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Better Environmental Decisions: We want them, but how do we get them?

Joe Arvai

We have witnessed, over the last several years, an explosion of interest in the science of judgment and decision-making. For example, bestsellers like Predictably Irrational and Thinking, Fast and Slow have provided engaging summaries of research focused on how people make choices. But, applications based on this research about how to improve the quality of important personal and policy choices has struggled to keep pace. This is especially the case when we think about problems (and opportunities) that demand what could be termed “active decision support”.

Dr. Arvai will talk about research conducted in his lab at the University of Calgary, which has focused on developing and testing decision-aiding tools for use by people when making choices involving complex problems and consequential outcomes. Dr. Arvai’s research focuses on analytic and affective modes of judgment, and on developing and testing decision support systems that can be used to improve decision quality across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic contexts. These decision support systems can be classified as active (in that they decompose complex problems into more cognitively manageable parts) or passive (in that they modify human behavior in self-interested directions without modifying people’s decision-making tendencies).

Joe Arvai

Professor and Svare Chair in Applied Decision Research, University of Calgary

Senior Researcher, Decision ResearchEugene, Oregon

Adjunct Professor, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Member, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Environmental Change and Society


Monday, October 27, 2014

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Decision Center for a Desert City

21 E. 6th St, Ste 126B

Tempe, Arizona 85281

(lunch will be provided)

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Biodiversity and the Decision Center for a Desert City.

Click HERE for a video of this talk