Brand, Matthias; Heinze, Katharina; Labudda, Kirsten; Markowitsch, Hans J.:

The role of strategies in deciding advantageously in ambiguous and risky situations.

In: Cognitive Processing, Jg. 9 (2008) ; Nr. 3, S. 159-173
ISSN: 1612-4782
Zeitschriftenaufsatz / Fach: Angewandte Kognitionswissenschaften
Fakultät für Ingenieurwissenschaften » Informatik und Angewandte Kognitionswissenschaft
Investigated the impact of calculative decision-making strategies under risk when explicit and stable information is available as compared to decision-making strategies under ambiguity. The Game-of-Dice Task (GDT) was used to observe decision-making under risk because it offers explicit rules and probabilities, whereas the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) was used to observe decision-making under ambiguity. 42 healthy subjects (age range 19-80 years) participated in both tasks and underwent neuropsychological testing to assess executive functions. The hypothesis was proposed that the characteristics of stable probability inherent in the GDT would afford participants the opportunity to apply calculative strategies to decide more advantageously. Individuals who were able to use the analytical-rational mode of strategy were expected to provide superior performance results as compared to individuals who did not use a calculative process but made decisions using the intuitive-experiential mode. Since the IGT offers only ambiguous information, successful performance should not be dependent on either calculative or intuitive strategies. Results support the assumption that individuals who were able to employ calculative methods decided more advantageously, thus exhibiting a correlation between executive functions and GDT performance. Age, gender and education did not have any significant effect on the assessment results of the GDT. There was, however, a gender effect on IGT performance, with males performing better than females. However, given that logic and reasoning strategies are not influential on the outcomes of the IGT, there are no evident potentially underlying mechanisms of decision-making in men and women. The findings are concluded to support the hypothesis that logic and reasoning strategies may positively influence advantageous decision-making when stable and explicit information is available.