Research Topic

Decision-making competence: From decision structuring to choice

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Throughout their lives, people make decisions that affect their health, careers, finances, and overall well-being. Traditionally, research in psychology and decision making has focused on identifying decision biases and their situational causes. Studies have usually taken place with undergraduate ...

Throughout their lives, people make decisions that affect their health, careers, finances, and overall well-being. Traditionally, research in psychology and decision making has focused on identifying decision biases and their situational causes. Studies have usually taken place with undergraduate participants, under the assumption that results would generalize to populations of different ages, education, and cognitive and affective skills. Thus, individual differences in decision-making competence have been largely ignored.

However, a recent research stream on decision-making competence started to change this landscape by showing that individual differences can explain a sizable portion of variance in decision-making performance and that the study of individual differences can provide valuable theoretical insights on the processes involved in different kinds of judgment and decision-making tasks. This research has promoted significant advances in the theoretical characterization of decision-making abilities, their measurement, their changes across the life-span, their relation with other constructs and real-world outcomes, as well as possible interventions. A major factor in fostering this progress has been the development and validation of new performance-based instruments for assessing aspects of decision-making competence and decision-related skills. Moreover, a number of studies have shown that better decision-making competence is related to real-world antecedents and consequences of poor decision making.

The earliest individual-differences studies within this recent research stream examined the relationships between different kinds of cognitive abilities and decision-making skills, with subsequent studies starting to explore the role of emotion regulation, motivation, and experience. Recent work has also started to identify neural correlates of some aspects of decision-making competence, and to unveil how different decision-making skills changes across the life span in relation to changes in cognition and emotion.

Despite the progress made, several theoretical and measurement issues are still open and important facets of decision-making competence are still largely under-investigated. The Research Topic aims to promote further significant advancements in the research on individual differences in decision-making competence by tackling these open issues and providing novel evidence. To fulfill these aims, the Research Topic will host papers that critically discuss theories of decision-making competence, propose methodological/measurement improvements, provide evidence on individual differences in under-investigated decision-making skills, and further explore the link between individual differences in decision-making competence and real-world decision-making outcomes, as well as the development and evaluation of interventions. In particular, the Research Topic will encourage the following types of contribution:

(1) theoretical/opinion papers reviewing and/or critically discussing frameworks and theories of decision-making competence in relation to empirical evidence;

(2) theoretical or research papers on measurement issues and instruments;

(3) research papers providing new evidence on individual differences in under-investigated decision-making skills, such as (but not limited to) decision structuring, estimation and learning in decision making, emotional and social aspects of decision-making competence;

(4) research papers on neural correlates of decision-making competence and life-span changes in decision-making skills;

(5) research papers assessing the ability of decision-making measures to predict real-world performance and outcomes.

(6) theoretical or research papers on the development and evaluation of interventions aiming for better decisions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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