Normative and Behavioural Approaches to Decision-Making

Our research in normative and behavioural approaches to decision-making explores the cognitive, motivational and analytical processes affecting people’s judgements, how they value things and, consequently, their choices.

Our Normative and Behavioural Approaches to Decision-Making researchers are particularly focused on financial investment decisions, along with economic and psychological approaches to understanding and improving industry decisions.

Looking down at feet with arrows in front pointing in different directions

This includes through:

  • applying decision analytic techniques to complex decision problems
  • developing economic evaluation methods to account for uncertainty
  • developing improved processes for eliciting expert estimates
  • identifying barriers to good decision-making
  • developing debiasing strategies to mitigate these problems
  • psychometric analyses.
  • Research impact

    Our work is highly relevant throughout society, in all fields of endeavour. It benefits everything from everyday life choices, through to the conduct of science, and major commercial and government decisions.

    We aim to understand how and why people make the decisions they do, the errors they are prone to, and the situations that provoke them. Through this understanding, we seek to help people improve their decisions, and subsequently their outcomes.

    This can be achieved via a number of complementary routes, such as:

    • debiasing individual decisions by recognising and redressing errors
    • redesigning data flows and interfaces to avoid or limit biases
    • training in appropriate decision-making strategies.

    We have advised on, or contributed to, important decisions in numerous industries. Among them: 

    • oil and gas
    • mining
    • defence
    • policing
    • pharmaceuticals
    • non-profits
    • health. 

    We have also had major input into public policy.

    Our researchers’ experience with the petroleum industry is particularly extensive. For example, we have:

    • provided many training courses and materials to such companies as ShellExxonMobilSantos and Woodside
    • developed a computerised elicitation tool, called the ‘MOLE’, which has been trialled by several of these companies to reduce bias in range estimation
    • published books on decision-making for industry personnel and scientists more generally.

    Other current or upcoming industry connections include:

  • Our researchers

    We have expertise across a wide range of areas. Many of our researchers are available to assist with research project supervision for Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy students.

    Research team Expertise
    Professor Steve Begg Decision-making; Uncertainty and risk analysis; Economic evaluation
    Dr Matthew Welsh Decision biases; Elicitation processes; Individual differences (psychometrics)
  • Collaborations

    We collaborate with various industry and government organisations, including:

    To enquire about consulting or working with us on a research project, please contact: