Decision Research

Centre for Decision Research

Left to right: Barbara Summers, Andrea Taylor, Yasmina Okan, Simon McNair, Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Richard Hodgett, Alan Pearman and Gulbanu Kaptan

What is decision research?

Decision Research focuses on the way individuals, groups and organisations make decisions. It involves perspectives that are:

  • Descriptive - why and how decisions are made the way they are,
  • Normative - how decisions should be made in some ideal sense, and
  • Prescriptive - how can decision making be made more effective.

It is concerned with how people make judgments and take decisions, particularly in situations involving risk and uncertainty. The research has provided important insights into how and why people do what they do, why they make mistakes that can lead to poor outcomes for themselves and their organisations, and how we can use this knowledge to help them do it better.

Theories and findings from decision research have been applied extensively in such areas as political science, finance, marketing, health, medicine, management and the law. These applications have provided important insights into how decisions are taken in these areas, some of the errors and mistakes made by people, including experts, and how to improve these decisions.

About the Centre

Founded in March 1996, the Centre brings together researchers from across the University of Leeds, and other local universities, who have an interest in human decision making. Its strong multi-disciplinary focus has led to research collaborations across a wide range of academic disciplines.

Members of the Centre carry out a broad range of research, much of it funded externally, publish extensively in academic journals, edited books and practitioner journals, as well as presenting at major national and international conferences. 

Latest News

Chris Riley wins prize for best paper at the 2017 White Rose Doctoral Conference

1 June 2017

Chris Riley, a PhD student working with Barbara Summers and Darren Duxbury, has won the prize for best paper at the 2017 White Rose Doctoral Conference for his paper “Capital Gains Overhang with a Dynamic Reference Point”. This paper examines how changes in investor reference points, caused by previous share price movements, can influence the amount of under or overvaluation in share prices.

In other CDR news, Andrea Taylor and colleagues Yim Ling Siu, Suraje Dessai and Lindsay Lee at the School of Earth and Environment have been awarded a contract to address challenges related to the treatment of uncertainty in climate services in China. Combining expertise in risk communication, environmental risk assessment, climate risk management, and statistical treatments of uncertainty in climate models, the team will work with programme partners in the Met Office and Chinese Meteorological Administration to better understand and address the needs of Chinese climate service users for information about uncertainty in climate predictions, and produce evidence based recommendations for the treatment and communication of uncertainty for climate service providers.

Wandi Bruine de Bruin and Mirta Galesic presented a paper at the American Association for Public Opinion Resarch (AAPOR) in New Orleans LA (US), entitled "Perceptions of Social Circles Shape and Reflect Voting Intentions: A Longitudinal Analysis"

Wandi was also an invited participant at the annual meeting of Carnegie Mellon University's Centre for Climate and Energy Decision Making in Pittsburgh PA (US). Wandi is a Co-I on the centre's funding from the US National Science Foundation.

Baruch Fischhoff (Carnegie Mellon University), who is visiting professor at the Centre for Decision Research, was elected into the US National Academy of Sciences, which is one of the highest honours a scientist can achieve and recognizes distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

CDR members' recent highlights

5 May 2017


Richard Hodgett and Alan Pearman, in collaboration with a number of industrial partners including Britest Ltd, INEOS, A.Spire, Iris and CRIT-Research, have been awarded with €499,369 to fund a 2-year project titled “Setting the framework for the enhanced impact of SPIRE projects”. The project will increase the industrial uptake of project findings in Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) EU projects.


Wandi Bruine de Bruin had a paper accepted in Medical Decision Making (impact factor 3.2), entitled "Effects of anti- vs. pro-vaccine narratives on responses by recipients varying in numeracy: A cross-sectional survey-based experiment." (with Dr. Annika Wallin from Lund University, Dr. Andrew Parker from the RAND Corporation, Prof. JoNell Strough from the University of West Virginia, and Dr. Janel Hanmer from the University of Pittsburgh)

Sajid Siraj has had a paper accepted for publication in EJOR (ABS-4) with the following title: “Spare parts classification in industrial manufacturing using the dominance-based rough set approach”.

Invited talks

Yasmina Okan gave an invited talk entitled “Improving communications about cervical cancer screening using graphs” at the Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London.

Wandi Bruine de Bruin gave an invited presentation at Dubrovnik International University (Croatia) entitled "A behavioural decision research approach to developing effective communications".

Media coverage

Astrid Kause has written for the Imperfect Cognitions blog:

A news story has featured on the Carnegie Mellon University website about Wandi Bruine de Bruin’s paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences with Baruch Fischhoff:

Recent research activity

29 March 2017


Richard Hodgett has had his paper - “Supporting the multi-criteria decision aiding process: R and the MCDA package” – accepted for publication in EURO Journal on Decision Processes

Wandi Bruine de Bruin co-authored a chapter entitled "Individual differences in decision-making competence in different age groups (with Andrew Parker at RAND), to be published in M.E. Toplak, & J. Weller (Eds.) Individual Differences in Judgement and Decision Making: A Developmental Perspective. New York, NY: Routledge.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Richard Hodgett, Barbara Summers and Sajid Siraj have secured funding (£178,263) for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership in collaboration with All Around the World Ltd and Universal Music. The aim of the project is to develop a system utilising machine learning, artificial intelligence and decision science methodologies to support and enhance the identification of new musical talent and maximise the profitability of the talent identification process.

Media Coverage

John Maule features in two videos on The Economist Intelligence Unit. The first discusses the impact of stress on effective decision making, and why it forces us to rely on intuitive and bias prone thinking.

In the second video he discusses stress in the context of the record-breaking long-distance sailor Hans Bouscholte.

Baruch Fischhoff Tribute

A video is now available of the tribute for Baruch Fischhoff organised by Wandi Bruine de Bruin (chair), Maya Bar-Hillel, Ann Bostrom, and Andrew Parker at the Society for Judgment and Decision Making conference in Boston.

All News