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Educating good decisions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 October 2017


Can we educate decision-makers to make better decisions? In the present paper, I argue that we can in at least two broad ways: (1) teaching concrete knowledge about a specific decision or decision type; and (2) teaching more abstract decision-making competencies that are thought to lead to better decisions. Teaching knowledge can be done using decision aids and similar techniques that provide important information about a specific choice (e.g. a medical treatment option). In these cases, information presented using evidence-based techniques to improve comprehension and use of information will have greater effects on judgements and choices. Teaching more abstract decision competencies, on the other hand, involves formal schooling (with the bulk of formal education falling during childhood) or training in a specific competency that is important to decision processes and outcomes; I use numeracy interventions as an exemplar.

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