Psychology of Decisions

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course provides a fundamental understanding of the processes related to human decision both in daily life and in professional fields. The student will learn the psychological, cognitive and neuropsychological mechanisms that influence individual and group decision-making. During the lessons, normative and descriptive theories of decision-making will be analyzed and discussed. The program will focus on bounded rationality by Herbert Simon, and heuristic and bias paradigm by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky to explain the psycho-cognitive architecture of choice.
Expected learning outcomes
After completing this course, the student:
- will be acquired the fundamental knowledge and expertise on normative and descriptive theories on judgement and decision-making;
- will be acquired a understanding of the psycho-cognitive and social mechanisms behind to decision-making, both at individual and group level;
- will be able to analyze and discuss advanced issues in contemporary research on decision-making and their potential applications in real world;
- will be able to analyze in critically way theories and empirical methods used in the decision-making field;
- will have developed strong theoretical knowledge and reasoning skills about decision-making processes in different application domains.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
o Introduction to the psychology of decision-making
o Psychology of decision-making and uncertainty
o Introduction to the Normative Theories
o The notion of Expected Value
o The Theory of the Expected Utility
o The violations of the theory of the expected utility
o The Bounded Rationality
o Introduction to the Descriptive Theories
o The Prospect Theory: value function and probability weighting function
o The Framing Effect
o Heuristics and biases
o Decision-making and risk perception
o The role of the emotions in decision-making
o Counterfactual reasoning and regret
o The mental accounting: the endowment effect
o Group decision-making
o The decision-making in real word and in different contexts
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge is needed.
Teaching methods
Lectures, presentation of multimedia materials and journal articles related to the psychology of decision.
Teaching Resources
o Kahneman D. (2012). Pensieri lenti e veloci. Mondadori: Milano.
o Capitolo 10 - "Decision-making e fallacie cognitive" di Ketti Mazzocco e Gabriella Pravettoni. In Pravettoni G., "Psicologia Cognitive. Dalla teoria alla pratica. Mondadori: Milano. 2018
o Ulteriore materiale bibliografico verrà comunicato dal docente a inizio corso.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written exam with multiple choices.
M-PSI/01 - GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Educational website(s)