Behavioral Decision-Making

David P. Redlawsk and Richard R. Lau

in The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology

Second edition

Published in print September 2013 | ISBN: 9780199760107
Published online December 2013 | | DOI:
Behavioral Decision-Making

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Judgment and choice are at the core of all politics. This chapter develops a general framework for the study of individual decision-making that applies equally well to both elites and the mass public, focusing on processes used to identify alternatives, gather information, make an evaluation, and ultimately choose one alternative from many possibilities. It uses the framework of behavioral decision theory (BDT), which begins with the proposition that how decisions are made can be best studied by actually observing them in the making. The essay contrasts BDT with rational choice theory (RCT), arguing that BDT provides a superior way to understand how people make decisions and opens for study additional dimensions of the decision-making process. Psychological models derived from BDT have been applied to voter decision-making to examine decision strategies, decision quality, and election outcomes.

Keywords: behavioral decision theory; rational choice theory; voting; decision-making; information search; heuristics; decision quality

Article.  17181 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Political Behaviour

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