A New Intuitionism: Risk and Rational Decision Making in Fuzzy-Trace Theory



Counterintuitive predictions regarding variations on framing effects, temporal discounting, and other phenomena of judgment and decision making are used to illustrate principles of fuzzy-trace theory.  Fuzzy-trace theory draws on extensive evidence for independent gist-memory and verbatim-memory representations of information, but differs from other dual-process models in emphasizing that there are degrees of rationality and that intuition is an advanced form of reasoning.  Such claims are based on empirical evidence comparing reasoning by children and adolescents to that of adults and reasoning of adult novices to that of experts.  The theory predicts parallel development of verbatim-based analysis and gist-based intuition, which produces developmental reversals (e.g., children outperform adults) under specific circumstances.  As an example, despite increasing competence in reasoning, some biases in judgment and decision making grow with age, producing more ‘‘irrational’’ violations of coherence among adults than among adolescents and younger children. The latter phenomena are linked to developmental increases in gist processing with age.  Implications for health and well-being, especially regarding adolescent risk taking, are discussed.

Contact information:
Dr. G. Liberali