Naturalistic Decision Making

We have all been in situations where someone in our group is better at making decisions than we are. It could be in your place of work or it could be in your personal life. Regardless, these decision makers have acquired a natural talent that can prove to be quite useful throughout their lives. Perhaps you find that you are able to make decisions better than everyone else. You may be prone to naturalistic decision making.

Psychological Background

Naturalistic decision making is one of the most frequently studied psychological phenomenon’s as many individuals have questioned, what is it that allows natural decision makers to make their decisions? Naturalistic decision makers are able to mold their decisions based on real-word situations and their heightened sense of situational awareness. They then work these decisions to ensure that they maximize the potential for a successful outcome.

Naturalistic Decision Making versus Rational Models

As per a variety of different studies around the world, researchers have come to notice that human decision making is far less superior to its counterpart, rational models to help humans make decisions. These models, such as the multi-attribute utility theory or the Bayesian analysis help to promote rational decision making versus emotionally based decision making. Unfortunately, humans are the furthest thing from rational beings, therefore we are more prone to use naturalistic decision making.

In terms of this argument, others suggest that since humans aren’t able to make every decision based on rational factors, they cannot be accurately represented by these rational decision making models. In the event of a real-world situation, humans act upon the information that they have at the time and generate an option that they find to be the most beneficial in a minimal amount of time. These decisions could then be influenced by emotions and other factors that negate rational thinking.

How Naturalistic Decision Making is Studied

In order to gather a strong understanding of the concepts pertaining to NDM, researchers have conducted a variety of studies on various individuals. These studies analyze how humans making decisions in a demanding environment. They also analyze how humans perform any other complex mental processes in a stressful environment. Whether the participants are put in an environment that is unstable or even if they are asked to complete a task in a limited time frame, researchers are able to understand how the naturalistic decision making process is completed.

Instead of using traditional laboratory settings that could be used for other types of experiments, researchers studying NDM must use cognitive field research to gather an understanding of this phenomenon. When studying naturalistic decision making, researchers pay special attention to how the situation is observed and how participants react to the situation.

Naturalistic Decision Making and Recognition Primed Decision Making

There is one main component to naturalistic decision making and it is known as recognition primed decision making. This process is how humans are able to make decisions in incredibly tense situations. With the use of correlated cues, diagnoses and predictions, and by using experience and knowledge, humans are able to make educated decisions in a limited amount of time without having to analyze every option available to them. A prime example of individuals using RPD can be seen within military personnel and other emergency crews such as firefighters.

The Popularity of Naturalistic Decision Making

Having the opportunity to drastically revolutionize the way that you think and make critical decisions on a daily basis can be quite advantageous. With the study of naturalistic decision making, many individuals have created books to provide better insight on the theory and its framework. Also, there are several conferences that are held throughout the world to educate others on naturalistic decision making and how it can be useful in modern day applications.

The Real World and Naturalistic Decision Making

Although the best way to study how humans use the NDM theory in various situations is to study high-risk workers such as firefighters, it can also be applied to everyday situations for other individuals. Whether you’re driving in bad weather and determining how to stop your wheels from hydroplaning or even if you’re resolving an issue at work and can’t determine between two different solutions, naturalistic decision making takes its course and provides you with the most reliable answer.

NDM is phenomenon that is experienced on a daily basis by a numerous amount of people around the world. With its growing popularity, more and more researchers are beginning to develop books and conferences used to educate the world on how they can make efficient decisions simply by using their current knowledge and experience. With that being said, once you understand what NDM is and how you can harness its power, you may be able to take better control of your life and protect yourself from harmful situations.

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