Arizona Think Tank for Behavioral Decision Making

The intersection of research on human decision making and public policy.


The Arizona Think Tank for Behavioral Decision Making is a scholarly collective dedicated to investigating and uncovering the mechanisms and consequences of human decision making. 

The goal: to bring together researchers interested in diverse facets of human judgment and decision making—including affective, cognitive and social psychology, behavioral economics, marketing, management and organizational behavior, behavioral finance and management information systems.

Our People

Faculty affiliates of the Arizona Think Tank for Behavioral Decision Making conduct and disseminate in-depth research, aiming to solve important decision-making problems facing both individuals and society in Arizona, the United States and around the globe.

View our Faculty Affiliates

Past Talks

  • Craig R. Fox
    Harold Williams Professor of Management
    Area Chair, Behavioral Decision Making
    Professor of Psychology and Medicine
    UCLA Anderson School

  • Norbert Schwarz 
    Provost Professor, Department of Psychology & Marshall School of Business
    Co-director, USC Dornsife Mind & Society Center
    University of Southern California

  • Eric J. Johnson
    Norman Eig Professor of Business 
    Director, Center for the Decision Sciences 
    Columbia Business School


About Behavioral Decision Making

Behavioral decision making is the study of affective, cognitive and social processes which humans employ to identify and choose alternatives. These processes are guided by the values, beliefs and preferences of the decision maker, produce a final choice and sway behavior. Today, the study of these processes is increasingly prevalent in a variety of disciplines, including psychology, behavioral economics, marketing, management and organizational behavior, behavioral finance and management information systems. Behavioral decision making captures and unites the diversity of contexts used to study human judgment and choice. In addition, behavioral decision making research has the potential to offer far-reaching implications, ranging from a better understanding of consumer well-being via a more efficient management of organizations and systems to an increased grasp of complex mechanisms at play at the societal level.


Think Tank Faculty Research

From Think Tank faculty Julian Romero, Department of Economics: 

What effect do pre-election polls have on election outcomes? Rational voter models suggest that polls lead to worse (more random) outcomes. Using an economics experiment, we find evidence of the bandwagon effect (voters favoring the poll-leader vote more) and, therefore, pre-election polls actually lead to better outcomes. Read more here.

From Think Tank faculty Anastasiya Pocheptsova Ghosh, Department of Marketing: 

The use of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payment methods has exploded in the marketplace. While businesses are eager to adopt them, consumers associate P2P payment methods more with social transactions than with business transactions. As a result, they rate service providers as warm, and correspondingly less competent and are less likely to transact. Read more here. 

From Think Tank faculty Tamar Kugler, Department of Management and Organizations: 

Does disgust reduce trust? We use virtual reality and face-reading technology to study the relationship between disgust and trust. Participants playing a repeated Trust Game exhibit a negative correlation between trust and disgust measured from facial expressions and inducing trust externally using virtual reality reduces trust behavior and intentions. Read more here.

From Think Tank faculty Joe Valacich, Department of Management Information Systems: 

How is your customer feeling about your website? Emotion can influence important customer behaviors, including purchasing decisions, technology use and loyalty. The ability to assess customers’ emotions during live system use has practical significance for the improvement of various types of online environments. In this research, we use participants' mouse cursor movements to unobtrusively infer negative emotions in various online environments. The ability to infer customer emotional changes in real-time aids in the creation of adaptive systems and an improved customer experience. Read more here.

From Think Tank faculty Martin Dufwenberg, Department of Economics:

Frustration, anger and blame have important consequences for economic and social behavior, concerning for example monopoly pricing, contracting, bargaining, violence and politics. Drawing on insights from psychology, we develop a formal approach to exploring how frustration and anger, via blame and aggression, shape interaction and outcomes in a class of games. Read more here.


From Think Tank faculty Martin Reimann, Department of Marketing:

Can smaller meals make you happy? Consumer decision-making research shows that offering consumers the choice between a full-sized food portion alone and a half-sized portion paired with a small nonfood premium (e.g., a small Happy Meal toy or the possibility of winning frequent flyer miles) motivates smaller portion choice. Read more here.

From Think Tank faculty Oliver Schilke, Department of Management and Organizations: 

What makes an exchange disreputable? Many actions are not wrong in of themselves but only when they are being paid for, with examples ranging from commercial bribery to paid adoption to prostitution. This research shows why some such disreputable exchanges may go unnoticed because they are structurally obfuscated. Read more here. 

Featured Students For Behavioral Decision Making

  • Christoph Hueller, PhD Student of marketing: My current research interest lies within the concept of trust and how it guides behavioral decision making. Present research has assumed that trust is difficult to build, easy to disrupt, and tedious to restore. It has been claimed that ability, benevolence, and integrity foster trust, whereas deception harms it. I am particularly interested in studying the underlying psychological processes which explain these inferred relationships and observing specific circumstances under which they may not apply.
  • Rachel Mannahan, PhD student of economics: I currently research circumstances under which self-esteem concerns lead to self-handicapping behavior and policy interventions that mitigate self-handicapping. Self-handicapping behavior involves creating external obstacles for yourself to avoid believing your low ability level is the source of your failure. Such behaviors include applying to jobs which discriminate against you.
  • Ernesto Rivera Mora, PhD student of economics: I study mechanism design problems where preferences depend on hierarchies of beliefs about the agents' traits or types. For instance, agents may by "shy'', "curious'', may have image concerns, privacy concerns or simply may care about the information they get or reveal about their traits. I establish a revelation principle for these environments.
  • Kyle (Zhiping) Mao, PhD Student of accounting: My broad research interest is manager-employees strategic interactions and the corporate decision-makings. Specifically, I study and conduct managerial reporting decision-making research, employee in-group decision-making research, and corporate social responsibility research.
  • Andy Powell, PhD student of management and organizations:Broadly, I am interested in social class, status, and trust. More specifically, I seek to understand how variable levels of social class and status result in disparate individual cognitions and how individuals experience bias resulting from low social class or low status

Contact Us

By Phone

520-626-0993 office

By Email

General Inquiries

By Mail

McClelland Hall 401
The University of Arizona
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108


Faculty Affiliates