The Future of Decisions From Experience: Connecting Real-World Decision Problems to Cognitive Processes

Sebastian Olschewski, Ashley Luckman, Alice Mason, Elliot A. Ludvig, Emmanouil Konstantinidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


In many important real-world decision domains, such as finance, the environment, and health, behavior is strongly influenced by experience. Renewed interest in studying this influence led to important advancements in the understanding of these decisions from experience (DfE) in the last 20 years. Building on this literature, we suggest ways the standard experimental design should be extended to better approach important real-world DfE. These extensions include, for example, introducing more complex choice situations, delaying feedback, and including social interactions. When acting upon experiences in these richer and more complicated environments, extensive cognitive processes go into making a decision. Therefore, we argue for integrating cognitive processes more explicitly into experimental research in DfE. These cognitive processes include attention to and perception of numeric and nonnumeric experiences, the influence of episodic and semantic memory, and the mental models involved in learning processes. Understanding these basic cognitive processes can advance the modeling, understanding and prediction of DfE in the laboratory and in the real world. We highlight the potential of experimental research in DfE for theory integration across the behavioral, decision, and cognitive sciences. Furthermore, this research could lead to new methodology that better informs decision-making and policy interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-102
Number of pages21
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2024


  • cognitive processes
  • decisions from experience
  • learning
  • risk taking
  • uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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