Classes

88-388
Psychological Models of Decision Making - 9 units
    This course provides an introduction to several techniques and theories for modeling psychological processes and decision making. The topics covered include: signal detection theory, individual decision modeling, and multidimensional scaling. The course will include an introduction to the theory behind the models as well as hands on computational applications of the models with data. The topics covered in this course can be used in a variety of applied settings—ranging from medical and public policy to marketing and psychological research—to produce simplified representations of seemingly complex phenomena. Prerequisites: (36-201) and (21-112 or 21-120).


88-405/88-605
Risk Perception and Communication - 9 units
    Throughout their lives, people make decisions about risks that may potentially affect their health, safety, finances, use of technology, and effects on the environment. This course will review the risk perception and communication literature, focusing on theoretical and methodological issues as well as practical implications for educators, public health officials, engineers, economists, and other experts who aim to teach people about risks. We will discuss how to design surveys to increase our understanding of the problems people face when making decisions about specific risks, and how to design communication materials that help people to improve their decisions. We will highlight examples and applications taken from multiple disciplines, including health psychology, adolescent decision making, environmental science, and engineering. Prerequisites: 36-201 or 36-207 or 36-217 or 36-220 or 36-225 or 36-247 or 70-207.


88-435/88-635
Analysis of Uncertain Social Systems - 9 units
   Research in the social sciences has extensively investigated how decision makers behave when they encounter many different and difficult decision scenarios. This course serves as an introduction to how relevant research from decision and social sciences can be applied to complex environments such as those encountered by governments (intelligence and policy analysts) and private industry (business strategists and information officers). Topics of operations research, game theory, signal detection theory, and decision theory (heuristics and biases) will be discussed with respect to the application of these theories to improve the performance of individuals and groups within a complex social system.