'Making decisions for other people and how it can go wrong (or right)'

Frankland 305
Life and Environmental Sciences, Research
Tuesday 20th October 2015 (13:00-14:00)
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Part of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience and Development Group Seminar Series

Speaker: Fenja Ziegler, University of Lincoln

Making decisions can be very difficult and stressful, particularly when they have significant implications for our health, finances or future happiness. Without the benefit of hindsight, we are faced with uncertainty over which choice is more likely to lead to a desired outcome or even which outcome might be preferable. This uncertainty is likely to increase when we have to make decisions for other people, because it adds the complication of getting inside someone else's head to make a decision they would value. A growing body of research suggests that we often, but not always, make different decisions on behalf of other people than we would make for ourselves or that the other person would choose. In this talk I will examine the central role perspective-taking plays in creating a pattern of decision-making for others which is sometimes described as accurate (reflecting the choice the other would have made), better (different by way of approaching an optimum benchmark), or the same in that the choices for self and other did not differ. This will be placed within the framework of a new psychological theory of surrogate decision-making (Tunney &Ziegler, in press, Perspectives on Psychological Science).