Behavioral decision theory

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Behavioral decision theory



Alternate name(s)


Main dependent construct(s)/factor(s)

Decision Outcomes

Main independent construct(s)/factor(s)

Decision Inputs, Task Characteristics, Choice Framing, Decision Processes, Decision Strategies, Probability Assessment, Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Biases, Judgmental Heuristics, Data Completeness, Individual Differences, Information Processing, Decision Support

Concise description of theory

BDT is a descriptive theory of human decision making. It starts with a traditional, normative theory of rational decision making, e.g., Bayesian decision making. It then tries to understand and incorporate actual decision making patterns of humans, e.g., underweighting or overweighting of probabilities, decision or choice framing, choosing to "satisfice," etc., to describe actual decision making tendencies. These tendencies, once understood, can then be addressed, e.g., by designing and intervening with appropriate decision support systems.

Diagram/schematic of theory

Originating author(s)

Herbert Simon, James G. March

Seminal articles

Simon, H. A. (1959). "Theories of Decision Making in Economics and Behavioral Science." American Economic Review 49(1): 253-283.

Simon, H. A. (1969). "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice." Quarterly Journal of Economics 69(1): 99.

Elam, J., Jarvenpaa, S., & Schkade, D. (1992). Behavioral Decision Theory and DSS: New Opportunities for Collaborative Research. In T. Stohr & B. R. Konsynski (Eds.), Information Systems and Decision Processes (pp. 51-74). Los Alimotos, CA: IEEE Computer Science press.

Todd, P. and I. Benbasat (1994). "The Influence of Decision Aids on Choice Strategies: An Experimental Analysis of The Role of Cognitive Effort." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 60(1): 36-74.

Swait, J. and W. Adamowicz (2001). "Choice environment, market complexity, and consumer behavior: A theoretical and empirical approach for incorporating decision complexity into models of consumer choice." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 86(2): 141-167.

Originating area

Decision Theory

Level of analysis


IS articles that use the theory

Kamis, A. A. and E. A. Stohr (2006). "Parametric Search Engines: What Makes them Effective when Shopping Online for Differentiated Products?" Information & Management 43(7): 904-918.

Nissen, M. E. and K. Sengupta (2006). "Incorporating Software Agents into Supply Chains: Experimental Investigation with a Procurement Task." MIS Quarterly 30(1): 145-166.

Links from this theory to other theories

Prospect theory
Multi-attribute utility theory

External links

Original Contributor(s)

Arnold Kamis

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