Monday, February 25, 2013

Fields of research for my MsC thesis

Here it is! My MsC project research was approved! Yeah!
The research and experimental work will be developed under support of the Cognitive Psychology and Social Psychology departments of FPUL (Faculdade de Psicologia/Psychology Faculty) at University of Lisbon .

The main focus is Judgment and Decision Making (the mental and cognitive processes that result in the selection of an action / choice among several alternative scenarios/options), grounded in the dual process theory that accounts for two different systems for decision making; System 1 (automatic, unconscious, implicit, associative and heuristic) and System 2  (evolutionarily recent, explicit, rule-based and analytical, monitored and controlled).

It has proven over and over that humans often violate "rationality" (ruled by logic, statistics, expected utility theory or other normative models of rational decision) and instead of making decisions based on those models, we tend to use heuristics that sometimes lead to commit systematic errors or biases. It is accepted that when deciding, quite often human use the "first that comes to mind" which means that preventing errors requires ability to resist to that intuitive response!

Stanovich attempts to resolve the "great rationality debate" in Cognitive Science, explaining why humans are sometimes irrational even though they possess remarkably adaptive cognitive machinery (reason why IQ tests fail!) using arguments that "we need to replace dual-process theories with tripartite models of cognition". In this line, the traditional System 2 of the dual-process theory must be further divided into the "reflective mind" and the " algorithmic mind" where the key function of the reflective mind is to detect the need to interrupt autonomous processing and to begin simulation activities, whereas that of the algorithmic mind is to sustain (control) the processing of decoupled secondary representations in cognitive simulation.

This is key path for research;  Why do we mistake our answers? What are the representational and processing factors of judgment and decision making? And do negative emotions provoked by gender stereotype threath count for performance differences?

I'm on the run.... excited!