Decision-making is the cognitive process of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives. Every decision-making produces a final choice. It can be an action or an opinion. It begins when we need to do something but we do not know what. Therefore decision-making is a reasoning process, which can be rational or irrational, and can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions.
Common examples include shopping, deciding what to eat, and deciding whom or what to vote for in an election or referendum. Decision-making is said to be a psychological construct. This means that although we can never "see" a decision, we can infer from observable behaviour that a decision has been made. Therefore, we conclude that a psychological event that we call "decision making" has occurred. It is a construction that imputes commitment to action. That is, based on observable actions, we assume that people have made a commitment to effect the action.
Structured rational decision-making is an important part of all science-based professions, where specialists apply their knowledge in a given area to making informed decisions. For example, medical decision making often involves making a diagnosis and selecting an appropriate treatment.
Due to the large number of considerations involved in many decisions, decision support systems have been developed to assist decision makers in considering the implications of various courses of action. They can help reduce the risk of human errors. The systems which try to realize some human/cognitive decision making functions are called Intelligent Decision Support Contents
- Decision making style
- Cognitive and personal biases in decision making
- Cognitive neuroscience of decision-making
- Decision making in groups
- Decision making in one's personal life
- Decision making in healthcare
- Path dependency
- Decision making in business and management
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