Spring 2016

Winners of the 2016 DSC Research Forum Best Abstract


Breann Erford and Michael DeKay

The Effects of Decision Task and Option Quality on the Predecisional Distortion of Leading and Trailing Options

Predecisional information distortion may involve positive distortion of the tentatively leading option and/or negative distortion of the trailing option(s). Previous research suggests that distortion is greater when one is accepting one of two good options or rejecting one of two bad options, but these effects have not been assessed separately for tentatively leading and trailing options. A new study (n=612) of apartment and restaurant choices yielded main effects of decision task (more positive distortion for accepting), option quality (more positive distortion for bad options), and leader status (more positive distortion for leading options), but no interactions among these variables.


Rebecca Liu, Neal Hooker, Efthimios Parasidis, and Christopher Simons

A Natural Experiment: Using Immersive Technologies

Immersive technology can be used to enhance external validity in food label studies particularly when coupled with sampling. This novel approach evaluates the impact of verbal/visual cues on perceived food quality/liking for an example food product (peanut butter) in a grocery store setting. An all natural claim and call-out is shown to significantly improve consumer perception, liking and willingness to pay. Both label and personal merchandising channels play a role.


DSC Research Forum Poster Abstracts


Puja Bhattacharya and Arjun Sengupta

Promises and Guilt

The central question this paper explores is "Do people keep their promise to avoid expectation-based guilt?" In our modified trust game, the promisee can buy fair insurance if she decides to invest. Since the promisee would prefer buying insurance if she distrusts the promisor, the decision to insure would be informative to the promisor of what the promisee expects from him. Thus the promisor, if he breaks his promise, should experience lower guilt if promisee insures. We find that subjects are heterogeneous in their reasons for keeping their promise. Behaviors of some subjects are consistent with guilt-aversion hypothesis, but a larger group of subjects keep their promise regardless of what the promisee expects. 


Elizabeth Botkins

Understanding the School Lunch Decision: A Study of Parent-Child Dyads

The average National School Lunch Program (NDLP) participant obtains 35% of their daily calories from the NSLP (Briefel et al. 2009), making school meals an important tool for instilling healthy eating habits. This study aims to understand the underlying school lunch decision process by evaluating parent-child dyad survey data. Including both parent and child is a novelty of this study and is logical given that the school lunch decision is often a shared decision. The preliminary results from this study suggest the lunch decision is a complex decision impacted by both the parent and the child.


Nathaniel Haines, Lei Zhang, and Woo-Young Ahn

Simple yet Powerful: Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling of Decision-Making Tasks with hBayesDM

Hierarchical Bayesian parameter estimation of computational models is useful for the characterization of latent neurocognitive processes. However, many researchers interested in this approach often find the methods too technical and challenging to be implemented. We introduce the free R package “hBayesDM”, which offers hierarchical Bayesian analysis on an array of Decision-Making tasks including Orthogonalized Go/NoGo, Two-Step, Iowa Gambling, Risk Aversion, Ultimatum Game, Probabilistic Reversal Learning, Delay Discounting, and two-choice gambling tasks – each task with a single line of code. Example datasets are also available. “hBayesDM” will allow anyone with minimal knowledge of programming to take advantage of advanced computational modeling.


Nicole Lahner

Genetic Provider and Parent Communication Patterns in Genetic Counseling Sessions

Communication and counseling are critical to helping parents cope with a genetic diagnosis in their child.  Previous studies using parent surveys and simulated genetic counseling sessions suggest that genetic providers communicate more medical and genetic information than quality of life and psychosocial issues. For this study, researchers audio recorded twenty pediatric genetic counseling sessions and surveyed parents about their counseling experience.  Preliminary results indicate that providers communicate mostly technical information about medical and genetic aspects of conditions.  The majority of parents found their counseling sessions were helpful in assisting them with answering their questions and understanding their child’s diagnosis.


Andrew Luttrell and Richard Petty

The Roles of Perceived Need and Efficacy in Charitable Donation Decisions

This research takes the first steps in understanding how people weigh the considerations of "need" and "efficacy" when deciding to donate to a particular charity. We take an experimental approach by directly manipulating charitable appeals to independently evoke perceptions of need and efficacy. After reading a brief message from a charity, participants indicated their willingness to donate to the organization. Results reveal the relative effects of each variable on donation decisions and the conditions under which they are more influential.


Alison Norris, Nisha Rao, Sarah Huber, Sarah Garver, and Abigail Turner

The Scarcity Mindset in Reproductive Decision Making; Findings from Lilongwe District, Malawi

Introduction: Poverty may restrict not only the choices available to poor individuals but also their thoughts and priorities. The resulting scarcity mindset may constrain decision-making. Methods: To understand whether there is evidence of a scarcity mindset in reproductive decision making in rural Malawi, we collected qualitative data in focus group discussions (n= 8 groups) and in-depth interviews (n= 28 interviews). Results: Participants described making constant tradeoffs to secure daily needs, articulated the challenges of supporting many children, and justified the need for many children for future support. Conclusion: We found evidence of a scarcity mindset in reproductive decision making in rural Malawi.


Aleksandr Sinayev and Ellen Peters

Are Happy Crowds Wiser?

Positive affect improves decision making by making cognition more flexible and creative. We examined whether these benefits apply to judgments and predictions traditionally associated with the wisdom of the crowds. Using the number of positive words as a proxy for positive affect, we examined reviews from metacritic.com and comments from the Good Judgment Project. Users who employed more positive words in their reviews and comments made judgments regarding the quality of a movie more accurately (consistently with professional critics) and made more accurate predictions. Text analysis may have great potential as a method for drawing more accurate predictions from crowds.


Kristina Slagle, Joslyn Tijerina, Jeanette O’Quin, and Robyn S. Wilson

Mitigating the Risk of Rabies in Northern Ethiopia

In many non-Western communities, current rabies awareness materials are culturally inappropriate, and fail to communicate the risk of rabies or risk-mitigating behavior to residents. Using a mental models approach, we assessed gaps in rabies risk perceptions, designed communication materials, and evaluated cultural relevance via focus groups. The misperception that rabies can be visually identified was evident in gaps assessments and materials evaluations, and will require careful attention to convey the appropriate message. Structural barriers to treatment remain, however, and even targeted and strategic risk communication efforts may fail to reduce the risk of rabies in Ethiopia if not addressed.


Wei-Ting Yen,  Kristine Kay, and Fang-Yu Chen 

Unpacking Support for Free Trade: Experimental Evidence from Taiwan

This paper leverages the national threat that China poses on Taiwan to test how security concerns at the national level interact with national attachment at the individual level. We collect our data through a survey experiment with a nationally representative sample from Taiwan. The result shows that, first, trade partner and the political dynamic one’s nation has with a given partner are important factors for individuals’ support or opposition to trade agreements; and, second, the effect of national pride on support for a particular trade agreement is contingent on the country with which the agreement is being negotiated.


Daniel Zane, Robert Smith, and Rebecca Walker Reczek

Drawing Conclusions from Distraction: Distracting Ads Cue Consumers to Infer Product Interest through Metacognitive Inferences

Marketing stimuli are often non-focal background stimuli rather than the focus of consumers’ undivided attention. This research explores how metacognitive inferences about distraction influence consumers’ interest in products in background advertisements and intentions to purchase these products. Drawing from a lay theory about distraction, consumers infer their level of interest in an advertised product when the ad is more distracting than expected. Distraction can signal interest, but can also carry negative implications depending on what lay theory is more accessible.


Jinling Zhao and Ronaldo Vigo

Hedonic effects in intertemporal decision making and perception of future time

The present study examined the effects of the subjective dimensions of value (anticipated pleasures) and time (subjective perception of future time) on people’s preference on smaller but sooner (SS) rewards in intertemporal choice. Also, the study explored the relationship between subjective measure of time and the subjective measure of valuation. Results showed that people with a higher anticipated pleasure to SS rewards tended to choose more SS rewards while people with a higher anticipated pleasure to LL rewards tended to choose less SS rewards. Subjective time perception did not predict people’s preference on SS rewards. Moreover, people with a higher anticipated pleasure to SS rewards tended to report a higher pleasure to LL rewards as well. Furthermore, anticipated pleasure to SS rewards was found to interact with anticipated pleasure to LL rewards to influence subjective time perception.