Irrational, Biased or Predictable? How Do We Make Decisions? - Professor Ben Newell

What is this research about?

How many decisions have you made today? Do you like to be risky or play it safe? Do you always want things now or do you sometimes wait for (possibly) better things later? What makes a decision ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’? Should we deliberate or ‘go with our gut’ and let our unconscious decide for us?

In this work explore a range of factors that affect our decision making and develop psychological and computational accounts of how and why we do the things we do.

Other researchers involved:

Dr Chris Donkin
A/Prof Dan Navarro
Prof Brett Hayes
Dr Emmanouil Konstantinidis
Dr Don van Ravenzwaaij

Publications relating to this research:


Newell, B.R., Lagnado, D.A. & Shanks, D.R (2015). Straight Choices: The Psychology of Decision Making. Second Edition. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Journal Articles:

Newell, B.R. & Shaw,B. (in press). Priming risky choice: Do risk preferences need inferences? Journal of Behavioural Decision Making.

Navarro, D.J., Newell, B.R., & Schulze, C. (2016). Learning and choosing in an uncertain world: An investigation of the explore-exploit dilemma in static and dynamic environments. Cognitive Psychology, 85,43-77.

Schulze, C., & Newell, B. R. (2015). Compete, coordinate, and cooperate: How to exploit uncertain environments with social interaction. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 967-981.

Newell, B.R. (2015). Wait! Just let me NOT think about that for a minute: What role do implicit processes play in higher level cognition? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 65-70.

Guney, S. & Newell, B.R. (2015). Overcoming ambiguity aversion through experience. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 28, 188-199.

Newell, B.R., & Shanks, D.R. (2014). Unconscious influences on decision-making: A critical review. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37, 1-63.

Camilleri, A.R. & Newell, B.R. (2011). When and why rare events are underweighted: A direct comparison of the sampling, partial feedback, full feedback and description choice paradigms. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 337-384.

Current Funding:

ARC Discovery Projects DP160101186 (with Dr Chris Donkin) and DP140101145 (with Dr Don van Ravenzwaaij).



To find out more about this research, please contact Professor Ben Newell