Course Title: Studying Political Decision Making
Most discussions of decision making begin with rational choice theory, which, if its dictates are followed, promises the highest probability of a value-maximizing decision. Yet people are cognitively limited information processors, not “ambulatory encyclopedias,” and it is not clear how effective rational choice procedures would be even if they could be followed. This course provides a brief overview of behavioral decision theory, and then looks at research on the effects of information on the quality of voter decision making. The last part of the course will introduce students the to Dynamic Process Tracing Environment (DPTE), a new computer program designed for studying decision making in dynamic social situations.