Making ‘smart’ decisions

By studying a combination of physical actions, social behavior analysis and data analytics, Missouri S&T researchers hope to better understand how people make decisions when interacting with technology in “smart” environments.

S.N. Balakrishnan, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Devin Burns, assistant professor of psychological science, say the outcomes of the study could be applied to consumer energy use, purchasing behavior, governmental regulations and even medical diagnoses.

“Studies have shown that when people are presented with two pieces of information, their decisions show differences depending on which piece is presented first,” says Burns. “We are hoping to move a step beyond describing these cognitive quirks and will test if simple behavioral interventions can help decision makers avoid being unduly influenced by the chance timing of information.”

Using decision-making situations capable of producing results that consider the “smart” environment they are made in, the researchers hope to gather data about how individuals made their choices.

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