Decision Theory and Decision Behaviour

Theory and Decision Library B

Book 15
Springer Science & Business Media
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This book presents the content of a year's course in decision processes for third and fourth year students given at the University of Toronto. A principal theme of the book is the relationship between normative and descriptive decision theory. The distinction between the two approaches is not clear to everyone, yet it is of great importance. Normative decision theory addresses itself to the question of how people ought to make decisions in various types of situations, if they wish to be regarded (or to regard themselves) as 'rational'. Descriptive decision theory purports to describe how people actually make decisions in a variety of situations. Normative decision theory is much more formalized than descriptive theory. Especially in its advanced branches, normative theory makes use of mathematicallanguage, mode of discourse, and concepts. For this reason, the definitions of terms encountered in normative decision theory are precise, and its deductions are rigorous. Like the terms and assertions of other branches of mathematics, those of mathematically formalized decision theory need not refer to anything in the 'real', i. e. the observable, world. The terms and assertions can be interpreted in the context of models of real li fe situations, but the verisimilitude of the models is not important. They are meant to capture only the essentials of adecision situation, which in reallife may be obscured by complex details and ambiguities. It is these details and ambiguities, however, that may be crucial in determining the outcomes of the decisions.
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Springer Science & Business Media
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Mar 14, 2013
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Business & Economics / General
Business & Economics / Operations Research
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This volume contains most of the invited and contributed papers presented at the Conference on Robustness of Statistical Methods and Nonparametric Statistics held in the castle oj'Schwerin, Mai 29 - June 4 1983. This conference was organized by the Mathematical Society of the GDR in cooperation with the Society of Physical and Mathematical Biology of the GDR, the GDR-Region of the International Biometric Society and the Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the GDR. All papers included were thoroughly reviewed by scientist listed under the heading "Editorial Collabora tories·'. Some contributions, we are sorry to report, were not recommended for publi cation by the rf'vif'wers and do not appear in these proceedings. The editors thank the reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. The conference was organizf'd bv a Programme Committee, its chairman was Prof. Dr. Dieter Rasch (Research Centre of Animal Production, Dummerstorf-Rostock). The members of the Programme Committee were Prof. Dr., Johannes Adam (Martin-Luther-University Halle) Prof. Dr. Heinz Ahrens (Academy of Sciences of the GDR, Berlin) Doz. Dr. Jana Jureckova (Charles University Praha) Prof. Dr. Moti Lal Tiku (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario) The aim of the conference was to discuss several aspects of robustness but mainly to present new results regarding the robustness of classical statistical methods especially tests, confidence estimations, and selection procedures, and to compare their perfor mance with nonparametric procedures. Robustness in this sens~ is understood as intensivity against. violation of the normal assumption.
"Game theory is an intellectual X-ray. It reveals the skeletal structure of those systems where decisions interact, and it reveals, therefore, the essential structure of both conflict and cooperation." — Kenneth Boulding
This fascinating and provocative book presents the fundamentals of two-person game theory, a mathematical approach to understanding human behavior and decision-making, Developed from analysis of games of strategy such as chess, checkers, and Go, game theory has dramatic applications to the entire realm of human events, from politics, economics, and war, to environmental issues, business, social relationships, and even "the game of love." Typically, game theory deals with decisions in conflict situations.
Written by a noted expert in the field, this clear, non-technical volume introduces the theory of games in a way which brings the essentials into focus and keeps them there. In addition to lucid discussions of such standard topics as utilities, strategy, the game tree, and the game matrix, dominating strategy and minimax, negotiated and nonnegotiable games, and solving the two-person zero-sum game, the author includes a discussion of gaming theory, an important link between abstract game theory and an experimentally oriented behavioral science. Specific applications to social science have not been stressed, but the methodological relations between game theory, decision theory, and social science are emphasized throughout.
Although game theory employs a mathematical approach to conflict resolution, the present volume avoids all but the minimum of mathematical notation. Moreover, the reader will find only the mathematics of high school algebra and of very elementary analytic geometry, except for an occasional derivative. The result is an accessible, easy-to-follow treatment that will be welcomed by mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike.
This book reports our research on detection of change processes that underlie psychophysical, learning, medical diagnosis, military, and pro duction control situations, and share three major features. First, the states of the process are not directly observable but become gradually known with the sequential acquisition of fallible information over time. Second, the mechanism that generates the fallible information is not stationary; rather, it is subjected to a sudden and irrevocable change. Thirdly, in complete, probabilistic information about the time of change is available when the process commences. The purpose of the book is to characterize this class of detection of change processes, to derive the optimal policy that minimizes total expected loss, and, most importantly, to develop testable response models, based on simple decision rules, for describing detection of change behavior. The book is theoretical in the sense that it offers mathematical models of multi-stage decision behavior and solutions to optimization problems. However, it is not anti-empirical, as it aims to stimulate new experimental research and to generate applications. Throughout the book, questions of experimental verification are briefly considered, and existing data from two studies are brought to bear on the validity of the models. The work is not complete; it only provides a starting point for investigating how people detect a change in an uncertain environment, balancing between the cost of delay in detecting the change and the cost of making an incor rect terminal decision.
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