we have always been given the opportunity to choose. Sometimes in the Army, it isn’t a choice. We made a choice for our family 2 years ago to move to Charlotte, NC. Our time is coming in the next few months to look into our options and decide what our next move will be. For this type of decision making, I think the best approach is the normative model. According to McBride & Cutting (2019), the “first step is to break the decision down into all of the independent criteria, and then weigh each criterion according to how important it is to the decision (p. 335). After completing those steps, it is important to then list all of the options and rate them according to the list of criteria. There are a lot of factors that my family has to consider when making a big decision like this. We are usually given a list of available places that my husband can go to. So that narrows it down a little bit for us. Most of the time we may have 5 or 6 places to choose from. I then start looking at the biggest factors for our family, such as medical/school needs for myself and children, weather, deployment rates, and how far away we will be from our families. We start by making like a pros and cons list and weigh each of the options and research the area of each military base and what they have to offer. It sounds much simpler when I write this out, but this is a very daunting task.

For example, B) what car should we buy, is something that we are looking at in the near future. We really are using the same approach, the normative model, for this decision as well. Because we are a family of five, with growing boys (heading into teenage-hood), we want something bigger than what we currently own. This narrows down our search to mid-large size SUV’s. We then take into consideration, gas mileage, the cost of the vehicle, the safety ratings, seating amount, etc. We then make out our list of criteria and compare them across a list of favorite vehicles.

When doing some further reading in our textbook, I noticed that heuristics are like mental shortcuts we use to make the decision making process a little faster. For my example of buying a new car, I think we also use heuristics, specifically the availability bias. This is a big factor when shopping and seeing what is actually available at the car dealership. There are always tools online to build your own car and have it ordered, but there is something about instant gratification that draws people to purchase what is right in front of them. This is another reason I prefer to go to an actual store and shop versus shopping online. There are strengths and weaknesses to all decision-making processes. I think the strengths in my cases are that I am taking my time to do research and coming to a conclusion that benefits my entire family. However, no place or car is going to be perfect and there are going to be cons to each that I will have to outweigh and hope that they aren’t as problematic in our future. Looking back at past places we have lived and the decisions we have made, I am happy that we made the choices that we did. While there are some places that we would never want to live again, they all had something positive that we took from there. These decision-making theories help my family to make big choices in life. Looking back at our past decision-making process, I can see that if we continue to utilize this method, we will come out with a great choice.


McBride, D.M., & Cutting, J.C. (2019). Cognitive Psychology: theory, process, and methodology. SAGE. Thousand Oaks, C.A.


When making decisions in my life I tend to be different from what the book discussed. For example, in the Watson’s four card check I would start with the easiest quickest solution and flipped the “A” and “4” card because this would be the quickest solution and easiest way to add validity or not add validity to the hypothesis. If flipping these two cards over proved true, then I would flip the “7” card over to show more proof of the hypothesis, and see that according to the text, that why this isn’t completely wrong, it is not the best way to go. I look at things in a monetary value versus monetary costs. If a store is selling a product for $5 less than another store, then I will get it if the stores are in close proximity to each other. If I have to go through 2 stoplights, sit in traffic, stand in line, and have to deal with other “stress” to save $5, then I will not save myself the $5 because in my mind I am really only saving a $1 just to go through all of that. To apply a theory from the book, I would say that casual reasoning would be one solution I use in making a decision.

I look at the cause-effect relationship between saving myself a few bucks just to deal with all the other “stress” or not. Like when I go to a store and I see a product that has 40% than another competition, I like at the size(s) of the products and if that is the same and it is only $.40 less, then I will stick with my what I came for. Two years ago I had an old Pontiac that needed some repairs and the repairs were going to cost more than the value of the car, so my wife and I (girlfriend at the time) had to decide between a used car or a new car. I was all for a used car because we had just recently gotten together but she said a new car would be better because it would save money if the vehicle needed repairs or something was wrong with it especially with the lemon laws they have now. So in that situation we used counterfactual thinking because the cost of new car would be better in the end for something “…that could have happened but haven’t” (McBride & Cutting, 2019).

Two years ago I was attending a local university and was having to travel almost 2 hours to get there because of time change (central to eastern time zone) and some days I would only have one class, so had to decide if the travel almost two hours to get there and 45 minutes to get back, was worth it. I get the GI Bill for school was getting monthly payments but looking between what I got traveling back and forth versus attending online school, we would save money. Attending the university campus I was getting $1,300 a month and with online school I get almost $900, and the difference in cost was gas I was using to travel back and forth between home and the campus. I was filling my car up twice to three times a week at about almost $35-40 every time. So using Inductive reasoning, it was cheaper for me to attend online school.

Honestly, if I used the theories from this week’s reading, I think it would hinder my decision making ability because I use what works for me. Like I mentioned above with the Watson 4-card experiment, I would flip over to the two “easier” cards versus doing all the extra work to prove or validate a theory. For many decisions I think of things in a sense of how much will it cost me further down the road versus at that moment in time. My wife and I are about to have our first child, my third because have two with my ex-wife, but when buying products for the baby we looked at things in the way we would save money in the long run. Where we live there is not much in shopping, so once a quarter we go down to Green Bay and hit Sam’s club and spend lots of money because we stock up on things but in the long run we save money because we are not running to the store to get things like toilet paper, toothpaste, or other little things like that that can get expensive when you are having buy them multiple times in a 3 months time frame. Between deductive and inductive reasoning, I would say that I use inductive reasoning because even if something is the latest and greatest thing I don’t get in to the hype but conduct my own research before I believe something.


McBride, D.M., & Cutting, J.C. (2019). Cognitive Psychology: theory, process, and methodology. SAGE. Thousand Oaks, C.A.

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