Gender Differences in Decision Making Processes: a Computerized Experiment.

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Cognition Pages: 29 (8513 words) Published: July 8, 2012
Gender Differences in Decision Making Processes: A Computerized Experiment.

Eduardo Missri Honors Seminar 02/11/08


The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the differences between men and women in foreign policy decision making. The study focuses on the differences in biases in decision making, the differences between satisficing and maximizing approaches by both genders, the differences between strategy selection, and the difference between holistic and nonholistic decision making by both genders. The findings demonstrate, that both men and women have similarities and differences in various aspects of the decision making process. The importance of these findings is also discussed in this paper.


Introduction Women and men have always had vast differences between themselves in many aspects. The physical aspect is the most noticeable one, where we can clearly see the differences between both sexes. In the modern world, gender equality is growing and people tend to see men and women as equal. This has created an erroneous perception that women and men are the same. As equality between the sexes has had an important advancement in human kind itself, clear differences between men and women have created the perception, that males and females are the same and most importantly think the same. Various studies (Schubert, Conner, Hoag, and Goldstein et al.) have shown contradicting evidence when trying to prove the differences amongst genders. Some psychological studies contradict neurological research and vice versa. In this paper I will attempt to discover differences and/or similarities between genders in decision making processes in order to further examine if these differences may affect practical situations and the role that gender plays in such processes.

Decision making theories such as rational choice are utilized in order to explain how humans make decisions and they also explain the process by which people go through in order to reach certain decisions. Women and men however, are different from one another, thus, one can only assume that the process by which decisions are taken could possibly vary between the sexes. Decision making and foreign policy have long been the basis by which governments survive, succeed or fail in global affairs. Politics (as well as other areas of study), have for long secluded women from participating actively in the decision making processes of the nation-state affairs. Even though women have been


more equal to men than ever before, their active participation in decision making is generally low in most countries of the world.

In this paper, I will present and compare, the findings of two experiments conducted with Decision Board Computerized Process Tracing. The goal of this paper is to test the different neurological, psychological, sociological, and economical studies in a foreign policy social science experiment. The aim is to try to determine if there are any real differences between men and women in decision making processes. The experiments focus on comparing the ability to maximize choices, the differences in biases of decision between both sexes, differences in the process of decision strategies and task complexity (alternative or dimension based), and a comparison in holistic approaches between both genders. With Decision Board computerized process tracing, it is possible to trace the process and pattern of decision making of subjects conducting these experiments and thus check for differences among genders.

Theory Multidisciplinary dilemma Distinctions between men and women have been found in many areas of study. There have been wide discussions on the subject on whether men and woman are in fact more different or more similar to each other. Many neurological, psychological, economical and sociological experiments have demonstrated clear differences between men and women, while other studies of the same nature have found no differences and...

References: Mintz, Alex and Steven B. Red 2007. Biases in Decision Making and their Influence on Counter-Terrorism Decisions: A Computerized Experiment In Paper prepared for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. Chicago Illinois. Conner G Michael. 1999. Understanding the Differences Between Men and Women men.htm Renate Schubert, Martin Brown, Matthias Gysler and Hans Wolfgang Brachinger 1999. Financial Decision-Making: Are Women Really More Risk-Averse?, in The American Economic Review, Vol. 89, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the One Hundred Eleventh Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association Hoag, Hannah. 2008 Sex on the Brain. New Scientist Vol. 199 issue 2665. United Kingdom. Simon, Herbert 1957. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice", in Models of Man, Social and Rational: Mathematical Essays on Rational Human Behavior in a Social Setting. New York: Wiley. Rubinstein, Ariel 1998. Modeling Bounded Rationality. The MIT Press, Cambridge Massachusetts. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Marcus, Hazel and R.B Zanjoc. 1985. “The Cognitive Perspective in Social Psychology” In The Handbook of Social Psychology, vol. 1, ed. Gardner Lindzey and Elliot Aronson. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Random House. Forman, Ernest H., and Mary Ann Selly. 2001. Decision by Objectives: How to Convince Others that You are Right. River Edge, NJ: World Scientific. Mintz, Alex and Karl. R. DeRouen. 2008. Essentials of Foreign Policy Decision Making. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming. Matjaz Mulej, Timi Ecimovic and Stane Bozicnik “The role of decision making from the perspective of systems thinking – the case of climate change” University of Maribor, Faculty for Economics and Business Mintz, Alex, Nehemia Geva, Steven B Redd and Amy Carnes. 1997. “The Effect of Dynamic and Static Choice Sets on Political Decision Making: An Analysis Using the decision Board Plataform.” American Political Science Review 91:55366
Payne W. John, James R. Betterman, Eric J. Johnson. 1993 The Adaptive Decision Maker. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mintz, Alex, and Nehemia Geva. 1997. “The Poliheuristic Theory of Foreign Policy Decisionmaking.” In Decisionmaking on War and Peace: The CognitiveRational Debate, ed. Nehamia Geva and Alex Mintz. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Grey John. 1993. Men are from Mars Women are from Venus: A Practical Guide fro Improving Communication and Getting What you Want in Your Relationships HarperCollins. New York, NY.
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