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|POL 634 – Political Decision Making|
Chuck Taber Phone: 631-632-7659
Office: SBS N707A Email: Charles.Taber@stonybrook.edu
Office Hours: By Appointment Web: www.stonybrook.edu/polsci/ctaber/
Class Location: SBS N702 Class Time: Wednesday, 9:30-12:30
Course Description: POL 634 will review basic and applied research from psychology, behavioral economics, and political science on judgment and decision making.
Assignments and Grading: Final grades will be based on class participation (20%), formal discussion leadership (20%), one major research paper (40%), and one review of another student’s paper (20%).
Active participation is expected of all students in this seminar. I will only lecture when I want to present material outside of a week’s readings; otherwise, the class format will be guided discussion. I expect that all readings for a week will be read carefully before class. Your grade for this component will be based on your level of preparation and participation.
Each of you will be responsible for leading the discussion for two class periods during the semester. You will be given free rein during the first 1.5 to 2 hours of class, during which time I will participate as a class member (unless things go hideously awry, in which case I will become more active). I will then usually use the final 1 to 1.5 hours of class to emphasize key points where necessary or to present additional material. I will evaluate each of you on your preparation and performance as “guest professor.”
Each of you will write (individually or collaboratively) a major paper. There are two possible approaches to this paper: it may be a critical review of some sub-field of behavioral decision theory or it may be a well-developed research proposal. In either case, the paper must be targeted on a political science audience (which means you must address things political scientists care about). The paper must conform to current submission requirements (length and style) for the APSR. You may collaborate with another member (or members) of this class only if you choose to do a research proposal. All members of a collaborative team will receive the same grade for the paper, and I will make no effort to distinguish individual contributions. (Be sure that you know your collaborators well enough to be confident in their effort and performance.) The paper submission is due on 4/11. I will return the paper with comments (mine and those of at least one reviewer) on 5/2. The final paper, which I alone will grade, is due on 5/10.
When the papers have been received, I will assign each paper to a student reviewer who will have from 4/11 to 4/18 to complete a written review (imagine you are reviewing an article for publication). I will not divulge the identity of the reviewer(s) when I return comments to the author and several reviews will come from outside the class, so whether these reviews remain blind is up to you. Note that if there are collaborative projects, we will have fewer papers than reviewers, in which case, some papers will have two student reviewers as well as possible outside reviewers. I will grade the student reviewer’s comments based on (1) how useful I would find them if I were the editor of a journal making a publication decision, and (2) how useful I believe the author should find them in revising the manuscript.
Hastie and Dawes. 2010. Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making, 2nd Edition. Sage.
Kahneman. 2011. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
Most other readings listed below are available on-line.
Americans with Disabilities Act: If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services, ECC (Educational Communications Center) Building, room128, (631) 632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.
Academic Integrity: Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. Faculty in the Health Sciences Center (School of Health Technology & Management, Nursing, Social Welfare, Dental Medicine) and School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at http://www.stonybrook.edu/uaa/academicjudiciary/.
Critical Incident Management: Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn. Faculty in the HSC Schools and the School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures.
Topics and Readings:
1/25 Course Introduction and Overview
2/1 Rationality and Decision Making
Hastie & Dawes, Chs 1-2.
Normative and Behavioral Models of Decision Making
Hastie & Dawes, Chs 9-12.
Simon, H.A. 1955. A behavioral model of rational choice. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 69, 99-118.
2/8 Prospect Theory
Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. 1979. Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica, 47, 263-91.
List, John A. 2004. Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace, Econometrica, 72(2): 615–625.
Quattrone, G.A., & Tversky, A. 1988. Contrasting rational and psychological analyses of political choice. American Political Science Review, 82, 719-36.
Levy, J. 2004. Applications of Prospect Theory to Political Science. Synthese, 135: 215–241.
Mercer, Jonathan. 2005. Prospect theory and political science. Annual Review of Political Science 8, 1-21.
McDermott, R., Fowler, J., & Smirnov, O. 2008. On the evolutionary origin of prospect theory preferences, Journal of Politics 70(2), 335-350.
2/15 Judgment and Heuristics
Hastie & Dawes, Chs 3-6.
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. 1974. Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science, 185: 1124-1131.
2/22 Judgment and Heuristics: Debates and Applications
Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. 1996. On the reality of cognitive illusions. Psychological Review, 103, 582-91.
Gigerenzer, G. 1996. On narrow norms and vague heuristics: A reply to Kahneman and Tversky. Psychological Review, 103, 592-96.
Lupia, A. 1994. Shortcuts versus encyclopedias: Information and voting behavior in California insurance reform elections. American Political Science Review, 88, 63-76.
Kuklinski, J.H., & Quirk, P.J. 2000. Reconsidering the rational public: Cognition, heuristics, and mass opinion. In Lupia, McCubbins, & Popkin, eds., Elements of Reason: Cognition, Choice, and the Bounds of Rationality. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 153-82.
Lau, Richard R., & David P. Redlawsk. 2001. Advantages and disadvantages of cognitive heuristics in political decision making. American Journal of Political Science 45(October):951-971.
Steenbergen, M., D. Hangartner, & C.E. de Vries. 2011. Choice under Complexity: A Heuristic-Systematic Model of Electoral Behavior. Midwest paper.
2/29 Compensatory and Non-Compensatory Choice Processes
Payne, J.W. 1982. Contingent decision behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 92, 382-402.
Payne, J.W., Bettman, J.R., & Johnson, E.J. 1988. Adaptive strategy selection in decision making. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 14, 534-52.
Redlawsk, David P. 2004. What Voters Do: Information Search during Election Campaigns. Political Psychology 25(August): 595-610.
Taber, C.S., & Steenbergen, M. 1995. Computational experiments in electoral behavior. In Lodge & McGraw, eds., Political Judgment. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.
DeRouen, Karl Jr., & Christopher Sprecher. 2004. Initial Crisis Reaction and Poliheuristic Theory. Journal of Conflict Resolution 48: 56-68.
3/7 Probabilistic Judgments and Bayesian Reasoning
Hastie & Dawes, Chs 7-8.
Fischhoff, B., & Beyth-Marom, R. 1983. Hypothesis evaluation from a Bayesian perspective. Psychological Review, 90, 239-60.
Camerer, Colin. 1987. Do Biases in Probability Judgment Matter in Markets? Experimental Evidence. The American Economic Review, Vol. 77, No. 5, pp. 981-997.
Bullock, John G. 2009. Partisan Bias and the Bayesian Ideal in the Study of Public Opinion. Journal of Politics 71 (July): 1109-24.
3/14 Motivated Political Reasoning
Taber, Charles S., and Milton Lodge. 2006. “Motivated Skepticism in Political Information Processing.” American Journal of Political Science 50(3): 755-69.
Redlawsk, David, Andrew Civettini, & Karen Emmerson. 2010. The Affective Tipping Point: Do Motivated Reasoners ever “Get It”? Political Psychology 31(4): 563-593.
Coronel, Jason, & James H. Kuklinski. Political Psychology at Stony Brook: A Retrospective.
James N. Druckman. The Politics of Motivation.
Kruglanski, Arie W., & Lauren M. Boyatzi. The Psychology of Closed and Open Mindedness: Rationality and Democracy.
Ross, Lee. Reflections on biased assimilation and belief polarization.
3/21 Perceptions of Risk
Hastie & Dawes. Ch 14.
Slovic, Paul. 1987. Perception of risk. Science, New Series, Vol. 236, No. 4799. (Apr. 17, 1987), pp. 280-285.
Slovic, Paul, & Peters, Ellen. 2006. Risk perception and affect. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(6), 322-325.
Kahneman, D., & Lovallo, D. 1993. Timid choices and bold forecasts: A cognitive perspective on risk taking. Management Science, 39, 17-31.
Sunstein, Cass R. 2003. Terrorism and probability neglect, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 26, 121-136.
Kahan, Dan, et al. 2011. The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1871503
3/28 Affect and Decision Making
Hastie & Dawes, Ch 13.
Loewenstein, G., & Lerner, J.S. 2003. The role of affect in decision making. In R. Davidson, K. Scherer, & H. Goldsmith, eds., Handbook of Affective Science. New York: Oxford.
Hirshleifer, David A., and Tyler Shumway. 2003. Good Day Sunshine: Stock Returns and the Weather, Journal of Finance, 58(3): 1009–1032.
Lerner, Jennifer S., & Tiedens, Larissa Z. 2006. Portrait of the angry decision maker: how appraisal tendencies shape anger's influence on cognition. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 19(2), 115-137.
Huddy, Leonie, Stanley Feldman, Charles S. Taber, and Gallya Lahav. 2005. “Threat, Anxiety, and Support of Anti-Terrorism Policies." American Journal of Political Science 49(3): 593-608.
4/11 Small Group Decision Making
Levine, J. M., & Moreland, R. L. (1998). Small groups. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (4th Ed., pp. 415-469). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Keltner, D., Gruenfeld, D. H., & Anderson, C. (2003). Power, approach, and inhibition. Psychological Review, 110, 265-284.
Esser, J. K. (1998). Alive and well after 25 years: A review of groupthink research. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 73, 116-141.
Paper due via email by class time. I will make review assignments after class by email.
4/18 Lodge and Taber
Lodge & Taber. The Rationalizing Voter, Chs 1,2,8,9.
Reviews due by email
Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow.
Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow.
Editorial decisions and review(s) returned.
5/10 Final papers due.
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